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2021 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in the Plains States Region

43 Colleges
5,053 Bachelor's Degrees
$23,773 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in the Plains States RegionParks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies is the #13 most popular major in the country with 54,385 bachelor's degrees awarded in 2018-2019. Of those degrees, 5,053 went to students in the Plains States region of the United States.

This year's Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in the Plains States Region ranking looked at 43 colleges that offer a bachelor's in parks and rec. This ranking identifies schools with high-quality parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies programs as well as strong support for students classified as non-traditional.

When determining these rankings, we looked at things such as overall quality of the parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies program at the school, affordability, and presence of non-traditional students. See our ranking methodology to learn more.

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

As a non-traditional student, you have a lot to consider when it comes to choosing an education. That's why we've developed rankings specifically for you. Check out more major-related rankings here..

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. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

2021 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the Plains States Region

The colleges and universities below are the best for non-traditional students studying parks and rec.

Top 10 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Schools for Non-Traditional Students

#1

Chadron State College

Chadron, NE

Chadron State College tops the 2021 list of our schools in the Plains States Region that are best for non-traditional parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies students. Located in the town of Chadron, Chadron State College is a public college with a small student population. Chadron State College not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #9 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region list.

About 7.6% of Chadron State College students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 1,114 of Chadron State College students are exclusively distance learners. 850 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#2

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

University of Northern Iowa landed the #2 spot in our 2021 best parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools for non-traditional students. UNI is a fairly large public school located in the city of Cedar Falls. UNI also took the #2 spot in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region rankings.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.9%. There are approximately 2,118 students at UNI that take at least one class online. 1,923 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#3

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Our rankings recognize University of Iowa as the #3 school in this year's rankings. Located in the small city of Iowa City, Iowa is a public school with a very large student population. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, Iowa has also earned the #1 rank in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region ranking.

About 2.5% of Iowa students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 12,073 students at Iowa that take at least one class online. 5,224 of Iowa students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Minnesota State University - Mankato earned the #4 spot in our 2021 rankings. Minnesota State Mankato is a fairly large public school located in the city of Mankato. Minnesota State Mankato also took the #7 spot in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region rankings.

About 4.5% of Minnesota State Mankato students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 4,986 students take at least one class online at Minnesota State Mankato. 3,207 of Minnesota State Mankato students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#5

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles, MO

Lindenwood University comes in at #5 in this year's ranking. Lindenwood University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Saint Charles.

About 1.6% of Lindenwood University students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 2,736 students take at least one class online at Lindenwood University. 2,095 students are part time. Lindenwood University does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Winona State University earned the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings. Winona State is a medium-sized public school located in the town of Winona. Winona State did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #5 on our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region list.

About 3.5% of Winona State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 1,703 students take at least one class online at Winona State. 1,335 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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The #7 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 also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region rankings.

About 4.2% of South Dakota State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 2,992 students take at least one class online at South Dakota State. There are roughly 3,377 part time students in attendance at South Dakota State. South Dakota State does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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The #8 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Nebraska at Kearney. Located in the town of Kearney, UNK is a public school with a medium-sized student population. UNK also took the #6 spot in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region rankings.

About 4.6% of UNK students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 1,997 of UNK students are exclusively distance learners. 2,115 of UNK students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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University of Minnesota - Twin Cities earned the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public school with a very large student population. UMN Twin Cities also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges for Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies in the Plains States Region rankings.

The student loan default rate at UMN Twin Cities is lower than is typical, just 2.2% of students default in three years. Approximately 13,571 students take at least one class online at UMN Twin Cities. 10,971 of UMN Twin Cities students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Concordia University, Saint Paul. Located in the large city of Saint Paul, Concordia University, Saint Paul is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

About 5.9% of Concordia University, Saint Paul students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 3,129 students at Concordia University, Saint Paul are exclusively online. 1,567 of Concordia University, Saint Paul students are attending part time.

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Best for Non-Traditional Students Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Colleges by State

Explore the best for non-traditional students parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools for a specific state in the Plains States region.

State Degrees Awarded
Missouri 1,197
Minnesota 931
Kansas 576
South Dakota 204
Iowa 1,568
Nebraska 346
North Dakota 231

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 5,059
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 556
Recreation Administration 164
Outdoor Education 22
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 18

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Parks & Rec

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Administration & Social Service 7,377
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 6,407
Legal Professions 3,072
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 368

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • 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).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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