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2021 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Virginia

41 Colleges
$21,583 Avg Cost (With Aid)*
4.3 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

With all of the options you have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Best Virginia Schools For The Money For Those Getting Aid ranking - to help you make that decision.

Our analysis looked at 41 schools to determine which ones were the best for overall value for the money with aid in Virginia. This ranking doesn't just identify the colleges with the lowest costs. Rather, it highlights those institutions that offer excellent educational experiences for a lower cost than other schools of roughly the same caliber. Because of this, it is possible for one college to rank better than another, even if the latter college has a lower average cost.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

When determining average cost, we look at total expenses, such as tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses, and then deduct the average amount of financial aid awarded to a student. This estimate is meant to give you a better picture of how much money you'll have to pay each year, either through self-pay, loans, or external scholarships.

One Size Does Not Fit All

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors, such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those seeking diversity and overall quality.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. If you're torn between two schools, you can use it to help you see how they stack up against one another!

Top Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Virginia

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

Our analysis found University of Virginia - Main Campus to be the best school for overall value for the money with aid in Virginia in this year’s ranking. University of Virginia is a public institution located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,167 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at University of Virginia graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,020 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia be around $60,981. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. University of Virginia did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #2 on our Best Colleges in Virginia list.

Full University of Virginia - Main Campus Report

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#2

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Virginia Military Institute. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia list. Virginia Military Institute is a small public school located in Lexington, Virginia that handed out 363 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at VMI about 4.2 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $17,846. 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 VMI is $75,310. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, VMI also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges in Virginia ranking.

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#2

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Virginia Tech. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia list. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, the large public school handed out 7,156 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Virginia Tech is 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $18,653. This means that the average student pays around $79,648 to get a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.6%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. Virginia Tech also took the #5 spot in our Best Colleges in Virginia rankings.

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#4

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend College of William and Mary. The school came in at #4 in Virginia on this year’s best value ranking. This medium-sized public school is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, and it awarded 2,072 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at William & Mary about 4.1 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,880 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from William & Mary is about $80,912. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, William & Mary is ranked #4 for overall quality in Virginia.

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#5

Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar, Virginia

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Sweet Briar College helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Virginia. Located in Sweet Briar, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 29 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Sweet Briar about 4.1 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $9,422 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Sweet Briar be around $38,348. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#6

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

With a ranking of #6, James Madison University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. James Madison University is a large public school located in Harrisonburg, Virginia that handed out 4,665 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at JMU about 4.3 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,184 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from JMU is about $91,303. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The low student loan default rate of 2.3% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, JMU also did well on our Best Colleges in Virginia list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#7

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

George Mason University landed the #7 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. GMU is a public institution located in Fairfax, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,866 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At GMU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $21,991 for students who receive aid. 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 GMU is $96,540. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.1%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, GMU also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges in Virginia ranking.

Full George Mason University Report

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#8

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Radford University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Radford is a public institution located in Radford, Virginia. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 1,910 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Radford graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $16,181 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Radford is $70,387. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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With a ranking of #9, Jefferson College of Health Sciences did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Jefferson College of Health Sciences is a small public school situated in Roanoke, Virginia. It awarded 255 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Jefferson College of Health Sciences to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $13,857 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 Jefferson College of Health Sciences is $58,338. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools.

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#10

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University landed the #10 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. VCU is a public institution located in Richmond, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,372 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at VCU is 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $22,932 for students who receive aid. 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 VCU is $100,901. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#11

Longwood University

Farmville, Virginia

Longwood University landed the #11 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Longwood is a small public school situated in Farmville, Virginia. It awarded 996 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Longwood graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $20,862. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Longwood is $88,664. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

Full Longwood University Report

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#12

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

Christopher Newport University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Newport News, Virginia is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,172 students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at CNU about 4.2 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,387 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $105,356 to get a bachelor’s degree from CNU. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

With a freshman retention rate of 88%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in our value rankings, CNU also did well on our Best Colleges in Virginia list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#13

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

Washington and Lee University ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Washington and Lee University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Lexington, Virginia that handed out 564 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Washington and Lee, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $33,087 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $133,671 to get a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Washington and Lee also took the #1 spot in our Best Colleges in Virginia rankings.

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#14

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, Virginia

University of Mary Washington came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. UMW is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,087 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UMW is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,342 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from UMW is about $96,169. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full University of Mary Washington Report

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With a ranking of #15, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. This small public school is located in Wise, Virginia, and it awarded 266 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UVa - Wise is 4.6 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $14,604. This means that the average student pays around $67,178 to get a bachelor’s degree from UVa - Wise. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#16

Hollins University

Roanoke, Virginia

With a ranking of #16, Hollins University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Hollins University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Roanoke, Virginia that handed out 178 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Hollins to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $24,936 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Hollins is $101,490. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#17

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

University of Richmond landed the #17 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in University of Richmond, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 1,005 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At U of Richmond, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $35,106 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from U of Richmond be around $142,881. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, U of Richmond is ranked #3 for overall quality in Virginia.

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#18

Randolph - Macon College

Ashland, Virginia

With a ranking of #18, Randolph - Macon College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Located in Ashland, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 386 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Randolph - Macon graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $30,683 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Randolph - Macon is $124,880. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.3%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#19

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Old Dominion University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #19. Located in Norfolk, Virginia, the large public school handed out 3,987 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Old Dominion about 4.6 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,582 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion is $89,686. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#20

Virginia State University

Petersburg, Virginia

Virginia State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #20. Virginia State is a small public school situated in Petersburg, Virginia. It awarded 672 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Virginia State about 4.6 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $14,483. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State be around $66,622. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#21

Emory and Henry College

Emory, Virginia

Emory and Henry College came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Located in Emory, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 249 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Emory & Henry College to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $24,260. This means that the average student pays around $102,620 to get a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#22

Norfolk State University

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk State University landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Norfolk State is a medium-sized public school situated in Norfolk, Virginia. It awarded 612 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Norfolk State graduates in less than 4.9 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,067 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State is $73,678. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Full Norfolk State University Report

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#23

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, Virginia

Bridgewater College came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Bridgewater is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Bridgewater, Virginia. It awarded 415 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Bridgewater is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $26,429 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Bridgewater is $108,095. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.3%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#24

Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Regent University landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Regent is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 705 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at Regent about 4.4 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $22,913. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Regent is $100,588. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#25

Randolph College

Lynchburg, Virginia

Randolph College ranked #25 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and it awarded 144 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Randolph is 4.1 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $31,860 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Randolph is $130,945. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

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 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).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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