Kiplinger's Personal Finance: Best Values in Private Colleges 2011-12
By Jane Bennett Clark, senior editor
Liberal arts colleges typically have smaller enrollments than universities and focus on undergraduate education, with an emphasis on teaching rather than research.
This year's top 100 liberal arts colleges excel at that format, providing the academic support that encourages learning and allows students to graduate on time.
They also make their education affordable by offsetting tuition hikes with generous need-based financial aid and, at many schools, offering merit scholarships to students who don't qualify for need.
Here is the Top 10 List:
1. Pomona College
2. Washington and Lee University
3. Swarthmore College ...
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,524
Total Annual Cost: $54,400
Average Annual Need-Based Aid: $35,033
Average Debt at Graduation: $18,739
Founded by Quakers, this small school admits only 16% of its applicants, making it one of the most competitive liberal arts colleges on our list. Its billion-dollar-plus endowment allows it to meet 100% of need for students who qualify, reducing the average cost of attendance to less than $20,000.