Have you thought about diving into the living library that is a liberal arts education? You can spend your college days engrossed in great books and engaging discussions, developing a broadened perspective on the world and your place in it. And this enriching educational experience is really more accessible and affordable than you might think.
Small liberal arts colleges like Shimer fall into the bracket of private educational facilities here in America. While public colleges are funded by state governments, private colleges don’t receive funds from the state. Instead, they rely on private contributions, investments, and donations along with student fees. Traditionally this has meant higher tuitions for private college students, but in recent years, grant and bursary options for private college students have tipped the scales.
Earning the first-rate education and certification offered by liberal arts colleges is within your reach, even if your budget is tight. If you’re interested in pursuing this path, read on for two reasons why you don’t need to break the bank to attend a top liberal arts college:
1. Private, Small Liberal Arts Colleges are Awarding More (& Larger) Grants
According to research by the Council of Independent Colleges in collaboration with the Digest of Education Statistics, more students in private colleges receive grants than their counterparts in public colleges. They report that the grants private college students receive ($14,876 per student) are also about three times more than those received by public college students ($4, 765 per student).
As these research bodies report, 40 percent of public college students currently get financial support from their colleges while 80 percent of private college students do. This means that if you choose to study at a private liberal arts college, you’re about twice as likely to receive financial support than you are if you attend a public college.
Awards are presented at the Shimer Montaigne Scholarship Competition reception
Small, private colleges offer not only state-funded grants but also Federal Student Aid (FSA) and even additional scholarships from private donors. And because accessibility and equality are core values of liberal arts college courses at colleges like Shimer, we go above and beyond to ensure each student gets the financial support they need and deserve.
For example, Shimer’s ‘Matching Grants’ program doubles the winnings of any student who earns an external (non-Shimer) scholarship and applies it to their Shimer tuition. External scholarships generally come from non-profit organizations, community foundations, labor unions, houses of worship, volunteer organizations, and more. Any merit, need, or equity-based awards you earn are matched by Shimer’s own financial aid office, bringing your degree that much more within reach.
2. Average Student Loan Debt is Dropping; More Manageable than Ever Before
If you attend a liberal arts college in the coming years, you have a better chance of graduating debt-free than your peers who attended these elite educational institutions in the past. It might surprise you to learn that 25 percent of students who graduate from private, four-year liberal arts programs currently earn their degrees without incurring any debt. According to Council of Independent Colleges/Digest of Education statistics, those who do graduate with debt are less than $20,000 in the hole.
On average, grads from private institutions now finish college with only $4,375 more debt than their public college counterparts. That may sound like an intimidating number, but in today’s economy that makes for less debt than that held by an average American homeowner or even car owner. And with all the employability and opportunity a liberal arts degree brings, this level of manageable debt can’t detract from the worthwhile investment that is a top private college degree.
Students develop key critical and analytical thinking skills in liberal arts colleges like Shimer
With so many grants up for grabs and minimized chances of incurring lasting student loan debt, there’s no better time to invest in a private liberal arts education of your own.
Trying to decide between several small liberal arts colleges?
Visit Shimer to learn why our students love attending our Great Books college.