Best Private Colleges in West Virginia 2024

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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.

Best Private Colleges in West Virginia

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  1. American Public University System
  2. University of Charleston
  3. Bethany College
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  5. Alderson Broaddus University
  6. Salem University
  7. Ohio Valley University
  8. Wheeling University
  9. Davis & Elkins College
  1. University of Charleston
  2. Bethany College
  3. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  4. American Public University System
  5. Alderson Broaddus University
  6. Wheeling University
  7. Salem University
  8. Ohio Valley University
  9. Davis & Elkins College
  1. Ohio Valley University 95%
  2. West Virginia Wesleyan College 84%
  3. Wheeling University 78%
  4. Davis & Elkins College 78%
  5. Bethany College 74%
  6. University of Charleston 70%
  7. Alderson Broaddus University 67%
  1. American Public University System 23 to 1
  2. Salem University 20 to 1
  3. University of Charleston 16 to 1
  4. Alderson Broaddus University 14 to 1
  5. Wheeling University 12 to 1
  6. Davis & Elkins College 12 to 1
  7. West Virginia Wesleyan College 12 to 1
  8. Bethany College 11 to 1
  9. Ohio Valley University 9 to 1
  1. West Virginia Wesleyan College $32,612
  2. Bethany College $31,600
  3. University of Charleston $31,350
  4. Alderson Broaddus University $30,020
  5. Davis & Elkins College $29,960
  6. Wheeling University $29,290
  7. Ohio Valley University $22,400
  8. Salem University $12,750
  9. American Public University System $7,360
  1. Alderson Broaddus University $29,000
  2. University of Charleston $16,000
  3. Salem University $13,464
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan College $11,872
  5. Wheeling University $9,900
  6. Bethany College $9,900
  7. Ohio Valley University $7,470
  8. American Public University System $6,660
  1. Davis & Elkins College
  2. Wheeling University
  3. Ohio Valley University
  4. Salem University
  5. Alderson Broaddus University
  6. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  7. Bethany College
  8. University of Charleston
  9. American Public University System
  1. Davis & Elkins College
  2. Ohio Valley University
  3. Salem University
  4. Wheeling University
  5. Alderson Broaddus University
  6. American Public University System
  7. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  8. Bethany College
  9. University of Charleston
  1. Alderson Broaddus University 67%
  2. University of Charleston 70%
  3. Bethany College 74%
  4. Davis & Elkins College 78%
  5. Wheeling University 78%
  6. West Virginia Wesleyan College 84%
  7. Ohio Valley University 95%
  1. Ohio Valley University 9 to 1
  2. Bethany College 11 to 1
  3. Wheeling University 12 to 1
  4. Davis & Elkins College 12 to 1
  5. West Virginia Wesleyan College 12 to 1
  6. Alderson Broaddus University 14 to 1
  7. University of Charleston 16 to 1
  8. Salem University 20 to 1
  9. American Public University System 23 to 1
  1. American Public University System $7,360
  2. Salem University $12,750
  3. Ohio Valley University $22,400
  4. Wheeling University $29,290
  5. Davis & Elkins College $29,960
  6. Alderson Broaddus University $30,020
  7. University of Charleston $31,350
  8. Bethany College $31,600
  9. West Virginia Wesleyan College $32,612
  1. American Public University System $6,660
  2. Ohio Valley University $7,470
  3. Wheeling University $9,900
  4. Bethany College $9,900
  5. West Virginia Wesleyan College $11,872
  6. Salem University $13,464
  7. University of Charleston $16,000
  8. Alderson Broaddus University $29,000

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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 the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

West Virginia's Best Private Colleges and Universities Badge
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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 9 private universities in West Virginia. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in West Virginia, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in West Virginia

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    95K

    Career Outlook for degree at American Public University System

    Cost of Degree: $7,360
    Starting Salary: $67,000
    What is American Public University System known for?

    American Public University System’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    American Public University System’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Analytics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Retail Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Reverse Logistics Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sports Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Technical Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Transportation And Logistics Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Data Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Emergency And Disaster Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire Science Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Government Contracting And Acquisition
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Intelligence Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Legal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Security Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Development And Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in International Relations And Global Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Middle Eastern Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Military History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sports And Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Mathematics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Natural Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Space Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    University of Charleston

    Charleston , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1072/21

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Charleston

    Cost of Degree: $21,500
    Expenses: $14,600
    Starting Salary: $46,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Charleston known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Charleston’s Online Degrees

    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSCS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Bethany College

    Bethany , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Bethany College

    Cost of Degree: $32,850
    Expenses: $15,700
    Starting Salary: $44,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/21

    Career Outlook for degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College

    Cost of Degree: $32,976
    Expenses: $15,725
    Starting Salary: $48,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    950/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Alderson Broaddus University

    Cost of Degree: $31,500
    Expenses: $14,737
    Starting Salary: $47,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Alderson Broaddus University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Alderson Broaddus University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn-Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    Salem University

    Salem , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Salem University

    Cost of Degree: $13,150
    Expenses: $11,400
    Starting Salary: $34,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Salem University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Salem University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Applied Management
    • Esports Management
    • Finance
    • Healthcare Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Retail Management
    • Sports & Recreation Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Data Science
    • Software Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cybersecurity
    • Enterprise Network Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Crime Scene Investigation
    • Homeland Security
    • Law Enforcement
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    45%

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/20

    What is Ohio Valley University known for?
  8. #8

    Wheeling University

    Wheeling , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Wheeling University

    Cost of Degree: $29,290
    Expenses: $14,720
    Starting Salary: $49,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Wheeling University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Davis & Elkins College

    Cost of Degree: $30,680
    Expenses: $14,677
    Starting Salary: $40,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Davis & Elkins College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Davis & Elkins College’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 40
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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West Virginia’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Bethany College
  2. Davis & Elkins College
  3. Wheeling University
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  5. Alderson Broaddus University
  6. University of Charleston
  7. Ohio Valley University

Check out our directory of private colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top private schools in every state.

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