2022 best colleges in Virginia

With close proximity to Washington, D.C., students interested in government and political science internships will find a range of opportunities. The University of Virginia, the state’s flagship institution, is a pioneer in hypersonic flight research and home to the Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The College of William & Mary, founded in 1693, is the second-oldest higher education institution nationwide, second only to Harvard University. Another historic site, the Virginia Military Institute was founded as the first public senior military college in the United States.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Earningsplus: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Virginia | #21 in National Universities

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

Economic score: 0.89

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $20,397

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $77,048

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $34,064

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 23%
Graduation rate: 94%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Virginia | #3 in Liberal Arts

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

Economic score: 0.94

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,615

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $86,020

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $43,036

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 25%
Graduation rate: 96%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Virginia | #44 in National Universities

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, Virginia

Economic score: 1.12

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $21,198

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $73,159

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $30,175

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 66%
Graduation rate: 84%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Virginia | #5 in Liberal Arts

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia

Economic score: 1.16

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $17,804

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $71,910

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $28,926

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 60%
Graduation rate: 78%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Virginia | #65 in National Universities

William & Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

Economic score: 1.36

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $19,800

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $64,723

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $21,739

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 43%
Graduation rate: 92%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Virginia | #82 in National Universities

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Economic score: 1.53

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $21,048

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $66,148

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $23,164

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 90%
Graduation rate: 74%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Virginia

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Economic score: 1.81

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,169

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $61,268

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $18,284

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 81%
Graduation rate: 84%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Virginia | #21 in Liberal Arts

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

Economic score: 1.84

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $25,838

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $69,310

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $26,326

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 31%
Graduation rate: 83%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Virginia

Marymount University

Arlington, Virginia

Economic score: 2.28

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $26,078

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $60,360

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $17,376

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 86%
Graduation rate: 68%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#10 in Virginia

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Economic score: 2.43

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,447

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,383

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $7,399

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 79%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#11 in Virginia

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Economic score: 2.48

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $21,907

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,819

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $11,835

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 76%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#12 in Virginia | #55 in Liberal Arts

Hampden-Sydney College

Hampden-Sydney, Virginia

Economic score: 2.59

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $31,227

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $65,446

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $22,462

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 48%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#13 in Virginia

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

Economic score: 2.76

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $25,596

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,027

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $12,043

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 77%
Graduation rate: 73%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#14 in Virginia | #219 in National Universities

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Economic score: 2.80

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,493

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,678

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $6,694

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 96%
Graduation rate: 57%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#15 in Virginia | #69 in Liberal Arts

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, Virginia

Economic score: 2.84

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $17,929

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $48,160

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $5,176

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 77%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#16 in Virginia | #81 in Liberal Arts

The University of Virginia's College at Wise

Wise, Virginia

Economic score: 3.06

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,061

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,055

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,929

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 83%
Graduation rate: 53%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#17 in Virginia | #83 in Liberal Arts

Randolph-Macon College

Ashland, Virginia

Economic score: 3.08

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $26,370

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $53,288

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,304

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 72%
Graduation rate: 67%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#18 in Virginia | #97 in Liberal Arts

Roanoke College

Salem, Virginia

Economic score: 3.41

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $25,135

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,770

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $7,786

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 79%
Graduation rate: 69%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#19 in Virginia | #278 in National Universities

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Economic score: 3.43

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,021

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,106

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $7,122

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 91%
Graduation rate: 69%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#20 in Virginia

University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia

Economic score: 3.52

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $23,207

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,490

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $6,506

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 98%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

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