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Best 29 Associate Degree in Liberal Arts in 2021

May 13, 2021 | Staff Writers

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With many community colleges, colleges, and universities offering online education, higher education has never been more accessible than it is now.  The following list is composed of schools that offer an online associate degree in liberal arts.  The schools have been ranked using a matrix of cost, faculty to student ratio, and the graduation rate.  The lower the cost and faculty to student ratio is, the higher the institution ranks.  The higher the graduation rate is the higher the institution ranks.   Every institution on this list is accredited and every institution provides an entirely online associate degree in liberal arts.  

1. Pamlico Community College

Pamlico Community College was established in 1962 and has since grown to become a fully accredited two year college.  With an online associate degree in liberal arts, students can have the flexibility they desire and earn a transferable degree.  A contract with East Carolina University enables students to transfer seamlessly upon finishing the associate degree program.  The distance learning program is accredited and designed to be engaging and offer the same quality education students receive on campus. Online learners have access to tutoring and library services as well.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Grantsboro, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $1,867 (Resident)  $6,475 (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 62.8%

2. Illinois Eastern Community Colleges

Illinois Eastern Community Colleges is a system of community colleges that offer affordable associate degrees and higher education.  Students can earn their associate degree in an entirely online format.  This particular degree allows students to explore their education interests within a structured model that prepares them for a degree or to transfer to a larger institution.  Students will complete the core courses that are required then they can customize their degree through choosing the remainder of their courses.  The program can be completed within two years if students complete their courses on time.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Olney, Illinois
  • Tuition: $135 Per Credit
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 46.8%

3. Colby Community College

Founded in 1964, Colby Community College is a public two year college in Colby, Kansas that has grown into a dynamic institution.  Colby Community College operates the main campus in Colby, a multi acre agricultural center, as well as an online program with degree programs.  Students can earn an associate of arts degree online that allows for great flexibility not only when they take courses but also in the electives they choose.  Students will complete a required core set of courses then they can customize the remainder of their degree through their electives.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Colby, Kansas
  • Tuition: $131 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 42.2%

4. Northwest Iowa Community College

As one of the smaller community colleges in Iowa, Northwest Iowa Community College offers student focused education at an affordable cost.  Unlike most community colleges the faculty to student ratio is low and allows for students to be mentored and tutored along the way.  The online associate degree in liberal arts is a great path for students that haven’t decided on a major or career path yet but want to begin advancing their education.  Students can use this degree as a means to gain entry level employment or as a springboard to transfer to a larger institution and earn a bachelor’s degree while paying less for college.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Sheldon, Iowa
  • Tuition: $195 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 57.7%

5. Kennebec Valley Community College

A public community college, Kennebec Valley Community College is a member of the Community COllege System of Maine.  Students that are wanting to explore careers and gain an education before declaring a specific major will find this degree to be the answer.  They will learn critical thinking and writing skills that are necessary for any major.  This particular degree is offered in a partnership with the Maine Community College System and the University of Maine System.  This ensures that the courses taken are aligned with the required courses for students to seamlessly transfer to a larger institution should they choose to do so.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Fairfield, Maine
  • Tuition: $96 Per Credit Hour (Resident) $192 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 47.8%

6. Niagara County Community College

Niagara County Community College was founded in 1962 and is sponsored by Niagara County and SUNY.  For those who want to experience a variety of fields of study before declaring a major, the AA in liberal arts degree allows students to experience courses in the main disciplines within the liberal arts under a structured curriculum that leads to a degree.  Students will gain skills and knowledge that can be used for advancing their degree should they choose to transfer to a SUNY institution or enter the workforce.  Students are also given some latitude to choose elective courses within their degree.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Sanborn, New York
  • Tuition: $2,376 Annually (Resident) $4,752 Annually (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 32.4%

7. Valencia College

Valencia College provides a high quality education at an affordable cost.  Established in 1967 as a junior college, Valencia College has expanded to offer programs for Disney World’s hospitality needs and a culinary arts program to meet growing needs in that industry as well.  Valencia College offers an online liberal arts associate degree for students that need the flexibility of earning a degree online.  Upon completion students can either enter the workforce or transfer to a larger institution to advance their education and degree. Valencia College has been recognized as a top community college and earned the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Tuition: $103 Per Credit Hour (Resident)  $390 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 24 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 48.7%

8. Saint Leo University

Established in 1889, Saint Leo University is a private Roman Catholic institution that is affiliated with the Holy Name Monastery.  Saint Leo University offers an integrated liberal arts degree where students will learn critical thinking skills, understand human behavior across interdisciplinary lines, and more.  Core courses include the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, fine arts, religion, and philosophy.  With electives students can customize their degree to fit their educational and career goals.  Upon completion students can enter the workforce, transfer, or continue at Saint Leo University to earn a bachelor’s degree.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Saint Leo, Florida
  • Tuition: $380 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 53.5%

9. Notre Dame College

A private liberal arts college, Notre Dame College was established in 1922 as a women’s college and has expanded to offer multiple online degree programs and is now a coeducational institution.  The benefits of studying online for a liberal arts degree are many, one is that it allows every learner to customize their degree through courses that fit their career goals right from the beginning.  Students graduate with professional skills such as critical thinking, writing, and interdisciplinary skills that make them better prepared for the workforce.  With  multiple start dates throughout the year students can begin their education when it fits in their schedule.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Euclid, Ohio
  • Tuition: $375 Per Credit
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 33.7%

10. Florida Institute of Technology

A private research institution, Florida Institute of Technology has been offering online courses and degree programs for years.  With engaging courses and comprehensive material, students that choose to earn their AA online will receive the same high quality education as one campus students without the hassle of scheduling conflicts.  Students will learn critical thinking methods, problem solving and how to integrate knowledge from various disciplines, this degree is interdisciplinary by nature.  Graduates are able to enter the workforce or transfer to a four year program and earn a bachelor’s degree.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Melbourne, Florida
  • Tuition: $510 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 57.3%

11. Minnesota West Community and Technical College

A public community college, Minnesota West Community and Technical College operates five campuses as well as an online program.  The AA degree offered online by MWCTC serves as a springboard for students that want to either enter the workforce with some general education and skills behind them or as a very affordable way to transfer to a university with their general education already completed.  The courses required for this degree are aligned with all of the required courses at every university in MInnesota.  Students can then go on to earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in the major of their choice.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Worhtington, Minnesota
  • Tuition: $215 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

12. Lewis Clark State College

A public college Lewis Clark State College was founded in 1893.  Students enjoy small class sizes and a variety of degree options for both associate and bachelor level degree programs.  Students who are looking for a springboard associate degree, the online AA in liberal arts provides students with a way to earn a degree and explore their interests before deciding on a major.  There are two degree paths for an AA degree, a liberal arts through humanities or a liberal arts degree through natural science and math.  The path will change the required courses and transferability to some programs for an advanced degree.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Lewiston, Idaho
  • Tuition: $6,982 Annually (Resident)  $20,238 Annually (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 28.6%

13. Amridge University

A private university, Amridge University is affiliated with the Church of Christ and it is also a top ranked distance learning institution.  The online associate of arts degree in liberal studies takes two years to complete and is designed to be a transfer program that gives students a solid foundation in the liberal arts.  This program requires 20 credit hours of general education courses to be completed, 20 hours of prescribed core courses, and 24 hours of elective courses.  Students can customize their degree to a point with their elective courses.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tuition: $150 Per Semester Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 29.7%

14. Adirondack Community College

A public institution for higher learning, SUNY Adirondack was established in 1961 and is a member of the State University of New York system. With an accredited online or in-person associate of arts degree in liberal arts, students can experience a variety of academic fields of study while earning a worthwhile degree. This degree provides a solid foundation for students seeking to transfer to a larger college and university or to enter directly into the workforce. With the partnership with SUNY, students can be assured they will complete the required courses necessary for a seamless transfer to a SUNY institution.

At A Glance

  • Location: Queensbury and Saratoga, New York
  • Tuition: $2,472 Per Semester (Resident)  $3,708 Per Semester (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 28.8%

15. Rogers State University

A public university, Rogers State University operates its main campus and two branch campuses as well as a large online program to provide affordable education to more students.  The online AA in liberal arts program provides students with a strong foundation with a broad base of knowledge across disciplines. Students learn critical thinking skills, they gain strong written, oral, and visual communication skills, and think creatively.  This program is designed to provide students with the required general education courses that will allow them to seamlessly transfer to a four year degree program.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Claremore, Oklahoma
  • Tuition: $152 Per Credit Hour (Resident)  $430 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 22.1%

16. Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College is a public institution that operates two campuses as well as online degree programs and is part of the State University of New York system.  Benefits of earning an associate degree in liberal arts include exploring multiple academic options, learning critical thinking skills, gaining advanced communication skills, and learning how to solve complex problems.  Online learners have access to advisors and faculty members to mentor them through their education.  Students that complete this program are able to transfer seamlessly to any SUNY college and many others.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Rochester, New York
  • Tuition: $2,353 Per Semester (Resident)  $4,706 Per Semester (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 28.9%

17. Montgomery County Community College

A public community college, Montgomery County Community College operates its main campus and two satellite campuses as well as an online program.  The online associate of arts degree in liberal studies is designed with students that have a variety of interests and haven decided on a single major.  This degree path allows students to explore a variety of academic subjects in a structured path that leads to a degree that enables them to transfer to a larger college or university much easier.  Students gain a strong foundation in written and oral communication skills, knowledge across disciplines, and learn to think creatively and critically.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
  • Tuition: $144 Per Credit Hour (Resident)  $432 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 9.7%

18. Trinity Valley Community College

Trinity Valley Community College is a public college that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  Students seeking to earn an associate degree in liberal arts will find an online degree program that they can complete to either begin an entry level job or use as a transfer degree.  The liberal arts degree provides an excellent foundation in general education courses that prepare students for a variety of career pathways.  TVCC is a very affordable option for students seeking online general education.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Athens, Texas
  • Tuition: $105 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 22 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 24.2%

19. Las Positas Community College

Las Positas Community College is one of the most affordable community colleges for students seeking to earn an associate degree.  It offers flexible course schedules and fast track programs to help students earn their degree while being able to meet other obligations.  Online learners have access to the same faculty and resources that on campus students receive.  Las Positas post high transfer rates for both UC and USC colleges.  The online liberal arts degree is great place to start for anyone seeking to begin their college degree but haven’t decided on a major yet.  This opens doors for careers and transfer opportunities.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Livermore, California
  • Tuition: $46 Per Unit (Resident) $336 Per Unit (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 44 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 17.5%

20. Southwestern Community College

Founded in 1964, Southwestern Community College opened up as an industrial college and has expanded to become a fully accredited community college that provides quality education across a wide array of fields.  Students can now complete an associate of arts degree entirely online.  This degree can be used to transfer to a large institution, students seeking to go this route should consult with the institution they desire to transfer to in order to guarantee a seamless coure for course transfer.  Those seeking to utilize this degree to gain entry level employment can customize their degree to fit their needs.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Sylva, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $195 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 17.8%

21. Stanly Community College

Stanly Community College is a public community college that is part of the North Carolina Community College system.  Students receive an affordable education with smaller class sizes than most leading community colleges.  The online programs are taught by the same faculty that teach on campus.  Online learners have access to advising and tutoring as well while they are enrolled in online courses.  Students can earn an associate degree in liberal arts entirely online.  Upon completion students can either enter the workforce or use this degree as a springboard to transfer to a larger institution and continue their education.      

At A Glance

  • Location: Albemarle, North Carolina
  • Tuition: $166 (Resident) $358 (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 12.7%

22. Mercer County Community College

Established in 1966, Mercer County Community College serves more than 7,000 students per year through its affordable courses.  The associate degree in liberal arts at Mercer County Community College is cross disciplinary and is designed for students to complete it in two years.  Students will participate in courses such as English, Public Speaking, Social Science, History, and more.  This particular degree is designed for students to transfer to a university and prepares them to major in fields such as English, Pre-Law, Political Science, Social Science, Philosophy, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: West Windsor Township, New Jersey
  • Tuition: $190 (Resident)   $242 (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 23.7%

23. New England College

A private liberal arts college, New England College is accredited by the NEw England Commission of Higher Education.  Attending a college that is built on a liberal arts education has benefits that often get overlooked.  Students will learn from faculty that have years of experience and understand the cross-disciplinary nature of this degree and the education it provides.  Students take courses in humanities, philosophy, business,  literature, and more.  These courses build a solid foundation for students to transfer to a four year program and declare a more specific major or earn a bachelors in liberal arts.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Henniker, New Hampshire
  • Tuition: $415 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 37.6%

24. Ocean County Community College

A public two year college, Ocean County Community College operates three campuses, 20 off-campus sites, as well as a large online program.  The associate of arts degree in liberal arts at Ocean County Community College is designed specifically for students that plan to transfer to a four year college or university upon completion.  The degree is fairly customizable as long as students fulfill the required courses on the official list of approved general education courses.  Students are able to choose electives from a variety of fields to complete their credit requirements.     

At A Glance

  • Location: Toms River, New Jersey
  • Tuition: $175 Per Credit Hour (Resident)  $270 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 37.4%

25. Rochester Community and Technical College

Established in 1915, Rochester Community and Technical College serves approximately 8,000 students annually.  Students seeking to earn an associate degree in liberal arts will find a degree program that aims at preparing students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to transfer to a larger university or college to earn a bachelor’s degree.  Students of this program learn critical thinking and problem solving skills, how to synthesize knowledge and behaviors across disciplines, and be competent in all forms of communication.  Courses will include english, natural sciences, math, history, humanities, written and oral communication.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Rochester, Minnesota
  • Tuition: $193 Per Credit Hour
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 22 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 29.8%

26. Santa Barbara City College

A public community college, Santa Barbara CIty College was founded in 1909 and offers a wide array of two year degrees, certificates, and transfer programs.  Students wanting to earn their associate degree entirely online will find three paths to earn an associate degree in liberal arts, they can earn an AA with an arts and humanities emphasis, an AA with a science and mathematics emphasis, or an AA with a social and behavioral sciences emphasis.  All three are interdisciplinary by nature but will vary with some of the required courses.  Students will be able to use this degree as a springboard to transfer to a number of universities and colleges.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Santa Barbara, California
  • Tuition: $46 Per Unit (Resident) $285 Per Unit (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 27 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 19.2%

27. Barton County Community

A comprehensive community college, Barton County Community College was established in 1965.  For students that are looking for a more flexible method and path to earning a degree, the online associate of arts in liberal arts degree will provide what they are looking for.  The degree can be completed entirely online and students can customize their degree through courses that will meet the needs of the institution they plan to transfer to upon completion.  This kind of flexibility ensures that students complete required courses while still allowing them to choose electives and be more engaged in their learning path.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Grand Bend, Kansas
  • Tuition: $3,648 (Residential) $4,288 (Non-Residential)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 2%

28. Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College was established in 1973 to provide affordable higher learning and job training resources to residents of the greater Boston area.  The associate of arts degree in liberal arts is designed for students that have not chosen a major but are seeking to earn a degree that will enable them to transfer to a four year program at a college or university   Students will take a variety of courses in English, writing, problem solving, humanities, and more.  Students can choose the elective they are interested in to complete the course requirements for graduation.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tuition: $220 Per Credit Hour (Resident)  $426 Per Credit Hour (Non-Resident)
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 24.6%

29. Aims Community College

A public community college, Aims Community College operates four campuses as well as an online program.  Aims offers over 200 degree and certificate programs, many available online. Students can earn an associate of arts in liberal arts online through the many internet based course programs that are engaging. Online learners have access to advisors, tutoring, workshops, technical support, and more.  Students that complete the AA degree will be qualified to transfer to a larger institution to earn a bachelor degree in a more specific field of their choice.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Greeley, Colorado
  • Tuition: Calculate Tuition Here 
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 24.3%

Points Methodology

  • Cost: Under $5,000 Annually  Points:  5
  • Between $5K and $10K Annually Points:  3
  • Above $10K Annually  Points:  1
  • Faculty to Student Ratio   !0 to 1 and Under  Points:  5
  • Between 10 and 20 to 1  Points:  3
  • Above 20 to 1 Points:  1
  • Graduation Rate:  50% and Above  Points:  5
  • Between 25% and 50%  Points:  3
  • 25% and Under   Points:  1

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