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2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia

41 Colleges
$25,612 Avg Cost*
4.3 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Best Value Virginia Schools ranking is part of that endeavor.

After analyzing 41 schools, we came up with our list of those that were the best for overall value in Virginia. This ranking isn't just a listing of 'cheap' schools. Instead, it is noting which schools offer a high quality education for a reasonable price. Thus, one college may rank better than another, but the second school could have a lower average cost.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

To calculate the average cost amount, we sum up the total expenses to attend a school - such as tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other living expenses - and then subtract the average financial aid award a student receives. So it is an approximation of how much you will have to pay out-of-pocket each year on average.

Customizing Your List

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as overall quality or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges for the Money in Virginia

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar, Virginia

Sweet Briar College tops this year’s ranking as the best school for overall value in Virginia. Sweet Briar is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Sweet Briar, Virginia. It awarded 29 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Sweet Briar graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $13,914. 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 Sweet Briar is $56,630. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 5 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors.

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#2

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

A rank of #2 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list means Virginia Tech is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Virginia Tech is a large public school situated in Blacksburg, Virginia. It awarded 7,156 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Virginia Tech to complete their degree, and it costs about $22,968 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 Virginia Tech is $98,073. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.6% 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%. Virginia Tech also took the #5 spot in our Best Colleges in Virginia rankings.

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#3

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Virginia Military Institute. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia list. Located in Lexington, Virginia, the small public school handed out 363 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at VMI about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,961. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from VMI is about $92,675. 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%. In addition to its great value ranking, VMI is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Virginia list.

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#4

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

Out of the 41 schools in Virginia that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Virginia - Main Campus landed the #4 spot on the list. University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,167 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at University of Virginia about 4.1 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,970. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia be around $105,438. 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 1.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. University of Virginia not only placed well in our value rankings, but it is also #2 on our Best Colleges in Virginia list.

Full University of Virginia - Main Campus Report

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#5

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

A rank of #5 on our Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list means College of William and Mary is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. William & Mary is a public institution located in Williamsburg, Virginia. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 2,072 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at William & Mary to complete their degree, and it costs about $29,575 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the William & Mary is $120,370. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.4% 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%. William & Mary also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges in Virginia rankings.

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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. JMU is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 4,665 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at JMU about 4.3 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,733. This means that the average student pays around $110,909 to get a bachelor’s degree from JMU. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. In addition to its great value ranking, JMU is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Virginia list.

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Jefferson College of Health Sciences ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Located in Roanoke, Virginia, the small public school awarded 255 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Jefferson College of Health Sciences to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $14,386. This means that the average student pays around $60,565 to get a bachelor’s degree from Jefferson College of Health Sciences. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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.

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#8

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

George Mason University ranked #8 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. GMU is located in Fairfax, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,866 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at GMU is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $25,578. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from GMU is $112,287. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 88%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great value ranking, GMU is in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges in Virginia list.

Full George Mason University Report

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#9

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

With a ranking of #9, Radford University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. This fairly large public school is located in Radford, Virginia, and it awarded 1,910 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Radford, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,900. 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 Radford is $86,565. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#10

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

Christopher Newport University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #10. 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 $28,435. 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 CNU is $118,005. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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%. CNU also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in Virginia list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

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#11

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Located in Richmond, Virginia, the large public school handed out 5,372 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at VCU to complete their degree, and it costs about $27,338 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from VCU be around $120,287. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The low student loan default rate of 4.1% 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%.

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#12

Longwood University

Farmville, Virginia

Longwood University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Located in Farmville, Virginia, the small public school awarded 996 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Longwood to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $24,773. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Longwood be around $105,285. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The low student loan default rate of 4.2% 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%.

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#13

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, Virginia

University of Mary Washington did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #13. UMW is a public institution located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The school has a small population, and it awarded 1,087 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at UMW to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $25,432. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UMW is $104,780. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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%.

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#14

Hollins University

Roanoke, Virginia

Hollins University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Located in Roanoke, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 178 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Hollins graduates in less than 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,896. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Hollins is $105,397. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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#15

Randolph - Macon College

Ashland, Virginia

Randolph - Macon College landed the #15 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in Ashland, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 386 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Randolph - Macon, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $30,951. This means that the average student pays around $125,971 to get a bachelor’s degree from Randolph - Macon. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 4.3% 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%.

Full Randolph - Macon College Report

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#16

Virginia State University

Petersburg, Virginia

With a ranking of #16, Virginia State University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. This small public school is located in Petersburg, Virginia, and it awarded 672 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Virginia State graduates in less than 4.6 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $15,310. 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 Virginia State is $70,426. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#17

Emory and Henry College

Emory, Virginia

Emory and Henry College ranked #17 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Emory & Henry College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Emory, Virginia. It awarded 249 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Emory & Henry College about 4.2 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $25,081. This means that the average student pays around $106,093 to get a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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The University of Virginia’s College at Wise ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. UVa - Wise is a small public school situated in Wise, Virginia. It awarded 266 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.6 years for the average student at UVa - Wise to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,193. 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 UVa - Wise is $88,288. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#19

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, Virginia

With a ranking of #19, Bridgewater College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Bridgewater is a private not-for-profit institution located in Bridgewater, Virginia. The school has a small population, and it awarded 415 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Bridgewater, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and it costs about $26,695 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater is $109,183. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Full Bridgewater College Report

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#20

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

University of Richmond ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. University of Richmond is a small private not-for-profit school located in University of Richmond, Virginia that handed out 1,005 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at U of Richmond graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $44,806. 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 U of Richmond is $182,360. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. U of Richmond also made our Best Colleges in Virginia list, coming in at #3.

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#21

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Old Dominion University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #21. Old Dominion is located in Norfolk, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 3,987 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at Old Dominion about 4.6 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $22,652. This means that the average student pays around $103,746 to get a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#22

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

Washington and Lee University came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Washington and Lee is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lexington, Virginia. It awarded 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 $49,820. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee be around $201,273. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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. Washington and Lee also took the #1 spot in our Best Colleges in Virginia rankings.

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#23

Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Regent University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia ranking. Regent is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It awarded 705 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Regent graduates in less than 4.4 years, and it costs about $24,142 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Regent is $105,983. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#24

Norfolk State University

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk State University landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in Norfolk, Virginia, the medium-sized public school awarded 612 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Norfolk State graduates in less than 4.9 years, and it costs about $17,396 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Norfolk State is $85,066. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Full Norfolk State University Report

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#25

Randolph College

Lynchburg, Virginia

With a ranking of #25, Randolph College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Virginia list. Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 144 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Randolph, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and it costs about $32,400 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 Randolph is $133,164. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount 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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