Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists;-Secularism is becoming more prevalent among college students as more universities remove themselves from their religious roots. We investigated tiny, progressive universities with a net price that was considerably lower than other schools of this size and had few religious links in order to compile this ranking of the top 20 secular colleges.
The presence of secular student organizations, the proportion of students who identify as religious, the availability of numerous financial aid and scholarship opportunities, the diversity of the faculty and student body, and any other elements that improve the secularist educational experience were all factors considered when determining the points awarded. The 20 universities listed here had the highest ratings among institutions with a cap on enrollment of 7,000 students and a net price of $32,000 USD or less, as determined by College Navigator.
In the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are rated higher. The colleges detailed below are listed in the order of points obtained. The information that follows is meant to serve as a resource for secularist students looking for the greatest value on a secular education.
20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Poughkeepsie, New York
Student body: 2,421
$19,661 in total.
Vassar College, located in the picturesque Hudson Valley of New York, is renowned for its liberal student body and innovative academics. Only five of the 150 student-run organizations at the college identify as having a religious affiliation, thus secular students will have many options for joining. Vassar was ranked second on the Princeton Review’s list of the least religious colleges, in part because so few of its students identify as members of an organized religion. Vassar College consistently lowers debt for students from low-income households and has the financial capacity to support all levels of need.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 1,394
Total cost: $18,671
Recent rankings at the top of the Princeton Review’s list of “Least Religious Colleges” should make secularist applicants interested in Reed College. The history of nonreligious student-run organizations at this college is extensive. The Reed Secular Alliance is a group of people dedicated to promoting the separation of Church and State, sharing similar ideologies, and promoting a life free from religious ties. It was established in 2005. To every accepted student at Reed, extensive financial aid packages are offered.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 1,792
$14,687 in net price
One of the best colleges in the country, Amherst College was established in 1821 in Amherst, Massachusetts. This university aggressively promotes cultural and religious diversity. The Amherst College Humanists (ACH) club was founded to give the non-religious a place to feel at home on campus as the number of secularists grows. ACH is a very busy club that offers numerous events all year round, including guest speakers that discuss living a secularist lifestyle.
4.State University of New York at Oneonta
Oneonta, New York
Student body: 6,101
$15,097 in net price
Public college SUNY Oneonta, located in beautiful upstate New York, is a close-knit academic community that values uniqueness and independent thought. SUNY Oneonta’s progressive views and predominately non-religious student body make it a place where a secularist student would feel at home. A Secular Student Society, an active group of humanists, secularists, agnostics, atheists, and other students who don’t identify with an organized religion, is being established at many schools, including this one.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
$25275 as the final cost
The Episcopalian Church founded the prominent upstate New York school Bard College in 1860, but since 1944 it has regarded itself as a secular university. The non-traditional student body and progressive, liberal academic environment at Bard are well known. Only five of the more than 150 student-run organizations on this campus are associated with organized religion, making it a welcoming environment for secularists. More than 88% of the student body at Bard is eligible for need-based scholarships or grants.
Total cost: $26,082
Pitzer College is a small liberal arts college in Southern California that values each new student’s unique background. It is a selective institution of higher learning. Pitzer University’s basic principles are based on humanist ideas such as community, diversity, discourse, investigation, and action. The college recently added secular studies courses to its curriculum in response to rising student interest in secularism. The secular studies program has gained popularity among undergraduates looking to enhance their knowledge in a secular way, under the direction of professors with academic credentials.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 1,268
Total cost: $24,906
A selective and reputable liberal arts college in Michigan, Albion College combines a demanding academic curriculum and a hands-on learning style that promotes independence. Due to the low number of students who identify as members of organized religion and the downplayed religious character of the school, the secularist student will feel at home here. There is a thriving and active “Secular Humanist” organisation at Albion that welcomes all students who want to be supported in their nonreligious beliefs. The Secular Humanists group’s members exchange ideas and talk about what it means to live a secular life in a religious culture.
Student body: 1,822
Total cost: $27,681
Elizabethtown College is a small, selective liberal arts college with a dynamic academic environment. It is situated just east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The number of secularist students on campus is rising, and Elizabethtown has created its own Secular Student Alliance (SSA). The group admits both religious and agnostic people, and its members talk on how leading a secular life contrasts with living a life of organized religion. At Elizabethtown, 95% of undergraduates get financial aid. The college provided students with grants and scholarships totaling more than $33 million just in the 2014–2015 academic year.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
9.University of New Haven
West Haven, Connecticut
Student body: 6,811
Total cost: $30,798
The University of New Haven in Connecticut is a forward-thinking academic institution renowned for the variety of its student body and its forward-thinking approach to education. The Secular Student Alliance, an organization that brings together non-religious students in activism, service, and education, has started a chapter at UNH. Students who identify as secular have numerous opportunities to make a positive impact on society thanks to the college’s expanding nontheist community. A committed financial aid team at the University of New Haven assists students in obtaining loans, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and other financial aid options. More than 85% of newly admitted freshmen receive some sort of financial aid.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
10.State University of New York at Purchase
Purchase, New York
Student body: 4,225
$17,325 in net cost
For those looking to pursue a liberal arts degree at a reasonable price and join a campus that values independence, culture, and free thought, consider State University of New York at Purchase. The school’s motto, “Think Wide Open,” is perfect for a secularist student seeking a degree in an environment that is nonreligious and multidisciplinary in nature. Students describe themselves as eccentric intellectuals, and the leadership of the college is quite supportive of the expression of unusual, secular values. With the help of individual contributors, corporate sponsorship, and the college foundation, SUNY Purchase offers a variety of scholarship possibilities.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Student body: 2,067
Total cost: $24,141
Colorado College, which was established in 1874, is often rated as one of the greatest liberal arts colleges in the nation. This college, which is located in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, considers its academic approach to be wholly secular, so non-religious students will feel at ease learning in this setting. Colorado College also has a relatively low percentage of students who identify as members of organized religion, and just a small number of its 144 campus organizations have connections to theism. For incoming freshmen, Colorado College offers a sizable selection of merit-based, athletic, and science scholarships.
Student body: 538
Total cost: $24,562
The progressive academic environment at Goddard College, a prestigious liberal arts college in beautiful Vermont, is sure to appeal to the student who is secularist. Goddard is able to work with each student’s academic and ethical goals because it has a student body of under 600. Secularists are becoming more prevalent at this college, which has as its goal the intellectual growth and social responsibility of its students. Goddard offers grants to students depending on their financial need and incentives to those who exhibit hard study habits and teamwork.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 2,408
Total cost: $25,120
A small liberal arts college called Trinity College has expanded its courses for students who identify as secularists and want to further their education. Trinity is pleased to support an academic environment that values individual choice and independent thought. The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) at the college was established to enhance knowledge of secular principles and nonreligious living in contemporary society. This research center regularly presents its findings at open campus gatherings.
14.Nicholls State University
Student body: 6,811
Total cost: $30,798
Nicholls State University, which was established in 1948 and is located in southern Louisiana, is one of an increasing number of universities that welcome non-conformist, secularist students. The “Secular Student Alliance” (SSA) group at Nicholls ardently promotes secular ideas while fostering a distinct nonreligious identity. It challenges students to take the lead in promoting secular humanism. Although completely backed by college staff and administration, the SSA is student-run. Nearly 20 scholarships are available at Nicholls State University, and there are many other methods to help students pay their tuition.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 1,621
Net cost: $1,990.
Berea College in Kentucky is a “work-college,” requiring students to put in a set number of hours of work in exchange for full tuition reimbursement. Secularist students have various options at Berea, and many may want to join the newly formed “Secular Students of Berea College” society. This student-run group welcomes humanist, agnostic, atheistic, and other like-minded people and promotes living outside of the religious spectrum. The majority of Berea University students identify as secularists who use nonreligious methods of problem-solving, reason, and science to advance their own goals.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
16.Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Student body: 5,899
Total cost: $6,848
The academic community of Fayetteville State University is liberal, diverse, and increasingly secularist. The “Secular Student Alliance” (SSA), a local chapter of the national group of the same name, was recently founded by FSU students. The SSA invites non-religious people to participate in open dialogue and other events honoring secular life. FSU offers an excellent education at a reasonable cost, and all degree-seekers are eligible for need-based aid and scholarships based on academic achievement.
Mahwah, New Jersey
Student body: 6,003
$15,771 in net price
Progressive liberal arts college Ramapo College of New Jersey was once named one of the “Best Regional Public Universities North” by U.S. News & World Report. Ramapo is exceptional in that it combines the accessibility of a public university with the intimacy and individualized care of a private institution. The “Shader, Joyce Secular Humanist Scholarship” is one of the scholarships provided by Ramapo. It is given to secular students with good academic records who show a dedication to advancing knowledge, morality, and ethics using only rationalism and humanism.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists
Student body: 2,533
Total cost: $20,903
Higher education institution Middlebury College in Vermont has a growing secularist student body. Middlebury has been cited by students as a welcoming community that is accommodating of different backgrounds and belief systems, despite the fact that the student body is overwhelmingly atheist. Due to its secular beliefs and absence of student clubs with ties to any organized religion, this college has been rated among the “Least Religious Colleges” by Princeton Review. Middlebury College has one of the top satisfaction ratings in terms of financial aid and return on tuition investment, according to recent student polls.
Net Price: $22,557
Swarthmore College, located a few miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is greatly respected in the academic world and recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the third best liberal arts college in the nation. Though founded by Quakers, Swarthmore has evolved into a campus that is not religiously affiliated. One student-run organization that may appeal to secularists is the “Swarthmore Sitting Group,” a secular meditation group formed to bring meditation and practical self-awareness to students without the guidance of religion.
20.St. Olaf College
$20,903 in total.
A growing number of secularists are enrolled at Middlebury College in Vermont, a university. Middlebury is a tolerant campus that accepts people from different origins and belief systems, despite the fact that the majority of the student body is atheist. Due to its secular ideologies and absence of student clubs with ties to any organized religion, this college has been listed among Princeton Review’s “Least Religious Colleges.” Recent student polls reveal that Middlebury College consistently receives among the highest satisfaction scores for financial aid and return on tuition investment.20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for Secularists