New Jersey’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 New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Best Private Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in New Jersey

Nearly half of the colleges and universities in this state are private, and tuition rates range from $6,000 to $52,000. With a graduation rate of 97% and a student population of just over 7,000, Princeton University is the state’s most esteemed institution. Narrowing in on the sciences and arts, this Ivy League school offers unique areas of study, including robotics, intelligent systems, and public life. The remaining 31 public colleges and universities range in tuition from $4,000 to $17,000.

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The state’s largest and top-ranked public research institution is Rutgers University. With campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden as well as smaller locations across the state, Rutgers awards degrees in physics, economics, criminal justice, and psychology. New Jersey also has 11 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, including the oldest diocesan university in the United States, Seton Hall University. This Roman Catholic university has a tuition rate of $42,000 and a student population of over 8,000.

New Jersey, known for its sandy shores and busy expressways, also has more diners than any other state in the U.S., as well as the world’s longest boardwalk, located in Atlantic City. Many influential people, including Buzz Aldrin, Frank Sinatra, and Thomas Edison, have called The Garden State home. Visitors can even peek at some of Edison’s early light bulbs at the Menlo Park Museum. And with 50 higher learning institutions to choose from, students can find a school that suits their career path and budget.

Learn more about earning your degree from one of New Jersey’s highly regarded colleges and universities.


What are New Jersey’s Colleges & Universities?

New Jersey’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 15 private universities in New Jersey; 9 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the 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 New Jersey'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.

9 Best Private Colleges & Universities in New Jersey

  1. #1

    Princeton University

    #11 institution's historical influence
    #5 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    Princeton, NJ

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    What is Princeton University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Drew University

    #870 institution's historical influence
    #589 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    2K

    Madison, NJ

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    What is Drew University known for?

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

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    Stevens Institute of Technology

    #408 institution's historical influence
    #213 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1420/32

    Hoboken, NJ

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    What is Stevens Institute of Technology known for?

    Stevens Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Seton Hall University

    #525 institution's historical influence
    #691 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/26

    South Orange, NJ

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    What is Seton Hall University known for?

    Seton Hall University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

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  5. #5

    Saint Peter's University

    #1695 institution's historical influence
    #345 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/20

    Jersey City, NJ

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    What is Saint Peter's University known for?

    Saint Peter's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Monmouth University

    #1607 institution's historical influence
    #450 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    West Long Branch, NJ

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    What is Monmouth University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
  7. #7

    Caldwell University

    #5903 institution's historical influence
    #311 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    Caldwell, NJ

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    What is Caldwell University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
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  8. #8

    Rider University

    #1750 institution's historical influence
    #515 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    Lawrenceville, NJ

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    What is Rider University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    Centenary University

    #7638 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1043/20

    Hackettstown, NJ

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    What is Centenary University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

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