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2023 Best Colleges in Virginia

65 Colleges
$55,895 Avg Salary*
57% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

There are lots of options to chooose from today when trying to decide which college to attend. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Top Virginia Colleges ranking - to help you make that decision.

After analyzing 65 schools in Virginia, we came up with our list of those that offered the highest quality education. 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.

See what other factors we include in 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

Our analysis found University of Virginia - Main Campus to be the best school for overall quality 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 8,698 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

The 4-year grad rate at the school is 89%. That’s impressive when you compare it to the national rate of 33%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia make an average of $77,048 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of Virginia - Main Campus

#2

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Virginia Tech helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in Virginia. Virginia Tech is a public institution located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 10,192 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 93%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Virginia Tech make an average of $73,159 a year.

Read full report on Virginia Tech

#3

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Washington and Lee University. The school came in at #3 in Virginia on this year’s overall quality ranking. Washington and Lee is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lexington, Virginia. It awarded 703 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

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. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee make an average of $86,020 per year 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. William & Mary is a medium-sized public school situated in Williamsburg, Virginia. It awarded 3,012 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 93%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $64,723 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on William & Mary

#5

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend George Mason University. The school came in at #5 in Virginia on this year’s overall quality ranking. Located in Fairfax, Virginia, the large public school handed out 10,774 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from GMU go into careers with an average salary of $66,148 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on George Mason University

#6

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

James Madison University did quite well in the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #6. JMU is a public institution located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,803 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

With a freshman retention rate of 89%, 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 $61,268 during the early years of their career..

Full James Madison University Report

#7

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

With a ranking of #7, University of Richmond did quite well on the 2023 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 1,275 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

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 $69,310 during the early years of their career..

Full University of Richmond Report

#8

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University landed the #8 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. VCU is located in Richmond, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 7,933 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.6%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from VCU make an average of $50,106 per year during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#9

Shenandoah University

Winchester, Virginia

With a ranking of #9, Shenandoah University did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia list. Shenandoah is a private not-for-profit institution located in Winchester, Virginia. The school has a small population, and it awarded 1,265 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.6%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Shenandoah go into careers with an average salary of $50,385 during the early years of their career.

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#10

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, Virginia

With a ranking of #10, Virginia Military Institute did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia list. Virginia Military Institute is a small public school located in Lexington, Virginia that handed out 413 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

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 VMI make an average of $71,910 a year.

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#11

Northern Virginia Community College

Annandale, Virginia

Northern Virginia Community College did quite well in the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #11. Located in Annandale, Virginia, the large public school handed out 8,894 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Northern Virginia Community College is $47,528 during the early years of their career.

Full Northern Virginia Community College Report

#12

ECPI University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

ECPI University landed the #12 spot on the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. ECPI University is a private for-profit institution located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 4,403 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from ECPI University make an average of $36,822 per year during the early years of their career.

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#13

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Liberty University is a large private not-for-profit school situated in Lynchburg, Virginia. It awarded 24,308 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Liberty University make an average of $42,394 a year.

Read full report on Liberty University

#14

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

With a ranking of #14, Old Dominion University did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia list. This large public school is located in Norfolk, Virginia, and it awarded 5,429 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion go into careers with an average salary of $49,678 during the early years of their career.

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#15

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

With a ranking of #15, Christopher Newport University did quite well on the 2023 Best Colleges 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 1,285 students in 2020-2021.

The student loan default rate at the school is 0.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from CNU make an average of $55,027 a year.

Read full report on Christopher Newport University

#16

Randolph - Macon College

Ashland, Virginia

Randolph - Macon College came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Randolph - Macon is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Ashland, Virginia. It awarded 400 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

With a freshman retention rate of 87%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Randolph - Macon go into careers with an average salary of $53,288 during the early years of their career.

Full Randolph - Macon College Report

#17

Roanoke College

Salem, Virginia

Roanoke College came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking.Salem, Virginia is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 458 students in 2020-2021.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.6%, 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 $50,770 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on Roanoke College

#18

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, Virginia

University of Mary Washington ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. University of Mary Washington is a small public school located in Fredericksburg, Virginia that handed out 1,268 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UMW is $54,819 during the early years of their career.

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#19

University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia

University of Lynchburg ranked #19 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and it awarded 991 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

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%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $49,490 during the early years of their career..

Full University of Lynchburg Report

#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 1,072 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2020-2021.

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 Marymount go into careers with an average salary of $60,360 during the early years of their career.

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#21

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Radford University came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking. Radford is located in Radford, Virginia and has a medium-sized student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 2,336 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Radford is $50,383 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Radford University

#22

Richard Bland College of William and Mary

South Prince George, Virginia

Richard Bland College of William and Mary came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Virginia ranking.South Prince George, Virginia is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 194 students in 2020-2021.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from RBC is $38,074 during the early years of their career.

Full Richard Bland College of William and Mary Report

#23

Eastern Mennonite University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Eastern Mennonite University ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. Eastern Mennonite is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It awarded 364 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

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%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $42,697 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on Eastern Mennonite University

#24

Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

Hampton University did quite well in the 2023 Best Colleges in Virginia ranking, coming in at #24. Hampton University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Hampton, Virginia that handed out 868 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $52,372 during the early years of their career..

Read More…

#25

Strayer University - Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Strayer University - Virginia ranked #25 on this year’s Best Colleges in Virginia list. Strayer University - Virginia is a small private for-profit school located in Arlington, Virginia that handed out 1,291 bachelor’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $43,590 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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