Best Public Colleges in West Virginia 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in West Virginia provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in West Virginia 2022

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 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.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 12 public universities in West Virginia. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in West Virginia, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in West Virginia 2022

  1. #1

    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:

    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    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:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    West Virginia State University

    Institute , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    965/19

    What is West Virginia State University known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Fairmont State University

    Fairmont , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/20

    What is Fairmont State University known for?

    Fairmont State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • History
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Shepherd University

    Shepherdstown , WV
    Other Rankings

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Bluefield State College

    Bluefield , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    880/18

    What is Bluefield State College known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Potomac State College of West Virginia University known for?

    Potomac State College of West Virginia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    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:

    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    What is West Virginia University Institute of Technology known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    2K

    What is West Virginia University at Parkersburg known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Glenville State University

    Glenville , WV

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Glenville State University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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West Virginia’s Best Public College in Your Area of 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 utiulized 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. West Virginia University
  2. Marshall University
  3. West Virginia State University
  4. Glenville State University
  5. Concord University
  6. Shepherd University
  7. West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  8. Fairmont State University
  9. Bluefield State College
  10. West Liberty University

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