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2022 Best Colleges in Virginia

73 Colleges
$50,208 Avg Salary*
52% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

There are lots of options to chooose from today when trying to decide which college to attend. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Top Virginia Schools ranking is part of that endeavor.

We analyzed 73 colleges and universities across Virginia 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.

Custom Rankings

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.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in Virginia

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia - Main Campus tops this year’s ranking as the best school in Virginia for overall quality.Charlottesville, Virginia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 8,198 students in 2019-2020.

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% During the early years of their career, graduates from University of Virginia make an average of $61,200 a year.

Full University of Virginia - Main Campus Report

#2

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

Out of the 73 schools in Virginia that were part of this year’s ranking, Washington and Lee University landed the #2 spot on the list. Washington and Lee University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Lexington, Virginia that handed out 728 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school boasts an average 4-year graduation rate of 88%, which is excellent when compared to the national rate of 33%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee go into careers with an average salary of $76,100 during the early years of their career.

Full Washington and Lee University Report

#3

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Virginia Tech helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in Virginia. Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 9,350 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, 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 $62,500 during the early years of their career..

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#4

William & Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend William & Mary. The school came in at #4 in Virginia on this year’s overall quality ranking. This medium-sized public school is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, and it awarded 2,980 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The low student loan default rate of 1.0% 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% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $58,500 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on William & Mary

#5

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

A rank of #5 on our Best Colleges in Virginia list means James Madison University is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. This large public school is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and it awarded 5,705 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.3%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from JMU is $56,600 during the early years of their career.

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#6

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

University of Richmond ranked #6 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. URichmond is a private not-for-profit institution located in University of Richmond, Virginia. The school has a small population, and it awarded 1,247 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from URichmond go into careers with an average salary of $64,500 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of Richmond

#7

Northern Virginia Community College

Annandale, Virginia

Northern Virginia Community College did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #7. Located in Annandale, Virginia, the large public school awarded 5,170 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Northern Virginia Community College make an average of $42,000 a year.

Read full report on Northern Virginia Community College

#8

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia

Virginia Military Institute ranked #8 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. Located in Lexington, Virginia, the small public school awarded 383 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from VMI make an average of $65,700 a year.

Read full report on Virginia Military Institute

#9

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

With a ranking of #9, George Mason University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia list.Fairfax, Virginia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 9,666 students in 2019-2020.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from GMU make an average of $59,900 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on George Mason University

#10

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

Christopher Newport University landed the #10 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. This small public school is located in Newport News, Virginia, and it awarded 1,248 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The low student loan default rate of 1.3% 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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from CNU make an average of $46,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#11

Randolph - Macon College

Ashland, Virginia

Randolph - Macon College ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. Located in Ashland, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 400 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Randolph - Macon make an average of $49,100 a year.

Read full report on Randolph - Macon College

#12

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, Virginia

University of Mary Washington came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. University of Mary Washington is a small public school located in Fredericksburg, Virginia that handed out 1,277 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.0%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $51,400 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on University of Mary Washington

#13

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #13.Richmond, Virginia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 7,264 students in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from VCU make an average of $44,000 a year.

Full Virginia Commonwealth University Report

#14

Shenandoah University

Winchester, Virginia

With a ranking of #14, Shenandoah University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia list. Shenandoah is located in Winchester, Virginia and has a small student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 1,016 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The low student loan default rate of 3.9% 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 Shenandoah go into careers with an average salary of $45,800 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Shenandoah University

#15

Hampden - Sydney College

Hampden-Sydney, Virginia

Hampden - Sydney College came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Hampden - Sydney is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia. It awarded 242 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Hampden - Sydney go into careers with an average salary of $52,200 during the early years of their career.

Full Hampden - Sydney College Report

#16

Roanoke College

Salem, Virginia

Roanoke College came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in Salem, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 479 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

The low student loan default rate of 3.5% 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% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Roanoke is $44,700 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Roanoke College

#17

Longwood University

Farmville, Virginia

Longwood University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Longwood University is a small public school located in Farmville, Virginia that handed out 1,006 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $41,500 during the early years of their career..

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#18

Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

Hampton University landed the #18 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in Hampton, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 959 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Hampton go into careers with an average salary of $44,700 during the early years of their career.

Full Hampton University Report

#19

Richard Bland College of William and Mary

South Prince George, Virginia

Richard Bland College of William and Mary came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. RBC is located in South Prince George, Virginia and has a small student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 215 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from RBC go into careers with an average salary of $33,500 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Richard Bland College of William and Mary

#20

Marymount University

Arlington, Virginia

Marymount University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 1,015 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.4%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Marymount go into careers with an average salary of $53,600 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Marymount University

#21

Eastern Mennonite University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Eastern Mennonite University came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Eastern Mennonite is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It awarded 483 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite make an average of $40,300 per year during the early years of their career.

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#22

Rappahannock Community College

Glenns, Virginia

Rappahannock Community College did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #22. Rappahannock Community College is a small public school located in Glenns, Virginia that handed out 348 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from RCC go into careers with an average salary of $27,900 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#23

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

With a ranking of #23, Old Dominion University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia list. Old Dominion is a public institution located in Norfolk, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,205 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Old Dominion make an average of $43,700 a year.

Full Old Dominion University Report

#24

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

With a ranking of #24, Radford University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia list. Located in Radford, Virginia, the fairly large public school awarded 2,445 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Radford make an average of $43,000 a year.

Full Radford University Report

#25

Strayer University - Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Strayer University - Virginia did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #25. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the small private for-profit school handed out 1,374 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Strayer University - Virginia make an average of $45,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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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.

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