2017 RANKING & REVIEW
TOP RANKING BEST UNIVERSITIES IN VIRGINIA


Enrolling in the Top Universities in Virginia for 2017

It’s no secret that your education can be a key indicator of the level of success you’ll enjoy in your professional life later on. Having a degree to your name is of paramount importance in today’s fiercely competitive market. Which Virginia universities can offer you the best education?

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Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Universities in Virginia

The definition of “best education” is relative, of course. Each prospective student must consider where they hope their future will take them, along with what they prefer in a school. Are you looking for the largest university in Virginia or the cheapest Virginia state universities?

Even your preferred academic course can help you to decide among the best universities in Virginia.

With so many different elements factoring into a crucial decision for your future, AdvisoryHQ wanted to help you make sense of them. We compiled this Virginia state universities ranking to help you see important information at a quick glance.

If you’re planning to fill out applications to attend some of the best universities in Virginia, you won’t want to miss any of these candidates. You’ll find a well-rounded education at a reasonable price at these top six Virginia public universities and private universities.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Universities in Virginia

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the schools below to go directly to the detailed review section for that Virginia university):


Top 6 Best Universities in Virginia | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Top Universities in Virginia

Enrollment

Tuition for In-State Residents

College of William and Mary

8,617

$16,370

James Madison University

21,270

$10,390

University of Richmond

4,181

$50,910

University of Virginia

22,391

$13,060

Virginia Military Institute

1,717

$8,461

Virginia Tech

33,170

$13,230

Table: Top 6 Best Virginia State Universities | Above list is sorted alphabetically



What Is the Difference Between Private and Public Universities in Virginia?

Students heading away to higher education often come up against the uncertainty of the differences between private and public universities in Virginia. While there are definitely top universities in Virginia from both categories, many find that they prefer the public school options when it comes down to a direct comparison.

The biggest difference between private and public universities in Virginia is the cost of tuition. Public universities in Virginia are almost always going to be lower on tuition than private colleges because they receive some help with funding from the state.

Students who are ultimately looking for the cheapest universities in Virginia will likely find them all to be public universities.

The top universities in Virginia will offer a broad range of degree programs and academic areas of study. However, public colleges and universities are found to be more likely to offer the most academic programs. Because private universities tend to have fewer students enrolled in their classes, they are unable to offer a vast selection of degree programs.

In terms of education, public universities in Virginia will tend to have larger class sizes than their private institution counterparts.

Prospective students who are interested in the largest university in Virginia will want to highly consider the enrollment rates at public universities in Virginia. They are more likely to meet your standards when it comes to socializing and class size than a private university will be able to offer you. 

Demographics should also be considered when it comes to your preferred VA state universities. Public schools are more likely to draw in-state residents due to the lowered tuition rates. On the other hand, you may find a more diverse population in private Virginia state universities.

While all of these factors tend to be broad generalizations of the differences between private Virginia universities and public universities in Virginia, you should always consider the data for yourself. In our ranking and detailed breakdown of the best universities in Virginia below, you’ll find all of the most important details that you need to make a decision.



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Detailed Review: Top-Ranking Best Universities in Virginia

Below, please find the detailed review of each school on our list of top universities in Virginia. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these Virginia universities to score so high in our selection ranking.



College of William and Mary Review


Of all the public universities in Virginia, the College of William and Mary may very well be one of the prestigious. Labeled as a “Public Ivy” school, the long-spanning history of William and Mary is an attractive feature to prospective students. Located in the convenient town of Williamsburg, these public universities in Virginia are the second-oldest in the entire nation.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

Find out the specifics on what makes receiving an education at these public universities in Virginia such a highly sought-after experience. The detailed overview of their academics and tuition is in the section that follows.

Education

The education you’ll find at these best universities in Virginia is solidly based on the arts and sciences. Prospective students can choose from a number of majors within these categories, as well as options in their School of Business or School of Education.

In a similar vein, students are also welcome to design their own major to uniquely suit their future career and education to what they desire.

In the 2016 fall semester, the College of William and Mary was a far cry from being the largest university in Virginia. With just 8,617 students enrolled in their undergraduate, graduate, and first professional programs combined, it has one of the lowest enrollments on our ranking.

While it may not be the largest university in Virginia, it does have one of the lowest student-faculty ratios. At twelve students to each faculty member, your class sizes are likely to be significantly smaller.

Tuition

The cost of tuition at these best universities in Virginia is slightly higher than what you will see for others on our Virginia state universities ranking. In-state residents qualify for a hefty amount of need-based financial aid, but out-of-state students will only qualify for up to 25% of their tuition fees in needs-based scholarships.

In-state residents at these public universities in Virginia will pay just $16,370 for the upcoming 2017–2018 academic year. Out-of-state residents will pay $36,158 per year.

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James Madison University Review


Holding tight to the number two spot as the best public school in the South, James Madison University is a top candidate for one of the best universities in Virginia and the nation. They’ve also earned spots as one of the “Best Value Schools” (Kiplinger’s) and earned fifth place for students who feel they made the right choice. With broad academic pursuits and low tuition, these best universities in Virginia are an obvious choice for prospective students.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

The finer points of the education you’ll receive at James Madison University are detailed in the comprehensive summary below.

Education

Like many of the large public universities in Virginia, James Madison University is home to a wide array of potential degree programs. Education levels ranging from undergraduate to doctoral studies have 124 unique degree programs for students to choose from.

James Madison University is also a top candidate to be the largest university in Virginia with 21,270 students enrolled as of the 2016 fall semester. The majority of those students are full-time undergraduate students from within the state of Virginia.

However, don’t let that total enrollment scare off prospective students hoping for smaller class sizes. These public universities in Virginia boast a student-faculty ratio that is only a little bit higher than that of the College of William and Mary. Students will enjoy a sixteen to one student-faculty ratio.

Tuition

Is James Madison University one of the cheapest universities in Virginia? Compared to some of the other selections among our top universities in VA, it does offer low tuition rates to in-state residents. For a full list of their tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 academic year, see below:

  • In-state residents: $10,390
  • Out-of-state residents: $26,164
  • Room and board: $9,526

James Madison University - public universities in virginia

Image Source: James Madison University

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University of Richmond Review


One of the few private VA state universities to make it onto our Virginia state universities ranking, the University of Richmond has the potential to be one of the best universities in Virginia for many students.

They have lots of selections when it comes to their schools of study, but they do have a higher-than-average tuition compared to public universities in Virginia. That doesn’t prevent them from being named a “best value school” by some of the most well-known rankings, including Kiplinger’s, SmartMoney, and the Princeton Review.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

What allowed us to include the University of Richmond on our ranking of the top Virginia universities? You can see everything you need to know about their education and tuition rates below.

Education

Most prospective students are drawn into the University of Richmond because it is one of the best universities in Virginia for an expansive educational experience. They have five different schools, designed to meet all of their students’ needs:

  • Schools of Arts and Sciences
  • Robins School of Business
  • School of Law
  • School of Professional and Continuing Studies
  • Jepson School of Leadership Studies

Because this is a private school instead of one of the many Virginia public universities, it has a much smaller enrollment and is not the largest university in Virginia. With enrollment of 4,181 students, they are still able to maintain the lowest student-faculty ratio on our ranking. The University of Richmond has an impressive eight to one ratio.

Not only that, but they promise that no course will be taught by a teaching assistant.

Tuition

One of the greatest aspects of these best universities in Virginia is their commitment to helping cover the cost of tuition. They agree to meet 100% of the financial need that is above and beyond what a family can pay. They are needs-blind when it comes to admission, which is great because they are not one of the least expensive universities in Virginia.

Tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students at $50,910 per year. The average needs-based aid package is $45,780.



University of Virginia Review


The University of Virginia is considered by some of the top publications to be one of the best universities in Virginia. With awards including the number two spot as the best public national university (U.S. News & World Report) and best public college value (Kiplinger’s), this contender is an ideal choice for many students. They offer one of the widest selection of degree programs and some of the lowest tuition rates.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

To understand more of the compelling reasons why the University of Virginia landed on our ranking of the top universities in Virginia, read the sections that follow.

Education

VA state universities are mostly associated with having a lot to offer prospective students academically. The University of Virginia is no exception with eleven different schools to inspire and challenge students within the classroom. Spanning those eleven schools are 88 potential undergraduate degree programs to choose from.

Ranking just their undergraduate students, the University of Virginia has the potential to be the largest university in Virginia. Students who attend on campus classes for a bachelor’s degree number at 15,891.

Graduate students come in at an enrollment rate of 6,500 on grounds, for a total rate of 22,391 students. Students who want the largest university in Virginia will certainly want to consider this one.

One source notes that they are still able to maintain a very reasonable student-faculty ratio despite high enrollment rates. At just fifteen students to each faculty member, this ensures that you won’t get lost in the crowd.

Tuition

Like many universities in Virginia, the University of Virginia offers separate rates to in-state and out-of-state students. They are committed to meeting 100% of any demonstrated financial need for all students, a great feature among public universities in Virginia.

Keep in mind that these VA state universities do have a great difference in price for their tuition rates (entering fall of 2016):

  • In-state students: $13,060
  • Out-of-state students: $41,722
  • Room and board: ranging from $5,865 to $7,110

University of Virginia - largest university in virginia

Image Source: University of Virginia

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Virginia Military Institute Review


According to their website, the Virginia Military Institute consistently ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s top five public liberal arts universities in the nation. These universities in VA boast extremely small class sizes, though they offer fewer majors and minors. Students who ultimately want to spend their college years immersed in the military lifestyle will want to look into these military universities in VA.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

If you want to learn more about what qualifies Virginia Military Institute as one of the top universities in Virginia, you’ll want to take a look at the detailed review below.

Education

Unlike some of the other VA state universities included on our ranking, the Virginia Military Institute offers far fewer majors. Compared to more than a hundred selections at some universities in VA, this school has just fourteen majors to offer to potential students.

They believe that keeping their academic focus small allows for a higher quality education.

This is a significantly smaller school, perhaps in part because there is less interest in military universities in Virginia compared to other liberal arts colleges and universities. According to U.S. News & World Report, just 1,717 students are enrolled in these best universities in Virginia. This allows them to have an eleven to one student-faculty ratio, with 65.9% of classes containing fewer than twenty students.

Tuition

This is easily one of the cheapest universities in Virginia for in-state students. However, prospective students will need to keep in mind that room and board is required at these Virginia state universities, whereas it may not be in other public universities in Virginia. See the full breakdown of costs below:

  • In-state tuition: $8,461
  • In-state total: $26,660
  • Out-of-state tuition: $32,770
  • Out-of-state total: $50,969

After financial aid, the average amount of debt carried by graduates is estimated to be around $21,000.

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Virginia Tech Review


Well-recognized around the nation, Virginia Tech is one of the best universities in the state to provide you with a solid education for the future. With vast selections in degree programs and low tuition, these Virginia public universities will appeal to almost all prospective students.

Key Factors that Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Universities in Virginia

Prospective students who are interested in attending one of the best universities in Virginia will want to look over the highly detailed review of their education and tuition below.

Education

Virginia Tech is easily one of the top universities in Virginia for prospective students who want the largest university in Virginia with the most degree programs. Between their undergraduate and graduate programs, there are more than 250 choices for professional pursuits. The majority of those (more than 100) belong to bachelor’s degree study programs.

As far as enrollment is concerned, this is a great candidate for the largest university in Virginia. It boasts 33,170 students both on and off the main 2,600-acre campus. Still, they manage to have a low student-faculty ratio of just sixteen to one.

Students who are interested in research facilities will appreciate the academic interests available at Virginia Tech. These best universities in Virginia rank 44th in university research among all universities in the nation.

Tuition

Is Virginia Tech one of the cheapest universities in Virginia? On our ranking of Virginia universities, it falls solidly in the middle of all the other candidates on our ranking. Once again, you’ll find that yearly tuition is divided into that for in-state residents and out-of-state residents:

  • In-state residents: $13,230
  • Out-of-state residents: $31,014

Room and board is estimated to be $8,690, but will vary based on individual selections.


Conclusion—Top 6 Best Universities in Virginia

No matter how you envision your future, there is a school out there that is perfectly designed to suit your needs. Whether you need a small school or the largest university in Virginia, you know that you want to attend one of the best Virginia state universities possible.

Conclusion - top universities in virginia

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What are your priorities when it comes to higher education? Even if all you want to do is find the cheapest universities in Virginia, you need to know what all of the options are.

Private and public universities in Virginia both have plenty to offer prospective students who are pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Universities in VA provide lots of options to make your dreams of success a reality.



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