West Virginia’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in West Virginia. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

West Virginia’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in West Virginia

West Virginia has 20 public higher education institutions, all at a sticker price of $9,000 or less, making it one of the more affordable states to earn a degree. With over 25,000 students in attendance, West Virginia University is the largest and charges $9,000 in tuition. Aside from the community and state colleges, six other public universities have populations ranging from about 2,100 to just over 10,000, and all schools have a tuition rate of about $8,000.

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The state is also home to 12 private schools, eight of which are religiously affiliated. The University of Charleston is the largest private university, but its student population is still small. About 2,000 students take classes in fields such as chemistry, political science, and history, and the tuition totals $21,000. At $32,000 in tuition and fees, West Virginia Wesleyan College is the most expensive, but its student population is only slightly above 1,300.

As the only state contained entirely within the Appalachian range, West Virginia is rightfully nicknamed The Mountain State. Those who love the outdoors will feel at home hiking through the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve or skiing at Canaan Valley Ski Resort. History buffs can visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, where they can take a walk through life in the 1800s. In addition, the state offers over 30 private and public colleges and universities to those looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Check out the state’s top programs and see why West Virginia could be a good fit for your educational goals and budget.


What are West Virginia’s Colleges & Universities?

West Virginia’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine West Virginia's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

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.


Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in West Virginia for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 20 colleges and universities in West Virginia, 13 satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best schools in the state focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must be a non-profit institution.
  3. It must primarily offer Bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 30%.

Best Colleges & Universities in West Virginia

  1. #2

    West Virginia University

    Morgantown , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    What is West Virginia University known for?

    West Virginia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #3

    Marshall University

    Huntington , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/22

    What is Marshall University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Glenville State College

    Glenville , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Glenville State College known for?

    Glenville State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #5

    Concord University

    Athens , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    What is Concord University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #6

    Shepherd University

    Shepherdstown , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is Shepherd University known for?

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

    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    What is Davis & Elkins College known for?

    Davis & Elkins College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #8

    Wheeling University

    Wheeling , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/20

    What is Wheeling University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    REQUEST INFO
  8. Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    What is West Virginia Wesleyan College known for?

    West Virginia Wesleyan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  9. Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    What is Alderson Broaddus University known for?

    Alderson Broaddus University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Law
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is Ohio Valley University known for?

    Ohio Valley University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #12

    West Liberty University

    West Liberty , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    2K

    What is West Liberty University known for?

    West Liberty University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #13

    University of Charleston

    Charleston , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1041/21

    What is University of Charleston known for?

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

    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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