Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

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 analyzed 409 colleges that offered a bachelor's degree in parks and rec. To us, 'best value' doesn't just mean the school with the lowest overall costs. Instead, we are looking at those parks and rec schools that offer a high quality educational experience at a price lower than expected.

To determine the average cost, we look at total expenses - such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, and other related expenses - and then subtract the average financial award a student receives. Knowing this amount can help you determine how much you may have to borrow in loans or take out of savings. 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

Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Best Value Parks & Rec Schools ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. 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

The following schools top our list of the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges for the 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 yearly average cost to attend the school is $12,239. 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 BYU is $64,132. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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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 college 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.

At UW - La Crosse, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.5 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $19,185. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from UW - La Crosse is $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 college 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 estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,794. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College is $71,705. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to South Dakota State University. South Dakota State is a fairly large public school located in the remote 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.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at South Dakota State is 4.4 years, and it costs about $20,370 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the South Dakota State is $89,628. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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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 distant 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.

At EIU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and it costs about $16,976 per year to attend the school. 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 EIU is $75,034. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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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 distant 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.

The average student at SRU graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $21,713. 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 SRU is $93,149. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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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.

The average student at WCU graduates in less than 4.4 years, and it costs about $15,387 per year to attend the school. 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 WCU is $67,549. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at WIU is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $17,615. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WIU is about $78,211. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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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 medium-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.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UNK is 4.6 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $20,217. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UNK be around $91,987. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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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 distant 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.

The average student at Winona State graduates in less than 4.5 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,880. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Winona State be around $98,022. 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 fairly large public school located in the small 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.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UNI is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,198. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from UNI is about $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 fairly 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 the estimated yearly cost for the school is $27,233. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Florida State is $115,196. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount 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.

The average student at JWU North Miami graduates in less than 4.2 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $28,289. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from JWU North Miami is about $117,399. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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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 medium-sized public school located in the town of Kirksville.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Truman State is 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $18,927. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Truman State be around $80,250. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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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 student at Minnesota State University - Mankato graduates in less than 4.6 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,786. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University - Mankato is about $99,998. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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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.

It takes about 4.7 years for the average student at UNA to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $23,303. This means that the average student pays around $108,825 to get a bachelor’s degree from UNA. 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 fairly 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.

The average student at Appalachian State graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $22,137. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Appalachian State is $95,410. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount 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 small 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.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Cal U is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $23,767. 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 Cal U is $101,485. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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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 large city of Greensboro, UNC Greensboro is a public college with a very 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.

It takes the average student at UNC Greensboro about 4.5 years to graduate, 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. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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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 school 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 about 4.3 years for the average student at SUNY Brockport to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $24,959. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport be around $107,074. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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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 medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Saint Charles.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Lindenwood University to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $22,464. This means that the average student pays around $98,842 to get a bachelor’s degree from Lindenwood University. 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.

The average student at Manchester University graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $22,098. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Manchester University be around $91,486. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot 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 the estimated yearly cost for the school is $22,044. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UMN Duluth is $98,537. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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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 city of Buffalo.

The average student at Canisius graduates in less than 4.1 years, and it costs about $18,574 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $75,968 to get a bachelor’s degree from Canisius. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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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 fringe town of Seguin.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at TLU to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,694. 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 TLU is $102,121. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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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 section shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Value Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies badge. Showing in this list means the school 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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