The Forum | General Education

Bang for Your Buck: Hillsdale College

February 26, 2019

Hillsdale College lies two hours west of Detroit, MI. Its liberal arts curriculum focuses heavily on Western Civilization, philosophy, U.S. government and history, and the study of Great Books. Hillsdale has partnered with a number of Washington, DC-based think tanks and K-12 charter schools in order to offer academic and professional opportunities to students. During the American Civil War, many Hillsdale students enlisted in the Union Army, and it remains one of the few colleges founded before the Civil War that has not been forced to close.

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,486

Tuition: $26,742

General Education Requirements: All students must complete at least one course in composition, literature, U.S. government or history, mathematics, natural science, Western Civilization, philosophy, theology, and fine arts.

Academic and Financial Highlights:

  • Hillsdale requires all students to complete a series of courses on Western Civilization which include the Great Books in the Western, British, and American traditions. Students also complete additional political science and history courses on the United States Constitution and the American Founding.
  • Tuition at Hillsdale seems high, but is actually one of the lowest rates in Michigan for private institutions. Tuition at Aquinas College, Calvin College, and Kalamazoo College stands at $32,000 or more. Hillsdale also has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in Michigan at 71%, falling closely behind the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor at 77% and Kalamazoo College at 82%.

ACTA’s Assessment: Hillsdale is an affordable and rigorous academic powerhouse when compared to Michigan’s large state institutions. The College offers a guided core curriculum, in contrast to a cafeteria-style curriculum, that prepares students with the practical and intellectual skills they need in order to be effective and informed citizens.

Bang for Your Buck highlights affordable and academically rigorous colleges and universities across the nation. At a time when student debt stands at more than $1.5 trillion, acquiring a useful set of skills at a reasonable price has never been more important for students entering an extremely competitive job market. Twice a month, ACTA recognizes a high-ranking institution from our What Will They Learn?® project for its commitment to low tuition rates and serious academic study.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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