Best Small Colleges in West Virginia 2024

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Small colleges in West Virginia 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.

10 Best Small Colleges in West Virginia 2024

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  1. West Virginia State University
  2. University of Charleston
  3. West Liberty University
  4. Fairmont State University
  5. Bethany College
  6. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  7. Shepherd University
  8. Bluefield State University
  9. Potomac State College of West Virginia University
  10. Concord University
  1. West Virginia State University
  2. University of Charleston
  3. Bethany College
  4. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  5. Fairmont State University
  6. West Liberty University
  7. Potomac State College of West Virginia University
  8. Shepherd University
  9. Concord University
  10. West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  1. Fairmont State University 99%
  2. West Virginia State University 97%
  3. Bluefield State University 97%
  4. Concord University 96%
  5. Shepherd University 96%
  6. Ohio Valley University 95%
  7. West Virginia Wesleyan College 84%
  8. Wheeling University 78%
  9. Davis & Elkins College 78%
  10. Bethany College 74%
  1. Salem University 20 to 1
  2. Potomac State College of West Virginia University 18 to 1
  3. Glenville State University 17 to 1
  4. University of Charleston 16 to 1
  5. Concord University 16 to 1
  6. Fairmont State University 15 to 1
  7. West Virginia University at Parkersburg 15 to 1
  8. Alderson Broaddus University 14 to 1
  9. Bluefield State University 14 to 1
  10. Shepherd University 14 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. West Liberty University $8,354
  10. West Virginia State University $8,308
  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. Concord University $8,730
  8. West Virginia State University $8,636
  9. Shepherd University $8,298
  10. Ohio Valley University $7,470
  1. Glenville State University
  2. Davis & Elkins College
  3. Wheeling University
  4. Ohio Valley University
  5. Salem University
  6. West Virginia University at Parkersburg
  7. Alderson Broaddus University
  8. West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  9. Concord University
  10. Potomac State College of West Virginia University
  1. Glenville State University
  2. Davis & Elkins College
  3. Ohio Valley University
  4. Salem University
  5. Bluefield State University
  6. Wheeling University
  7. West Virginia University at Parkersburg
  8. Alderson Broaddus University
  9. West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  10. Concord University
  1. West Virginia University Institute of Technology 66%
  2. Alderson Broaddus University 67%
  3. University of Charleston 70%
  4. West Liberty University 74%
  5. Bethany College 74%
  6. Davis & Elkins College 78%
  7. Wheeling University 78%
  8. West Virginia Wesleyan College 84%
  9. Ohio Valley University 95%
  10. Shepherd University 96%
  1. Ohio Valley University 9 to 1
  2. West Liberty University 11 to 1
  3. Bethany College 11 to 1
  4. Wheeling University 12 to 1
  5. Davis & Elkins College 12 to 1
  6. West Virginia Wesleyan College 12 to 1
  7. West Virginia State University 12 to 1
  8. West Virginia University Institute of Technology 13 to 1
  9. Alderson Broaddus University 14 to 1
  10. Bluefield State University 14 to 1
  1. West Virginia University at Parkersburg $3,840
  2. Potomac State College of West Virginia University $4,632
  3. Shepherd University $5,790
  4. Fairmont State University $5,946
  5. West Virginia University Institute of Technology $7,728
  6. Glenville State University $7,886
  7. Bluefield State University $8,084
  8. Concord University $8,130
  9. West Virginia State University $8,308
  10. West Liberty University $8,354
  1. Fairmont State University $5,946
  2. West Liberty University $6,786
  3. Ohio Valley University $7,470
  4. Shepherd University $8,298
  5. West Virginia State University $8,636
  6. Concord University $8,730
  7. Wheeling University $9,900
  8. Bethany College $9,900
  9. West Virginia Wesleyan College $11,872
  10. Salem University $13,464

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

West Virginia's Best Small Colleges and Universities Badge
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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in West Virginia is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 18 small colleges in West Virginia. The list below of the best small colleges in West Virginia. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

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Best Small Colleges in West Virginia 2023

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/19

    Career Outlook for degree at West Virginia State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,431
    Expenses: $16,615
    Starting Salary: $33,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    West Virginia State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 35
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    RBA in Regents Bachelor Of Arts
    • 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

    West Liberty University

    West Liberty , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/20

    Career Outlook for degree at West Liberty University

    Cost of Degree: $8,716
    Expenses: $15,789
    Starting Salary: $39,500
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is West Liberty University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    West Liberty University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Fairmont State University

    Cost of Degree: $8,008
    Expenses: $13,022
    Starting Salary: $38,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Fairmont State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    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
  6. 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
  7. #7

    Shepherd University

    Shepherdstown , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    5K

    Career Outlook for degree at Shepherd University

    Cost of Degree: $8,282
    Expenses: $14,862
    Starting Salary: $43,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Shepherd University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Bluefield State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,840
    Expenses: $16,100
    Starting Salary: $31,900
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Bluefield State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Bluefield State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Accounting
    • Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accountancy
    • Required Credits: 150
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 121-122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Forensic Investigation
    • Corrections
    • Law Enforcement
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Middle Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Humanities
    • Required Credits: 81
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Regents Bachelor Of Arts
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Registered Nurse (2+2)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Applied Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Pre-Medicine
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Required Credits: 120-122
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Civil Engineering Technology
    • Required Credits: 89-91
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Engineering Management
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Imaging Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • 2+2 Program
    • Computed Tomography
    • Nuclear Medicine
    • Sonography
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Electrical Engineering Technology
    • Required Credits: 60-64
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Potomac State College of West Virginia University

    Cost of Degree: $4,752
    Expenses: $13,236
    Starting Salary: $52,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 8 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    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:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Potomac State College of West Virginia University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Business
    • Marketing
    • Hospitality And Tourism Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Integrated Marketing Communications
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BMDS in Multidisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    RBA in Regents Bachelor Of Arts
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    Concord University

    Athens , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    930/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Concord University

    Cost of Degree: $9,100
    Expenses: $14,418
    Starting Salary: $35,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Concord University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Concord University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/20

    Career Outlook for degree at West Virginia University Institute of Technology

    Cost of Degree: $7,848
    Expenses: $15,626
    Starting Salary: $52,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is West Virginia University Institute of Technology known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. 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
  13. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at West Virginia University at Parkersburg

    Cost of Degree: $4,132
    Starting Salary: $33,200
    What is West Virginia University at Parkersburg known for?

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

  14. #14

    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
  15. Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    45%

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/20

    What is Ohio Valley University known for?
  16. #16

    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

  17. 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
  18. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Glenville State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,064
    Expenses: $15,158
    Starting Salary: $38,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Glenville State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Glenville State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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West Virginia’s Best Small 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 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. Glenville State University
  3. Concord University
  4. Shepherd University
  5. Davis & Elkins College
  6. Wheeling University
  7. West Virginia Wesleyan College
  8. Alderson Broaddus University
  9. University of Charleston
  10. Ohio Valley University
  11. West Liberty University
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