Find Schools

Study Area & Zipcode

Find Schools Near

2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region

434 Colleges
$58,496 Avg Salary*
74% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

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 Top in the Southeast Region Colleges and Universities ranking - to help you make that decision.

We analyzed 434 colleges and universities across the Southeast Region to determine which were the best in terms of overall quality. Instead of depending on subjective information, we focus on over 20 objective factors to determine this ranking. These factors include such things as student-to-faculty ratio, average graduate earnings, and graduation rate.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

One Size Does Not Fit All

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 value or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

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 in the Southeast Region

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Duke University tops this year’s ranking as the best school in the Southeast Region for overall quality. Duke is a private not-for-profit institution located in Durham, North Carolina. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,303 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Duke make an average of $84,400 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Duke University

Request Information
#2

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Vanderbilt University. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, Tennessee and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,280 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1 is a sign that students will have more opportunities to engage with their professors one-on-one. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $69,000 during the early years of their career..

Full Vanderbilt University Report

Request Information
#3

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

Out of the 434 schools in the Southeast Region that were part of this year’s ranking, Washington and Lee University landed the #3 spot on the list. Washington and Lee is located in Lexington, Virginia and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 564 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee is $76,100 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Washington and Lee University

Request Information
#4

Davidson College

Davidson, North Carolina

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Davidson College. The school came in at #4 in the Southeast Region on this year’s overall quality ranking. Davidson College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Davidson, North Carolina that handed out 560 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 95%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. During the early years of their career, graduates from Davidson make an average of $58,900 a year.

Read More…

Request Information
#5

Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

A rank of #5 on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list means Emory University is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and it awarded 2,598 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Emory go into careers with an average salary of $66,000 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Emory University

Request Information
#6

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Wake Forest University landed the #6 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Wake Forest University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It awarded 1,431 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 82%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University is $63,800 during the early years of their career.

Full Wake Forest University Report

Request Information
#7

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia - Main Campus came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the large public school awarded 5,167 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 96%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $61,200 during the early years of their career..

Read More…

Request Information
#8

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

With a ranking of #8, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. UNC Chapel Hill is a public institution located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The school has a large population, and it awarded 6,076 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 81%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. During the early years of their career, graduates from UNC Chapel Hill make an average of $55,600 a year.

Read full report on University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Request Information
#9

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

University of Richmond landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Located in University of Richmond, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 1,005 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from U of Richmond is $64,500 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of Richmond

Request Information
#10

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

College of William and Mary did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #10. 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.

Bachelor’s degree students at the school tend to finish their degree on-time. The 4-year graduation rate is 82%, which is impressive compared to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from William & Mary is $58,500 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on College of William and Mary

Request Information

Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus is a large public school located in Atlanta, Georgia that handed out 3,717 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech make an average of $79,100 per year during the early years of their career.

Read More…

Request Information
#12

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

University of Florida came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. U of F is a large public school situated in Gainesville, Florida. It awarded 9,663 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 96%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $56,000 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on University of Florida

Request Information
#13

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

With a ranking of #13, Virginia Tech did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, the large public school awarded 7,156 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 93%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. During the early years of their career, graduates from Virginia Tech make an average of $62,500 a year.

Read full report on Virginia Tech

Request Information
#14

Elon University

Elon, North Carolina

Elon University landed the #14 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking.Elon, North Carolina is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 1,666 students in 2018-2019.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 79%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Elon is $51,900 during the early years of their career.

Full Elon University Report

Request Information
#15

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

University of Miami landed the #15 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Located in Coral Gables, Florida, the fairly large private not-for-profit school awarded 3,118 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 1.9% 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% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from U Miami go into careers with an average salary of $60,100 during the early years of their career.

Full University of Miami Report

Request Information
#16

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #16. NC State is located in Raleigh, North Carolina and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,953 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from NC State make an average of $52,500 a year.

Read full report on North Carolina State University

Request Information
#17

Tulane University of Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

With a ranking of #17, Tulane University of Louisiana did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Tulane University of Louisiana is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in New Orleans, Louisiana that handed out 2,417 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. During the early years of their career, graduates from Tulane make an average of $61,700 a year.

Read More…

Request Information
#18

Furman University

Greenville, South Carolina

Furman University landed the #18 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Located in Greenville, South Carolina, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 732 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 93%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Furman is $51,200 during the early years of their career.

Full Furman University Report

Request Information
#19

Rhodes College

Memphis, Tennessee

With a ranking of #19, Rhodes College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Rhodes College is a private not-for-profit institution located in Memphis, Tennessee. The school has a small population, and it awarded 561 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.3%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College go into careers with an average salary of $53,600 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

Request Information

Sewanee - The University of the South landed the #20 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Sewanee is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Sewanee, Tennessee. It awarded 432 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.6% 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% During the early years of their career, graduates from Sewanee make an average of $45,500 a year.

Read full report on Sewanee - The University of the South

Request Information
#21

Centre College

Danville, Kentucky

Centre College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #21. Centre College of Kentucky is located in Danville, Kentucky and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 378 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Centre College of Kentucky is $45,500 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

Request Information
#22

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

University of Georgia did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #22. UGA is located in Athens, Georgia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 8,022 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from UGA make an average of $50,500 per year during the early years of their career.

Full University of Georgia Report

Request Information
#23

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

With a ranking of #23, Clemson University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Clemson University is a large public school located in Clemson, South Carolina that handed out 4,676 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Clemson go into careers with an average salary of $52,400 during the early years of their career.

Full Clemson University Report

Request Information
#24

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #24. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, the large public school awarded 9,688 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Florida State make an average of $46,400 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Florida State University

Request Information
#25

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

With a ranking of #25, University of North Carolina School of the Arts did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the small public school awarded 196 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. During the early years of their career, graduates from UNCSA make an average of $35,500 a year.

Read full report on University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Request Information

Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges in the Southeast Region

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia
#27

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia
#28

Wofford College

Spartanburg, South Carolina
#29

Samford University

Birmingham, Alabama
#30

Rollins College

Winter Park, Florida
#31

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama
#33

University of South Carolina - Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina
#34

Spelman College

Atlanta, Georgia
#37

Transylvania University

Lexington, Kentucky
#38

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia
#39

Berry College

Mount Berry, Georgia
#40

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
#41

Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas
#43

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia
#44

Covenant College

Lookout Mountain, Georgia
#45

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
#48

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida
#49

Agnes Scott College

Decatur, Georgia
#50

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

View Best Colleges Nationwide >

Rest of the Top 15% Colleges in the Southeast Region

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank College Location
51 Belmont University Nashville, TN
52 Mercer University Macon, GA
53 Randolph - Macon College Ashland, VA
54 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
55 Eckerd College Saint Petersburg, FL
56 Union University Jackson, TN
57 Presbyterian College Clinton, SC
58 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
59 Harding University Searcy, AR
60 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
61 New College of Florida Sarasota, FL
62 Lipscomb University Nashville, TN
63 Millsaps College Jackson, MS
64 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
65 Roanoke College Salem, VA
Rank College Location

All Majors and Fields of Study >

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges ranking:

Rank College Location
66 Berea College Berea, KY
67 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
68 University of Mississippi University, MS
69 Stetson University DeLand, FL
70 Hampden - Sydney College Hampden-Sydney, VA
71 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY
72 High Point University High Point, NC
73 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord, NC
74 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
75 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
76 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
77 Birmingham Southern College Birmingham, AL
78 College of Charleston Charleston, SC
79 John Brown University Siloam Springs, AR
80 Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL
Rank College Location
81 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
82 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville, GA
83 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
84 Meredith College Raleigh, NC
85 Longwood University Farmville, VA
86 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are 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 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.

Featured Schools

Find Schools Near You