Arizona State University
ASU's Honors College "offers 3,000 undergraduates an intimate liberal arts program at state school prices."
The Kentucky liberal arts school doesn't charge tuition; instead, students are asked to contribute 10 hours of labor each week.
The New York art school's engineering, fine arts, and architecture programs are all free.
Evergreen State College
With no grades and no set curriculum, Evergreen attracts slightly older, more mature, and serious students.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Of all the research universities the authors visited, this one "most capably connected its research functions with undergraduate schooling."
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The school's sparkling reputation aside, its undergraduate experience is enhanced by adjunct professors who are treated well and motivated.
The University of Mississippi
The former symbol of segregation is now a school "where reconciliation and civility are at the very heart of the educational mission."
University of Notre Dame
The Catholic university "has successfully avoided the faddish academic trends," and grad assistants teach only 7 percent of classes.
Raritan Valley Community College
The two-year New Jersey institution caters to commuters and "provides a better introduction to college work than many four-year schools." Classes don't exceed 40 students.
Western Oregon University
The former teachers' college has a sterling faculty trained at prestigious schools such as Cornell and the University of Wisconsin.