Best Private Colleges in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.

10 Best Private Colleges in Wisconsin

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  1. Marquette University
  2. Lawrence University
  3. Beloit College
  4. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  5. Carroll University
  6. Concordia University Wisconsin
  7. St. Norbert College
  8. Cardinal Stritch University
  9. Carthage College
  10. Alverno College
  1. Marquette University
  2. Lawrence University
  3. Beloit College
  4. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  5. Carthage College
  6. Carroll University
  7. Concordia University Wisconsin
  8. Ripon College
  9. Edgewood College
  10. St. Norbert College
  1. Wisconsin Lutheran College 98%
  2. Edgewood College 95%
  3. Alverno College 91%
  4. Cardinal Stritch University 89%
  5. Marquette University 86%
  6. St. Norbert College 85%
  7. Ripon College 80%
  8. Lakeland University 80%
  9. Maranatha Baptist University 80%
  10. Viterbo University 77%
  1. Lakeland University 15 to 1
  2. Carroll University 14 to 1
  3. Ripon College 14 to 1
  4. Milwaukee School of Engineering 14 to 1
  5. Marquette University 13 to 1
  6. Carthage College 13 to 1
  7. St. Norbert College 13 to 1
  8. Viterbo University 12 to 1
  9. Wisconsin Lutheran College 12 to 1
  10. Maranatha Baptist University 12 to 1
  1. Beloit College $54,680
  2. Lawrence University $52,401
  3. Ripon College $48,100
  4. Marquette University $45,766
  5. Milwaukee School of Engineering $45,099
  6. St. Norbert College $41,887
  7. Northland College $39,894
  8. Carroll University $35,140
  9. Cardinal Stritch University $34,762
  10. Carthage College $33,000
  1. Carthage College $33,000
  2. Milwaukee School of Engineering $24,057
  3. Marquette University $21,960
  4. Edgewood College $18,936
  5. Mount Mary University $16,882
  6. Carroll University $12,713
  7. Lakeland University $12,366
  8. Concordia University Wisconsin $11,628
  9. Cardinal Stritch University $11,440
  10. Marian University $11,286
  1. Wisconsin Lutheran College
  2. Maranatha Baptist University
  3. Mount Mary University
  4. Lakeland University
  5. Marian University
  6. Northland College
  7. Viterbo University
  8. Ripon College
  9. Edgewood College
  10. Alverno College
  1. Maranatha Baptist University
  2. Wisconsin Lutheran College
  3. Northland College
  4. Marian University
  5. Lakeland University
  6. Mount Mary University
  7. Viterbo University
  8. Cardinal Stritch University
  9. Alverno College
  10. St. Norbert College
  1. Northland College 58%
  2. Mount Mary University 62%
  3. Beloit College 67%
  4. Milwaukee School of Engineering 67%
  5. Concordia University Wisconsin 69%
  6. Carroll University 70%
  7. Lawrence University 75%
  8. Marian University 76%
  9. Carthage College 76%
  10. Viterbo University 77%
  1. Lawrence University 8 to 1
  2. Cardinal Stritch University 9 to 1
  3. Northland College 10 to 1
  4. Beloit College 10 to 1
  5. Alverno College 10 to 1
  6. Mount Mary University 10 to 1
  7. Concordia University Wisconsin 11 to 1
  8. Viterbo University 12 to 1
  9. Wisconsin Lutheran College 12 to 1
  10. Maranatha Baptist University 12 to 1
  1. Maranatha Baptist University $18,050
  2. Marian University $29,130
  3. Viterbo University $29,920
  4. Alverno College $31,258
  5. Lakeland University $31,316
  6. Concordia University Wisconsin $31,952
  7. Edgewood College $32,600
  8. Mount Mary University $32,760
  9. Wisconsin Lutheran College $32,766
  10. Carthage College $33,000
  1. Maranatha Baptist University $7,120
  2. Viterbo University $9,488
  3. Alverno College $9,552
  4. Wisconsin Lutheran College $10,080
  5. St. Norbert College $11,100
  6. Marian University $11,286
  7. Cardinal Stritch University $11,440
  8. Concordia University Wisconsin $11,628
  9. Lakeland University $12,366
  10. Carroll University $12,713

Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Wisconsin has 30 public schools. All the public schools in Wisconsin have affordable tuitions, ranging from $4,000 to $11,000. The University of Wisconsin - Madison has over 35,000 students in attendance, making it the largest in the state. The tuition runs about $11,000, and the school boasts an 85% graduation rate. Public affairs, veterinary medicine, and human ecology are just some of the fields students can study here.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Of Wisconsin’s 29 private schools, 18 are religious. With just under 10,000 students, Marquette University is the largest, and tuition for this school is about $42,000. Located in Milwaukee, this Catholic, Jesuit university offers degrees in fields like business, engineering, physical therapy, and law. Also located in Milwaukee, the state’s smallest institution, the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, is a private graduate school with just over 30 students, and is geared toward those earning their doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Wisconsin, like many states, also provides a loan forgiveness program to those who are working in the health care field.

When people think Wisconsin, they might immediately crave cheese. After all, the state is home to a museum dedicated to all things cheese, including the annual making of a 90-pound wheel of Swiss. But The Beaver State is also known for its more than 15,000 lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Prospective students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree will enjoy the food, landscape, and educational variety Wisconsin has to offer.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s variety of colleges and universities.


What are Wisconsin’s Colleges & Universities?

Wisconsin’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.

Wisconsin'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 19 private universities in Wisconsin. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin

  1. #2

    Lawrence University

    Appleton , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1300/29

    Career Outlook for degree at Lawrence University

    Cost of Degree: $53,979
    Expenses: $13,845
    Starting Salary: $48,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 22 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Career Outlook for degree at Milwaukee School of Engineering

    Cost of Degree: $46,506
    Expenses: $15,432
    Starting Salary: $66,817
    Salary after 4 years: $81,044
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Milwaukee School of Engineering known for?

    Milwaukee School of Engineering’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  3. #5

    Carroll University

    Waukesha , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1141/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Carroll University

    Cost of Degree: $36,190
    Expenses: $15,394
    Starting Salary: $48,937
    Salary after 4 years: $60,054
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Carroll University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Physics and Engineering
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Concordia University Wisconsin

    Cost of Degree: $33,062
    Expenses: $19,260
    Starting Salary: $54,793
    Salary after 4 years: $67,249
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Concordia University Wisconsin’s Online Degrees

    BS in Applied Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Educator
    • Healthcare Informatics
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Analytics and Change Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management of Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Radiologic Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #7

    St. Norbert College

    De Pere , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/25

    Career Outlook for degree at St. Norbert College

    Cost of Degree: $43,204
    Expenses: $14,380
    Starting Salary: $46,492
    Salary after 4 years: $51,138
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is St. Norbert College known for?

    St. Norbert College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1037/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Cardinal Stritch University

    Cost of Degree: $35,444
    Expenses: $14,792
    Starting Salary: $54,754
    Salary after 4 years: $59,786
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Cardinal Stritch University known for?

    Cardinal Stritch University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Cardinal Stritch University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Introduction to Business
    • Advanced Business Principles
    • Human Resources and Marketing
    • Economics and Accounting
    • International Business
    • Introduction Sport and Recreation Business
    • Advanced Sport and Recreation Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Education Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Introduction to Education
    • Classroom Management and Culture
    • Reading and Language Arts Integration
    • Secondary Curriculum and Methods
    • and Secondary Education Application
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Health
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Biology
    • Social Inequality
    • Social Change and Social Institutions
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    Degree Concentrations
    • Quantitative Chemistry
    • Human Biology
    • Social Change and Social Institutions
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #9

    Carthage College

    Kenosha , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Carthage College

    Cost of Degree: $34,500
    Expenses: $16,248
    Starting Salary: $39,177
    Salary after 4 years: $51,606
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Carthage College known for?

    Carthage College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #10

    Alverno College

    Milwaukee , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Alverno College

    Cost of Degree: $31,858
    Expenses: $15,838
    Starting Salary: $57,066
    Salary after 4 years: $61,430
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Alverno College known for?

    Alverno College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #11

    Edgewood College

    Madison , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Edgewood College

    Cost of Degree: $33,550
    Expenses: $15,832
    Starting Salary: $55,754
    Salary after 4 years: $59,307
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Edgewood College known for?

    Edgewood College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  10. #12

    Ripon College

    Ripon , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Ripon College

    Cost of Degree: $49,600
    Expenses: $12,140
    Starting Salary: $32,671
    Salary after 4 years: $43,479
    Cost Recoup Time: 20 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  11. #13

    Viterbo University

    La Crosse , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Viterbo University

    Cost of Degree: $31,150
    Expenses: $13,760
    Starting Salary: $57,877
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Viterbo University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #14

    Northland College

    Ashland , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Northland College

    Cost of Degree: $41,237
    Expenses: $13,138
    Starting Salary: $26,453
    Cost Recoup Time: 20 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Northland College known for?

    Northland College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  13. #15

    Marian University

    Fond Du Lac , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Marian University

    Cost of Degree: $30,000
    Expenses: $12,190
    Starting Salary: $54,254
    Salary after 4 years: $65,605
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Marian University known for?

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

  14. #16

    Lakeland University

    Plymouth , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Lakeland University

    Cost of Degree: $31,786
    Expenses: $15,836
    Starting Salary: $48,794
    Salary after 4 years: $50,784
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Lakeland University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #17

    Mount Mary University

    Milwaukee , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1042/18

    Career Outlook for degree at Mount Mary University

    Cost of Degree: $33,450
    Expenses: $17,486
    Starting Salary: $46,003
    Salary after 4 years: $49,431
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Mount Mary University known for?

    Mount Mary University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  16. Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Maranatha Baptist University

    Cost of Degree: $18,810
    Expenses: $15,352
    Starting Salary: $49,533
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Maranatha Baptist University known for?

    Maranatha Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  17. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Wisconsin Lutheran College

    Cost of Degree: $33,762
    Expenses: $14,752
    Starting Salary: $47,119
    Salary after 4 years: $55,636
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Wisconsin Lutheran College known for?

    Wisconsin Lutheran College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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Wisconsin’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. Marquette University
  2. Beloit College
  3. Ripon College
  4. Lawrence University
  5. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  6. Mount Mary University
  7. St. Norbert College
  8. Edgewood College
  9. Northland College
  10. Cardinal Stritch University
  11. Carroll University
  12. Maranatha Baptist University
  13. Marian University
  14. Alverno College
  15. Carthage College
  16. Concordia University Wisconsin
  17. Lakeland University
  18. Viterbo University
  19. Wisconsin Lutheran College
  20. Holy Family College

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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