25. What Makes Public Liberal Arts Colleges Special

If liberal arts colleges pay attention in hiring, training, supporting and tenuring faculty, there is really no way universities, no matter how highly ranked, can match them in teaching excellence.

—Victor E. Ferrall Jr., former president of Beloit College

Believe it or not, it is possible to underwrite an undergraduate degree at a four-year public institution for a reasonable price without sharing the experience with tens of thousands of other kids. If you don’t assume that bigger is always better—and many people unfortunately do—you may want to seriously investigate public liberal arts colleges.

The public liberal arts college is something of an oddity in the higher ed universe. The vast ...

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