Indiana’s Best Private Colleges and Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Indiana.

Indiana’s Best Private Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Indiana

Among Indiana’s schools are some well-known colleges and universities, including the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and Butler University. While tuition and student population vary greatly among these schools, each boasts a high graduation rate. The state’s largest public university, Indiana University Bloomington, also notes a high graduation rate for its roughly 40,000 students and offers tuition just above the national average at $11,000.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Additionally, students hoping to attend a school with a religious affiliation have nearly 30 options to choose from. Students at these schools can study areas like engineering, business, philosophy, religious studies, and law. Indiana offers loan forgiveness programs for health care workers who work in areas with labor shortages as well as for lawyers providing public legal aid. Additionally, graduates of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law pursuing public interest law can apply for a special grant program that will help cover the cost of preparing and sitting for the bar exam.

With town names like Popcorn and Santa Claus, it is clear Indiana is no stranger to a good time. Along with these unique towns, Indiana also hosts the Indianapolis 500, a long-distance auto race; boasts a thriving art scene; and has been home to iconic celebrities, including Larry Bird, James Dean, and David Letterman. Students wanting to experience all Indiana has to offer while studying have the option of attending one of Indiana’s more than 50 higher education institutes.

Explore Indiana’s more than 50 colleges and universities to find a program and future career path that’s right for you.

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What are Indiana’s Colleges & Universities?

Indiana’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 28 private universities in Indiana; 22 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 20 best private universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

How do we determine Indiana's best private colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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20 Best Private Colleges & Universities in Indiana

  1. #1

    University of Notre Dame

    #87 institution's historical influence
    #23 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    19%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1475/33

    Notre Dame, IN

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    What is University of Notre Dame known for?

    University of Notre Dame’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    DePauw University

    #362 institution's historical influence
    #716 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/26

    Greencastle, IN

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    What is DePauw University known for?

    DePauw University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Earlham College

    #795 institution's historical influence
    #963 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Richmond, IN

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    What is Earlham College known for?

    Earlham College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Hanover College

    #1549 institution's historical influence
    #258 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    Hanover, IN

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    What is Hanover College known for?

    Hanover College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Goshen College

    #1645 institution's historical influence
    #1329 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1108/25

    Goshen, IN

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    What is Goshen College known for?

    Goshen College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Wabash College

    #911 institution's historical influence
    #1280 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

    Crawfordsville, IN

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    What is Wabash College known for?

    Wabash College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
  7. #7

    Valparaiso University

    #784 institution's historical influence
    #832 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Valparaiso, IN

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    What is Valparaiso University known for?

    Valparaiso University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #8

    University of Evansville

    #1394 institution's historical influence
    #421 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1189/26

    Evansville, IN

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    What is University of Evansville known for?

    University of Evansville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • History
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    Butler University

    #881 institution's historical influence
    #436 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/27

    Indianapolis, IN

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    What is Butler University known for?

    Butler University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Political Science
  10. #10

    Indiana Wesleyan University

    #1891 institution's historical influence
    #1088 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    Marion, IN

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    What is Indiana Wesleyan University known for?

    Indiana Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Saint Mary's College

    #1674 institution's historical influence
    #1006 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/25

    Notre Dame, IN

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    What is Saint Mary's College known for?

    Saint Mary's College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    REQUEST INFO
  12. #12

    Taylor University

    #2097 institution's historical influence
    #1228 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Upland, IN

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    What is Taylor University known for?

    Taylor University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Engineering
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Manchester University

    #946 institution's historical influence
    #245 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    North Manchester, IN

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    What is Manchester University known for?

    Manchester University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Communications
  14. #14

    University of Indianapolis

    #3363 institution's historical influence
    #473 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Indianapolis, IN

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    What is University of Indianapolis known for?

    University of Indianapolis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    REQUEST INFO
  15. #15

    Franklin College

    #2531 institution's historical influence
    #409 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Franklin, IN

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    What is Franklin College known for?

    Franklin College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Grace College & Seminary

    #3184 institution's historical influence
    #885 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Winona Lake, IN

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    What is Grace College & Seminary known for?

    Grace College & Seminary’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Huntington University

    #5529 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1057/21

    Huntington, IN

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    What is Huntington University known for?

    Huntington University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Trine University

    #2706 institution's historical influence
    #440 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    Angola, IN

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    What is Trine University known for?

    Trine University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    REQUEST INFO
  19. #19

    Marian University

    #4026 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Indianapolis, IN

    View profile

    What is Marian University known for?

    Marian University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #20

    University of Saint Francis

    #9777 institution's historical influence
    #648 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1059/21

    Fort Wayne, IN

    View profile

    What is University of Saint Francis known for?

    University of Saint Francis ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

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Photo By: Michael Fernandes - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0