Oregon’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Oregon 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.

Oregon’s Best Small 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


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How do we determine Oregon'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 Oregon is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 15 small colleges in Oregon, 14 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best small colleges in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must have a student body of 5,000 or fewer students.

Best Small 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

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    Southern Oregon University

    #2006 institution's historical influence
    #781 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    Ashland, OR

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    What is Southern Oregon University known for?

    Southern Oregon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Eastern Oregon University

    #3473 institution's historical influence
    #398 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1037/20

    La Grande, OR

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    What is Eastern Oregon University known for?

    Eastern Oregon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Oregon Institute of Technology

    #3532 institution's historical influence
    #1368 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    Klamath Falls, OR

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    What is Oregon Institute of Technology known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Social Work
  10. #10

    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
  11. #11

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #12

    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

  13. #13

    Western Oregon University

    #2940 institution's historical influence
    #661 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/20

    Monmouth, OR

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    What is Western Oregon University known for?

    Western Oregon University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Economics
  14. #14

    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

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