The higher education system in Delaware includes high-quality institutions that draw students from across the region and even the country.
The Delaware Higher Education Office counts eight institutions as the colleges and universities operating within its borders. These include three public schools and five private institutions. Many of these offer four-year degrees, but there is also a law school, art and design school and community college in the state. The latter is a particularly good choice for students who want to start their education at a lower cost institution before transferring to a four-year school. Thanks to articulation agreements, many colleges and universities will accept credits from a community college and apply them toward a bachelor's degree.
In addition to educating students on campus, several of the state's schools offer robust distance education options for those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in Delaware.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Delaware
Delaware may be a small state, but it's still home to high-quality institutions of higher education. To find the best of the best, we looked at metrics such as tuition, graduation rates, online courses and student support services. Based on our findings, these are the top universities in Delaware. For more insight into education in the state, be sure to also catch up on the top community colleges in Delaware.
The University of Delaware is one of the oldest universities in the nation as well as one of the top colleges in Delaware. The school pre-dates the country and was founded in 1743 as Newark College. Today, UD enrolls more than 23,000 students, offers more than 100 study abroad options and is home to more than 20 NCAA Division I sports teams.
There are seven colleges within the University of Delaware. These include the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment alongside others for business, engineering and education. Those looking for online colleges in Delaware will find some online degree programs at UD as well.
As one of the best colleges in Delaware, UD has a reputation for research and innovation. The school's campus is in Newark.
As one of two public four-year schools in the state, Delaware State University makes the list of best Delaware colleges thanks to its academic programs and affordable pricing. The school is second only to the University of Delaware in the number of academic programs it offers.
Founded in 1891 and one of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, DSU is home to a tight-knit academic community. More than 4,500 students are enrolled in its six academic colleges. Popular fields of study include accounting, mass communications, movement science and psychology.
Delaware State University has its main campus in Dover, but online courses are available. For those interested in fully online degrees, the university's online degree programs include several options for graduate students.
Wilmington University is not only one of the top schools in Delaware, but it is also one of the state's best online colleges. The university has a particular focus on meeting the needs of adult learners. In addition to its online degree programs, WilmU maintains campus locations in three states to make it easy for students to schedule classes around work and family obligations.
There are seven academic colleges within Wilmington University. These confer a range of awards from two-year associate degrees to advanced doctoral degrees. Certificate programs are also available in a variety of subjects.
Among Delaware universities, WilmU prides itself on being an affordable option. All students get access to in-state tuition rates, and a range of student support services are available to those enrolled.
Another of the top schools in Delaware is Wesley College. It was founded in 1873 as the Wilmington Conference Academy and is the state's oldest private college. The accredited college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church although students from all denominations attend classes at the school.
The 2,500 students enrolled at Wesley College study on a historic campus in Dover where they receive personalized attention in small classes. Academic programs at the college result in associate, bachelor's and graduate degrees.
Among Delaware colleges, Wesley is known for offering a flexible and unique learning environment. The annual Scholars Day highlights the academic achievement of students while Summer Advantage is an affordable way to take additional classes during the summer months.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Delaware
Wondering which degrees attract the most students in Delaware? Here are the top choices for on-campus and online Delaware degrees.
In-Demand Careers in Delaware
Selecting the right degree is an important step toward getting a job after graduation. See if your major might prepare you for one of these careers that are in-demand by Delaware employers.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides||37.9%||6,710||$24,530|
|Information Security Analysts||31.7%||680||$113,000|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||31.4%||4,590||$111,400|
|Operations Research Analysts||31.1%||870||$89,580|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||26.7%||30||$101,440|
|Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary||23.8%||250||-|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||23.5%||340||$61,610|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||23.2%||2,030||$84,990|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||22.6%||320||-|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||22.4%||-||$62,450|
|Physical Therapist Aides||21.3%||160||$29,180|
|Financial and Investment Analysts, Financial Risk Specialists, and Financial Specialists, All Other||21.3%||3,480||$91,510|
|Audio and Video Technicians||19.5%||90||$47,340|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||19.4%||180||$72,540|
|Fast Food and Counter Workers||16.3%||12,660||$21,580|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Delaware
Delaware works hard to make sure its residents can afford a higher education. Thanks to its participation in the Academic Common Market, students who can't find the degree program they want at a public Delaware institution may be eligible for in-state tuition at a different public school in one of the 15 states participating in the Southern Regional Education Board. What's more, Delaware offers 12 state-sponsored financial aid programs that provide scholarships, grants and other assistance.
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- Delaware Higher Education Office
- State of Delaware, Higher Education and Training
- Southern Regional Education Board
To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,383 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the following data points and the weights specified. In order to be included in the ranking, schools had to report data for each of the following data points:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
- The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
- 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered on campus, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
- Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
- Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
- Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
- Dual credit
- Credit for life experience
- Advanced Placement credit
- Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
- Remedial services
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Guaranteed tuition plan
- Tuition payment plan
- Any other alternative tuition plan
Note:Tuition prices are based on data for the 2016-17 academic year reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.
All of the National Center for Education Statistics data came from IPEDS:
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Facts & Figures, University of Delaware, Accessed May 2018, http://www.udel.edu/about/facts-figures/
- At a Glance, Delaware State University, Accessed May 2018, https://www.desu.edu/about/glance
- About Us, Wilmington University, Accessed Mary 2018, http://www.wilmu.edu/about/index.aspx
- About, Wesley College, Accessed May 2018, http://wesley.edu/about
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Welcome, Delaware Higher Education Office, Accessed June 2017, https://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/2243
- See the Difference at Wilmington University, Wilmington University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.wilmu.edu/about/index.aspx