10 Best Colleges in Virginia 2023

Nestled in the heart of the United States, Virginia beckons with its captivating landscapes and rich historical treasures. It has famous places like Shenandoah National Park and historic presidential homes. Beyond its natural allure, Virginia proudly boasts a reputation for hosting some of the best colleges and universities in the United States.

There are over 80 colleges in Virginia. In fact, Virginia’s universities are ranked 17th in the United States by US News and World Report. Graduates in Virginia can expect to find good job opportunities and potentially lucrative careers as the job market in the state continues to grow.

Looking for the best Colleges in Virginia? Here are the top 10 universities and the criteria we used to rank them. This article provides important details about each prestigious university in Virginia. Read on to explore the options and find the best universities in Virginia.

Why Study in Virginia?

Virginia welcomes approximately 19,000 international students, making it an attractive destination for global learners. The state is home to a diverse range of nationally ranked small liberal arts colleges, mid-size institutions, and large research universities.

Beyond academia, Virginia offers easy access to numerous historic and cultural sites. Impressively, the state manages a staggering 70% of the world’s internet traffic. Situated within reach of the U.S. capital and other major east coast cities, Virginia combines the benefits of proximity to urban centers with the charm of diverse landscapes, including beaches, mountains, and bustling cities. Notably, Virginia secured the top spot on CNBC’s 2019 ranking of America’s Top States for Business, largely due to its highly skilled and educated workforce.

Popular Career Paths in Virginia

  • Political Science
  • Healthcare
  • Business Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Social Science
  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Civil Engineering
  • Education

Top 10 Universities in Virginia: Ranking 2023

S.NoUniversityUS News National RankingLocationGraduation Rate
1University of Virginia#25Charlottesville92%
2William & Mary#38Williamsburg, Gloucester Point85%
3Virginia Tech#75Blacksburg, Roanoke, Northern Virginia65%
4George Mason University#148Fairfax, Arlington, Manassas48%
5Virginia Commonwealth University#172Richmond44%
6Hampton University#202Hampton41%
7Old Dominion University#263Norfolk27%
8Shenandoah University#263Winchester, Loudoun, Fairfax60%
9Regent University#277Virginia Beach50%
10Washington and Lee University#11 in National Liberal Arts CollegesLexington91%

1. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia (UVA) is an esteemed public research institution located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson established the university in 1819. Nestled within the beautiful Academical Village, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, UVA is renowned as a “Public Ivy” due to its commitment to providing a high-quality academic environment comparable to that of Ivy League universities. Entrance to UVA is highly competitive, and the university boasts a rich history, a student-driven honor code, and clandestine organizations as notable aspects of its identity.

  • Tuition And Fees: $56,837(out-of-state) and $21,381(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,299(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.virginia.edu

2. William & Mary

The College of William & Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, is a renowned public research university. Established in 1693 through a royal charter granted by King William III and Queen Mary II, it holds the distinction of being the second-oldest higher education institution in the United States and the ninth-oldest globally among English-speaking universities.

  • Tuition And Fees: $46,625(out-of-state) and $23,970(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,543(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.wm.edu

3. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech (VT), officially known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), is a prominent public research university situated in Blacksburg, Virginia. Its primary campus is located there, while it also operates educational facilities in six regions across the state. In addition, Virginia Tech has a research center in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and a study-abroad site in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. As a land-grant institution, Virginia Tech is dedicated to advancing research, education, and outreach in various fields.

  • Tuition And Fees: $34,838(out-of-state) and $15,208(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,760(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.vt.edu

4. George Mason University

George Mason University is a well-established public research university situated in Fairfax County, Virginia. Initially established in 1949 as a regional branch of the University of Virginia serving Northern Virginia, it later gained independence and became its own institution in 1972. The university was named after George Mason, one of the esteemed Founding Fathers of the United States, in 1959. Today, George Mason University stands as an esteemed center for higher education and research in the region.

  • Tuition And Fees: $37,568(out-of-state) and $13,404(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,882(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.gmu.edu

5. James Madison University

James Madison University is a public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the institution was renamed Madison College in 1938 in honor of President James Madison and then James Madison University in 1977.

  • Tuition And Fees: $34,256(out-of-state) and $13,092(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 20,070(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.jmu.edu

6. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden–Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854.

  • Tuition And Fees: $36,898(out-of-state) and $15,642(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,394(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.vcu.edu

7. Hampton University

Hampton University, located in Hampton, Virginia, is a private research university with a rich historical significance as a historically black institution. It was founded in 1868 under the name Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School by visionary leaders, both Black and White, associated with the American Missionary Association. The school was established in the aftermath of the American Civil War with the primary objective of providing education to newly emancipated individuals. Since its inception, Hampton University has played a pivotal role in empowering generations of students through its commitment to education and academic excellence.

  • Tuition And Fees: $29,312
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,863(fall 2021)
  • Website: home.hamptonu.edu

8. University of Lynchburg

The University of Lynchburg, formerly Lynchburg College, is a private university associated with the Christian Church and located in Lynchburg, Virginia. It has approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s campus spans 264 acres.

  • Tuition And Fees: $35,470
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,640(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.lynchburg.edu

9. Marymount University

Marymount University is a private Catholic university with its main campus in Arlington, Virginia. Marymount offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It has approximately 4,257 students enrolled, representing 50 states and 70 countries.

  • Tuition And Fees: $36,800
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,221(fall 2021)
  • Website: marymount.edu

10. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is a notable public research university. Initially established in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary, it has since grown into one of the largest universities in the state of Virginia. As of the 2021 academic year, the university proudly enrolls 24,286 students, solidifying its reputation as a thriving educational institution dedicated to academic excellence and research advancement.

  • Tuition And Fees: $32,660 (out-of-state) and $11,900(in-state)
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,678(fall 2021)
  • Website: www.odu.edu

Virginia is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, including some of the most notable and distinguished schools in the nation.

Factors Considered in Ranking Virginia Universities

When considering university rankings in Virginia, we keep several factors in mind to prepare this list. Here are some key considerations:

☑ Academic Reputation☑ Program Suitability☑ Faculty Quality
☑ US News and World Report national rankings☑ Graduation rates☑ Research Opportunities
☑ Student Support Services☑ Campus Culture and Location☑ Financial Considerations
These factors combined make it easy for prospective students to choose the best and most prestigious Colleges in Virginia that align with their goals and aspirations.

In the United States, Affordable online colleges have also gained popularity in recent years. They have become an excellent alternative to traditional education. Here you can find 10 Best Affordable Online Colleges in the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Colleges in Virginia

Is Virginia a good state to study?

Yes. Virginia is the best state for higher education. It has one of the highest average graduation rates and returns on investment.

Are there financial aid and scholarship opportunities available?

Yes, financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available at these universities. They offer various forms of financial assistance, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans.

Can graduates from these universities find good job opportunities?

Yes, graduates from these universities have access to a wide range of job opportunities. Virginia’s economy is diverse and dynamic, offering career prospects in sectors such as technology, healthcare, business, government, education, and more.