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2021 Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

409 Colleges
54,385 Bachelor's Degrees
$21,078 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Value Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies School for You

Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness StudiesIn 2018-2019, 54,385 people earned their bachelor's in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, making the major the #13 most popular in the United States.

This year's Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies ranking looked at 409 colleges that offer a bachelor's in parks and rec. When talking about the 'best value', we do not simply mean those with the lowest price. Instead, we are looking at those parks and rec schools that offer a high quality educational experience at a price lower than expected.

When calculating average cost, we take tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other related expenses into account. We then subtract the average financial aid award. The is meant to give you an idea of how much money you'll need to pay out-of-pocket through loans, external scholarships, or other methods. Depending on your income and other factors, the cost for you to attend a particular school may be more or less.

More Ways to Rank Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Value Parks & Rec Schools list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

2021 Best Value Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools in the United States

Check out the parks and rec programs at these schools if you want to get the best value for your money.

Top 25 Best Value Parks & Rec Schools

Brigham Young University - Provo earned the #1 spot in our 2021 rankings. BYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Provo. In addition to its great value ranking, BYU is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

At BYU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 5.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $12,239. This means that the average student pays around $64,132 to get a bachelor’s degree from BYU. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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University of Wisconsin - La Crosse landed the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Located in the city of La Crosse, UW - La Crosse is a public school with a large student population. On top of its placing in our value rankings, UW - La Crosse also did well on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The average student at UW - La Crosse graduates in less than 4.5 years, and it costs about $19,185 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UW - La Crosse be around $85,373. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#3

Chadron State College

Chadron, NE

Our rankings recognize Chadron State College as the #3 school in this year's rankings. Located in the remote town of Chadron, Chadron State College is a public school with a small student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Chadron State College also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies ranking.

The average student at Chadron State College graduates in less than 4.5 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $15,794. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College is $71,705. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to South Dakota State University. South Dakota State is a large public school located in the town of Brookings. South Dakota State excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

At South Dakota State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $20,370. This means that the average student pays around $89,628 to get a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#5

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL

Eastern Illinois University comes in at #5 in this year's ranking. EIU is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Charleston. EIU also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at EIU is 4.4 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $16,976. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the EIU is $75,034. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania earned the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings. SRU is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Slippery Rock. SRU also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

It takes the average student at SRU about 4.3 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,713. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from SRU is $93,149. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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Western Carolina University landed the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. WCU is a fairly large public school located in the distant town of Cullowhee.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at WCU to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $15,387. This means that the average student pays around $67,549 to get a bachelor’s degree from WCU. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Our rankings recognize Western Illinois University as the #8 school in this year's rankings. WIU is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Macomb.

It takes the average student at WIU about 4.4 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $17,615. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WIU is about $78,211. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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University of Nebraska at Kearney landed the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Located in the distant town of Kearney, UNK is a public college with a moderately-sized student population. UNK excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at UNK to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $20,217. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from UNK is $91,987. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#10

Winona State University

Winona, MN

The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Winona State University. Winona State is a medium-sized public school located in the town of Winona. In addition to its great value ranking, Winona State is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

It takes the average student at Winona State about 4.5 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $21,880. This means that the average student pays around $98,022 to get a bachelor’s degree from Winona State. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#11

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

University of Northern Iowa landed the #11 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. UNI is a large public school located in the city of Cedar Falls. On top of its placing in our value rankings, UNI also did well on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at UNI to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,198. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UNI be around $107,439. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#12

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University earned the #12 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Tallahassee, Florida State is a public school with a very large student population. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Florida State also did well on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Florida State to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $27,233. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Florida State be around $115,196. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Johnson & Wales University - North Miami comes in at #13 in this year's ranking. JWU North Miami is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of North Miami. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, JWU North Miami also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies ranking.

It takes the average student at JWU North Miami about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $28,289. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from JWU North Miami is $117,399. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#14

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO

Truman State University earned the #14 spot in our 2021 rankings. Truman State is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Kirksville.

It takes the average student at Truman State about 4.2 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $18,927. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Truman State is $80,250. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Minnesota State University - Mankato landed the #15 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Located in the small city of Mankato, Minnesota State University - Mankato is a public college with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Minnesota State University - Mankato also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies ranking.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Minnesota State University - Mankato is 4.6 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,786. This means that the average student pays around $99,998 to get a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University - Mankato. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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The #16 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of North Alabama. UNA is a medium-sized public school located in the small city of Florence. UNA also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

At UNA, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.7 years, and it costs about $23,303 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UNA be around $108,825. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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The #17 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Appalachian State University. Located in the distant town of Boone, Appalachian State is a public school with a large student population. In addition to its great value ranking, Appalachian State is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

At Appalachian State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $22,137. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State be around $95,410. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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California University of Pennsylvania landed the #18 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Cal U is a medium-sized public school located in the suburb of California. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Cal U also did well on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

At Cal U, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $23,767. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Cal U be around $101,485. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Our rankings recognize University of North Carolina at Greensboro as the #19 school in this year's rankings. Located in the city of Greensboro, UNC Greensboro is a public college with a fairly large student population. In addition to its great value ranking, UNC Greensboro is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list.

At UNC Greensboro, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.5 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $22,093. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UNC Greensboro is $98,756. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#20

The College at Brockport

Brockport, NY

The #20 spot in this year's ranking belongs to The College at Brockport. Located in the fringe town of Brockport, SUNY Brockport is a public college with a medium-sized student population. SUNY Brockport also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

It takes the average student at SUNY Brockport about 4.3 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $24,959. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport is about $107,074. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#21

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles, MO

The #21 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Lindenwood University. Lindenwood University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Saint Charles.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Lindenwood University is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $22,464. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Lindenwood University is $98,842. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#22

Manchester University

North Manchester, IN

Our rankings recognize Manchester University as the #22 school in this year's rankings. Manchester University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of North Manchester.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Manchester University to complete their degree, and it costs about $22,098 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Manchester University be around $91,486. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Our rankings recognize University of Minnesota - Duluth as the #23 school in this year's rankings. Located in the small city of Duluth, UMN Duluth is a public school with a large student population. UMN Duluth also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies list. It's in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at UMN Duluth to complete their degree, and it costs about $22,044 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from UMN Duluth is $98,537. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#24

Canisius College

Buffalo, NY

Canisius College landed the #24 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools. Canisius is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Buffalo.

It takes the average student at Canisius about 4.1 years to graduate, and it costs about $18,574 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Canisius is about $75,968. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Texas Lutheran University earned the #25 spot in our 2021 rankings. TLU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Seguin.

At TLU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $23,694. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from TLU is about $102,121. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

#26

Hanover College

Hanover, IN
#29

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#30

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY
#33

Monmouth College

Monmouth, IL
#36

Texas State University

San Marcos, TX
#37

Harding University

Searcy, AR
#43

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#44

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
#45

Loras College

Dubuque, IA
#47

Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, GA
#48

Howard University

Washington, DC

Additional Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 409 different United States parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
52 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
53 Missouri Western State University Saint Joseph, MO
54 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO
55 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
56 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
57 Lock Haven University Lock Haven, PA
58 Fort Lewis College Durango, CO
59 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
60 Missouri State University - Springfield Springfield, MO
61 Carroll University Waukesha, WI

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies students that almost earned our Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies award.

Rank College Location
62 Sterling College Sterling, KS
63 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
64 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
65 Coe College Cedar Rapids, IA
66 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
67 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
68 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
69 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH
70 Florida International University Miami, FL
71 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
72 California State University - Chico Chico, CA
73 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
74 Springfield College Springfield, MA
75 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN
76 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
77 Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI
78 Northern Illinois University Dekalb, IL
79 Bridgewater College Bridgewater, VA
80 University of Mount Union Alliance, OH
81 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

View the Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 48,130
Recreation Administration 3,042
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 2,956
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 138
Outdoor Education 119

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 60,085
Public Administration & Social Service 36,639
Legal Professions 4,554
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 791

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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