Oregon’s Best Private Colleges & 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 Oregon.

Oregon’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Oregon

Oregon is home to over 40 higher education institutions, including Oregon State University, the largest in the state. More than 30,000 students are enrolled at this public research institution in Corvallis, and with a tuition of $11,000, the school comes in slightly above the national average. Students attending the next largest, the University of Oregon, will join in on a friendly intrastate rivalry against Oregon State. Though the tuition is higher at $12,000, the school boasts a student–faculty ratio of 16:1.

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Of the 21 private institutions, 10 are religiously based. Concordia University has the largest student population at just under 5,000 and a tuition of $31,000. Students who attend this private Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod university can study fields such as chemistry, psychology, and history. Oregon’s community colleges range in tuition from $4,000 to $6,000. The least expensive four-year institution in the state, Portland State University (PSU), comes in at $8,000. Students attending PSU can study a range of fields, including environmental engineering, film, and international business, right in the heart of the city.

Gaze at the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon Coast Highway, which travels along the entire coastal edge of the state. Taste Pacific Northwest wines from the Willamette Valley, or take a bike ride through the streets of Portland. Students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in The Beaver State can enjoy a great higher education experience set against a stunning natural backdrop.

Discover what Oregon has to offer, and find a college that fits your career interests as well as your budget.


What are Oregon’s Colleges & Universities?

Oregon’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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How do we determine Oregon'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.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 11 private universities in Oregon, all of which satisfy 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 40%.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in Oregon

  1. #1

    Reed College

    #184 institution's historical influence
    #79 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1422/32

    Portland, OR

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    What is Reed College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Lewis & Clark College

    #889 institution's historical influence
    #446 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1310/29

    Portland, OR

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    What is Lewis & Clark College known for?

    Lewis & Clark College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Economics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Willamette University

    #704 institution's historical influence
    #918 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Salem, OR

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    What is Willamette University known for?

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

    • Law
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
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  4. #4

    Pacific University

    #1429 institution's historical influence
    #305 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/23

    Forest Grove, OR

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    What is Pacific University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications
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  5. #5

    Linfield University

    #2223 institution's historical influence
    #461 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    McMinnville, OR

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    What is Linfield University known for?

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

    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    University of Portland

    #1037 institution's historical influence
    #292 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/26

    Portland, OR

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    What is University of Portland known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  7. #7

    George Fox University

    #2502 institution's historical influence
    #976 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Newberg, OR

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    What is George Fox University known for?

    George Fox University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
  8. #8

    Warner Pacific University

    #7779 institution's historical influence
    #598 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Portland, OR

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    What is Warner Pacific University known for?

    Warner Pacific University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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  9. #9

    Corban University

    #6622 institution's historical influence
    #192 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/22

    Salem, OR

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    What is Corban University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Bushnell University

    #8950 institution's historical influence
    #1331 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1081/19

    Eugene, OR

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    What is Bushnell University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Pioneer Pacific College

    #8485 institution's historical influence
    Beaverton, OR

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    What is Pioneer Pacific College known for?

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Photo By: Kkmd at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0