Small Conservative Catholic Colleges

The United States has many colleges affiliated with the Roman Catholic faith. Prospective students interested in small, conservative institutions can take a closer look at five of them.

The schools highlighted below all have total student enrollments under 2,500. They are conservative in both a commitment to the Roman Catholic faith as well as organizations that reflect conservative values.

School Comparison

These five schools are all private, not-for-profit institutions with tuition ranging from under $20,000 to almost $35,000.

School Name Institution Type Location Undergraduate Population Undergraduate Tuition and Fees*
Franciscan University of Steubenville 4-year, Private not-for-profit Steubenville, OH 2,200 (2017)* $26,430 (2017-2018)*
Christendom College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Front Royal, VA 504 (2018)** $27,240 (2019-2020)**
Ave Maria University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Ave Maria, FL 1,072 (2017)* $19,970 (2017-2018)*
Thomas More College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Crestview Hills, KY 1,880 (2017)* $30,270 (2017-2018)*
Saint Vincent College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Latrobe, PA 1,667 (2017)* $34,430 (2017-2018)*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), **School website

Overview of Small, Conservative Catholic Schools

Students can pursue bachelor's degrees at each of these schools, but some offer graduate-level degrees. Because of the small student population sizes, the student-to-faculty ratios are 15:1 or lower.

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Franciscan University of Steubenville earned the distinction of 'faithfully Catholic' by the Cardinal Newman Society. Daily Mass services are offered along with confession four days of the week. Outside of Mass, the university offers the Faith Study Club, which is an evangelization group, Students for Catholic Liturgy, and Life Runners, students dedicated to ending abortion through fundraising and prayer. Undergraduate degrees at Franciscan include theology, communication arts, and humanities and Catholic culture. On-campus master's degrees include theology and educational administration; online master's degrees are available in catechetics and evangelization, and Catholic leadership.

Christendom College

Students at Christendom College can complete degrees in fields such as classical and early Christian studies, mathematics, and theology. Campus organizations include the Christendom Political Action League, which hosts conservative political speakers and assists with campaigns, the Crusader Chamber Orchestra, and Shield of Roses, a student group that prays weekly outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. All of Christendom's curriculum is developed with the Catholic perspective in mind, with students required to take classes in Catholic theology and philosophy. The college holds daily Mass services along with the Sacraments and sacramentals of the Church throughout the week.

Ave Maria University

Ave Maria University counts the Catholic faith among one of its distinctions. Students can attend daily Mass and confession on campus along with various services at area churches. They have regular access to the adoration chapel and can attend a nightly rosary walk on campus. Campus organizations include the Youth Ministry Club, Life Runners, and Students United for Israel. Students can pursue undergraduate degrees in disciplines such as Catholic studies, communications, and nursing. They can also pursue master's and doctoral degrees in theology.

Thomas More College

Thomas More College is unique in that it offers a degree program only in liberal arts. The curriculum includes the chance to study abroad at Oxford College and participate in activities like naturalistic drawing and woodworking. Students can join clubs like the Milk Street Society, a group that bridges Catholicism and political conservatism, and Schola, a musical group that performs at Mass services. Thomas More offers a spring pilgrimage to the nation's capital for the March 4 Life, an annual pro-life demonstration. Catholic Mass and confession are available daily.

Saint Vincent College

Saint Vincent College adheres to Benedictine values and is a global campus member of Catholic Relief Services, a development and outreach organization of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The college offers daily Mass services and provides pro-life and homeless shelter service opportunities. Campus organizations range from the Engineering Club to the Student Philanthropy Council. Programs of study at Saint Vincent include art education, theology, and management.


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