Kansas’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Kansas are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

Kansas’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Kansas

Beyond the 23 community and technical colleges, Kansas also has nine public universities, the largest being the University of Kansas (KU) with over 28,000 students. The school’s main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas, but there are four other locations where students can attend KU classes: Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. Kansas is also home to 22 private higher education institutions, with tuition ranging from $7,000 to $31,000.

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In addition, students can choose from one of 18 religiously affiliated schools, including Newman University, Wichita — a Catholic liberal arts university serving the state’s largest private school student population at just over 2,000. Just under the national tuition average at $9,230, Kansas is also an affordable state in which to earn your degree. The state awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in common fields of study, like economics, nursing, business, and education. Specialized degrees include aerospace engineering at the University of Kansas and agribusiness from Kansas State University. Those in the medical and health fields can check out loan forgiveness programs, such as the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, which awards up to $50,000, tax free, for those who serve two years at an approved site.

Arguably, it was the 1939 cinema classic, The Wizard of Oz, that put Kansas on the map. But The Sunflower State is also known for its mouth-watering barbecue, open plains, and vast sunflower fields. Prospective students can also choose from 50 colleges and universities across this Midwestern state.

See what Kansas has to offer by checking out the top programs and career paths available.


What are Kansas’s Colleges & Universities?

Kansas’s Best Overall


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How do we determine Kansas's best small 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.

The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Kansas is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 19 small colleges in Kansas, 16 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best small colleges in the state satisfies the following five conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a wide varietry of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a student body of 5,000 or fewer students.
  5. It must have a graduation rate above 30%.

Best Small Colleges & Universities in Kansas

  1. #1

    Friends University

    #1953 institution's historical influence
    #231 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/22

    Wichita, KS

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    What is Friends University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    MidAmerica Nazarene University

    #8220 institution's historical influence
    #1454 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    Olathe, KS

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    What is MidAmerica Nazarene University known for?

    MidAmerica Nazarene University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Southwestern College

    #3067 institution's historical influence
    #974 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/21

    Winfield, KS

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    What is Southwestern College known for?

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

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Business
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Ottawa University

    #2527 institution's historical influence
    #1428 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    975/19

    Ottawa, KS

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    What is Ottawa University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
  5. #5

    Baker University

    #1532 institution's historical influence
    #947 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Baldwin City, KS

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    What is Baker University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Washburn University

    #710 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    4K

    Topeka, KS

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    What is Washburn University known for?

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

    • Law
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
  7. #7

    Bethel College

    #4922 institution's historical influence
    #1200 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    North Newton, KS

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    What is Bethel College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Benedictine College

    #2398 institution's historical influence
    #389 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/24

    Atchison, KS

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    What is Benedictine College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Kansas Wesleyan University

    #3888 institution's historical influence
    #1153 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1041/21

    Salina, KS

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    What is Kansas Wesleyan University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Tabor College

    #5822 institution's historical influence
    #1028 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    Hillsboro, KS

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    What is Tabor College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    McPherson College

    #5121 institution's historical influence
    #1184 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    McPherson, KS

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    What is McPherson College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Emporia State University

    #1376 institution's historical influence
    #1371 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1002/22

    Emporia, KS

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    What is Emporia State University known for?

    Emporia State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Sterling College

    #9835 institution's historical influence
    #1383 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/20

    Sterling, KS

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    What is Sterling College known for?

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

    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  14. #14

    Newman University, Wichita

    #5261 institution's historical influence
    #1055 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1087/21

    Wichita, KS

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    What is Newman University, Wichita known for?

    Newman University, Wichita’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • History
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Bethany College

    #6050 institution's historical influence
    #290 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    Lindsborg, KS

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    What is Bethany College known for?

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

    • History
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    University of Saint Mary

    #9200 institution's historical influence
    #1399 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    Leavenworth, KS

    View profile

    What is University of Saint Mary known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

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