West Virginia’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 West Virginia.

West Virginia’s Best Private 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

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 West Virginia's best private 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.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 8 private universities in West Virginia, 7 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 30%.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in West Virginia

  1. 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
  2. #3

    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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. #6

    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
  6. 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

Find West Virginia’s best private school for your interest

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