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Best value small colleges in America

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Canon.vs.nikon // Wikicommons

Best value small colleges in America

Some high schoolers on the hunt for the perfect college are looking for a place where they won’t get lost in the crowd. Small colleges can provide a closer sense of community for young adults leaving home for the first time. Before they get to campus, however, students have to figure out a way to pay for it all. On average, four years at a public college in-state will cost $56,840, while private colleges average $104,400; and prices are going up every year. After dozens of applications for scholarships, financial aid, and loans, students can be left feeling like just another number in the system.

To save some time for those students looking for a smaller community and a more affordable price tag, Stacker took a look at Niche’s list of Best Value Colleges in 2019, which uses Department of Education data on net price, alumni earnings, graduation rate, and student debt at graduation to rank the most affordable colleges around the country. Stacker then selected the top 50 schools with a student body of fewer than 5,000, with the ranks listed on each slide after “value grade” to show where these schools sit on Niche’s overall value list.

Looking for a great value small college? Read on find which branch of the U.S. military topped our list, and perhaps find the perfect fit for your personality and your wallet while you’re at it.

RELATED: Best big college towns in America

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John9474 // Wikicommons

#50. University of Connecticut - Stamford

Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Acceptance rate: 57%

Number of undergraduates: 1,194

Net price: $7,380

Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,800

Value grade: A (ranked #131)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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Nyttend // Wikicommons

#49. Wabash College

Location: Crawfordsville, Indiana

Acceptance rate: 63%

Number of undergraduates: 842

Net price: $24,245

Median earnings six years after graduation: $53,600

Value grade: A (ranked #129)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Rovergirl88 // Wikicommons

#48. DePauw University

Location: Greencastle, Indiana

Acceptance rate: 58%

Number of undergraduates: 2,390

Net price: $30,863

Median earnings six years after graduation: $50,700

Value grade: A (ranked #125)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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USciences

#47. University of the Sciences

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 60%

Number of undergraduates: 1,325

Net price: $34,796

Median earnings six years after graduation: $91,800

Value grade: A+ (ranked #119)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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McGhiever // Wikicommons

#46. Gustavus Adolphus College

Location: Saint Peter, Minnesota

Acceptance rate: 65%

Number of undergraduates: 2,219

Net price: $24,293

Median earnings six years after graduation: $48,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #118)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Dacoslett // Wikicommons

#45. Davidson College

Location: Davidson, North Carolina

Acceptance rate: 20%

Number of undergraduates: 1,796

Net price: $27,897

Median earnings six years after graduation: $54,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #112)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Naotake Murayama // Flickr

#44. Illinois Institute of Technology

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Acceptance rate: 57%

Number of undergraduates: 2,712

Net price: $25,847

Median earnings six years after graduation: $69,800

Value grade: A+ (ranked #111)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

#43. College of Saint Benedict

Location: St. Joseph, Minnesota

Acceptance rate: 88%

Number of undergraduates: 1,939

Net price: $26,867

Median earnings six years after graduation: $50,000

Value grade: A+ (ranked #110)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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Tobias Leeger // Flickr

#42. Union College - New York

Location: Schenectady, New York

Acceptance rate: 37%

Number of undergraduates: 2,132

Net price: $38,621

Median earnings six years after graduation: $63,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #109)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Steadyjohn // Wikicommons

#41. Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, Connecticut

Acceptance rate: 18%

Number of undergraduates: 2,918

Net price: $20,490

Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #106)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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User:Bryan Duggan // Wikicommons

#40. Kettering University

Location: Flint, Michigan

Acceptance rate: 72%

Number of undergraduates: 1,782

Net price: $37,169

Median earnings six years after graduation: $78,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #104)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Josh Kuckens // Wikicommons

#39. Bates College

Location: Lewiston, Maine

Acceptance rate: 23%

Number of undergraduates: 1,780

Net price: $24,055

Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,700

Value grade: A+ (ranked #97)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Pâmella Ferrari // Flickr

#38. Franklin & Marshall College

Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania 

Acceptance rate: 36%

Number of undergraduates: 2,225

Net price: $23,182

Median earnings six years after graduation: $53,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #96)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Roman Boed // Flickr

#37. Colby College

Location: Waterville, Maine

Acceptance rate: 19%

Number of undergraduates: 1,879

Net price: $21,032

Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,000

Value grade: A+ (ranked #94)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Billy Hathorn // Wikicommons

#36. Maine Maritime Academy

Location: Castine, Maine

Acceptance rate: 76%

Number of undergraduates: 981

Net price: $19,225

Median earnings six years after graduation: $84,000

Value grade: A+ (ranked #93)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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Curt Smith // Wikicommons

#35. Kenyon College

Location: Gambier, Ohio

Acceptance rate: 27%

Number of undergraduates: 1,689

Net price: $28,192

Median earnings six years after graduation: $44,300

Value grade: A+ (ranked #92)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Bmamlyuk // Wikicommons

#34. Ohio Northern University

Location: Ada, Ohio

Acceptance rate: 64%

Number of undergraduates: 2,065

Net price: $24,348

Median earnings six years after graduation: $62,800

Value grade: A+ (ranked #88)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikicommons

#33. Stonehill College

Location: Easton, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 73%

Number of undergraduates: 2,455

Net price: $31,010

Median earnings six years after graduation: $58,700

Value grade: A+ (ranked #87)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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WalkingGeek // Flickr

#32. Barnard College

Location: New York, New York

Acceptance rate: 15%

Number of undergraduates: 2,461

Net price: $22,815

Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #85)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Jason Kowell // Wikicommons

#31. Gettysburg College

Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 43%

Number of undergraduates: 2,378

Net price: $34,636

Median earnings six years after graduation: $53,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #82)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

#30. Saint John's University - Minnesota

Location: Collegeville, Minnesota

Acceptance rate: 88%

Number of undergraduates: 1,737

Net price: $25,625

Median earnings six years after graduation: $59,100

Value grade: A+ (ranked #81)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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Dori // Wikicommons

#29. Milwaukee School of Engineering

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Acceptance rate: 66%

Number of undergraduates: 2,528

Net price: $23,998

Median earnings six years after graduation: $67,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #78)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Lvklock // Wikicommons

#28. Hamilton College

Location: Clinton, New York

Acceptance rate: 26%

Number of undergraduates: 1,868

Net price: $24,397

Median earnings six years after graduation: $59,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #77)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Jackbauerinvc // Wikicommons

#27. Haverford College

Location: Haverford, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 21%

Number of undergraduates: 1,268

Net price: $21,144

Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,300

Value grade: A+ (ranked #75)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Bill Williams // Flickr

#26. California State University Maritime Academy

Location: Vallejo, California

Acceptance rate: 68%

Number of undergraduates: 1,075

Net price: $14,606

Median earnings six years after graduation: $79,000

Value grade: A+ (ranked #71)

Overall Niche grade: B

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Alan Levine // Wikicommons

#25. Middlebury College

Location: Middlebury, Vermont

Acceptance rate: 16%

Number of undergraduates: 2,506

Net price: $21,437

Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #70)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Dwight Sipler // Flickr

#24. Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 13%

Number of undergraduates: 1,542

Net price: $19,641

Median earnings six years after graduation: $52,500

Value grade: A+ (ranked #69)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Jared and Corin // Wikicommons

#23. Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 28%

Number of undergraduates: 2,347

Net price: $20,013

Median earnings six years after graduation: $60,100

Value grade: A+ (ranked #68)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Wikicommons

#22. Amherst College

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 14%

Number of undergraduates: 1,849

Net price: $19,055

Median earnings six years after graduation: $59,700

Value grade: A+ (ranked #67)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Tysto // Wikicommons

#21. Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Acceptance rate: 79%

Number of undergraduates: 635

Net price: $16,660

Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,100

Value grade: A+ (ranked #66)

Overall Niche grade: B

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Nostalgicwisdom // Wikicommons

#20. Pomona College

Location: Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 9%

Number of undergraduates: 1,556

Net price: $18,140

Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #63)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Sabatheus // Wikicommons

#19. Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York 

Acceptance rate: 27%

Number of undergraduates: 2,405

Net price: $21,933

Median earnings six years after graduation: $51,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #58)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Julie McCoy // Wikicommons

#18. SUNY Maritime College

Location: Throggs Neck, New York 

Acceptance rate: 58%

Number of undergraduates: 1,590

Net price: $16,301

Median earnings six years after graduation: $76,700

Value grade: A+ (ranked #55)

Overall Niche grade: B+

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Ron Cogswell // Wikicommons

#17. Bowdoin College

Location: Brunswick, Maine

Acceptance rate: 15%

Number of undergraduates: 1,801

Net price: $24,888

Median earnings six years after graduation: $58,700

Value grade: A+ (ranked #53)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Massachusetts Maritime Academy // Flickr

#16. Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Location: Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 80%

Number of undergraduates: 1,605

Net price: $14,035

Median earnings six years after graduation: $79,300

Value grade: A+ (ranked #43)

Overall Niche grade: B

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Paul Keleher // Wikicommons

#15. College of the Holy Cross

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 38%

Number of undergraduates: 2,689

Net price: $26,965

Median earnings six years after graduation: $65,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #40)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Daderot // Wikicommons

#14. Williams College

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 18%

Number of undergraduates: 2,058

Net price: $18,167

Median earnings six years after graduation: $54,100

Value grade: A+ (ranked #39)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Dogs1337 // Wikicommons

#13. Carleton College

Location: Northfield, Minnesota

Acceptance rate: 23%

Number of undergraduates: 2,087

Net price: $28,587

Median earnings six years after graduation: $52,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #32)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Capt. Matthew Roman // U.S. Army Reserve

#12. Virginia Military Institute

Location: Lexington, Virginia

Acceptance rate: 51%

Number of undergraduates: 1,713

Net price: $16,195

Median earnings six years after graduation: $63,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #31)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Tomwsulcer // Wikicommons

#11. Lafayette College

Location: Easton, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 28%

Number of undergraduates: 2,505

Net price: $26,208

Median earnings six years after graduation: $67,500

Value grade: A+ (ranked #30)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Craig Stanfill // Flickr

#10. Claremont McKenna College

Location: Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 9%

Number of undergraduates: 1,346

Net price: $30,527

Median earnings six years after graduation: $75,000

Value grade: A+ (ranked #29)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Yipdw~commonswiki // Wikicommons

#9. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Acceptance rate: 61%

Number of undergraduates: 2,180

Net price: $41,691

Median earnings six years after graduation: $79,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #19)

Overall Niche grade: A

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UpstateNYer // Wikicommons

#8. Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Location: Albany, New York

Acceptance rate: 69%

Number of undergraduates: 895

Net price: $29,929

Median earnings six years after graduation: $122,600

Value grade: A+ (ranked #18)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Fryslan0109 // Wikicommons

#7. Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, New York

Acceptance rate: 29%

Number of undergraduates: 2,864

Net price: $22,463

Median earnings six years after graduation: $61,300

Value grade: A+ (ranked #17)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Imagine // Wikicommons

#6. Harvey Mudd College

Location: Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 13%

Number of undergraduates: 829

Net price: $35,460

Median earnings six years after graduation: $74,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #16)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Daderot // Wikicommons

#5. Babson College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 25%

Number of undergraduates: 2,283

Net price: $27,453

Median earnings six years after graduation: $91,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #15)

Overall Niche grade: A

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Paul Sableman // Flickr

#4. St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Location: St. Louis, Missouri 

Acceptance rate: 71%

Number of undergraduates: 528

Net price: $26,252

Median earnings six years after graduation: $120,400

Value grade: A+ (ranked #14)

Overall Niche grade: A-

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikicommons

#3. Washington & Lee University

Location: Lexington, Virginia

Acceptance rate: 24%

Number of undergraduates: 1,824

Net price: $23,867

Median earnings six years after graduation: $72,300

Value grade: A+ (ranked #13)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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Canon.vs.nikon // Wikicommons

#2. California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, California

Acceptance rate: 8%

Number of undergraduates: 979

Net price: $26,839

Median earnings six years after graduation: $74,200

Value grade: A+ (ranked #8)

Overall Niche grade: A+

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George W. Bush // White House

#1. United States Merchant Marine Academy

Location: Kings Point, New York

Acceptance rate: 20%

Number of undergraduates: 904

Net price: $4,548

Median earnings six years after graduation: $78,900

Value grade: A+ (ranked #6)

Overall Niche grade: A

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