Tucked away in New England are a number of quality colleges and universities. Whether students in Vermont want to live on campus or earn an online bachelor's degree, there are plenty of options from which to choose. The schools of Vermont include public, private and online institutions.
Vermont State Colleges is the state's public system of higher education, and every Vermonter lives within 25 miles of a member institution's classroom. The five schools within the system include a community college, state colleges and a university. A direct admissions program allows students to easily transfer credits from the Community College of Vermont to a four-year institution.
There are also 15 member schools within the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges. These institutions may identify with a specific religious tradition or be nonsectarian. Beyond those, there are online colleges for Vermont which may be based outside the state but still enroll residents in distance education classes.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Vermont
Knowing which Vermont schools are the best can help a lot, whether you're a brand new college student or looking to go back to school after taking some time off. We analyzed official data on affordability, schedule flexibility, student success, financial aid, distance education and more to figure out which institutions were the top colleges and universities in Vermont. When you're done here, check out the best Vermont community colleges, too.
The University of Vermont is the largest of Vermont's colleges, reporting a total enrollment of more than 12,000 students. Founded in 1791, this longstanding institution is known as a "Public Ivy" and offers all levels of university study, from bachelor's degrees to doctoral and professional programs.
Nearly 180 total study plans are available at UVM, including around 100 bachelor's degree and 50 graduate degree programs. Students here tend to be involved in experiential learning, as well -- better than 90 percent of seniors report being engaged in internships, research projects or other avenues through which to apply their knowledge.
The city of Burlington has a lot to offer UVM students during their time away from school. The music and food scenes in the city are nationally acclaimed, and outdoor recreation both on land and on water is never far away.
Champlain College is located right on Lake Champlain in Burlington and takes a career-driven approach to higher education. Over 80 areas of study are available at this private institution, where a modestly sized student body of around 2,200 undergraduates pursue bachelor's degrees online and on campus.
In fact, Champlain is one of the top online colleges in Vermont, offering more than 20 fully online degree programs and nearly 40 certificate plans for undergraduates and graduate students. Thanks to a delivery method that employs 7- and 8-week online courses, distance education programs here allow many students to earn their degree at an accelerated pace.
Classes at Champlain average 16 students and are capped at 30. Among the class of 2017, a vast majority -- 94 percent -- had successfully found career placement within six months of graduation.
Originally founded in 1819, Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the country. More than 2,400 cadets and civilians attend classes on the Northfield campus, and over 1,600 students take advantage of Norwich's online courses.
Norwich is another of the best colleges and universities in Vermont for online degrees, particularly at the graduate level. Norwich University offers 18-month online master's programs in subjects like information security, civil engineering, international relations and military history. Prospective undergraduate students who have between 30 and 60 prior college credits can enroll in online bachelor's degree completion programs.
The town of Northfield, located in Washington County in mid-northern Vermont, serves as a generally laid-back and peaceful setting. The total population here is around 6,000 residents, so you should find plenty of quiet time when you need to study.
This member of the Vermont State Colleges system has a rare claim to fame. It was founded in 1787, making it not only the oldest institution among Vermont universities but also one of the 20 longest-standing collegiate schools in the country.
The learning environment at Castleton University is fairly intimate, featuring a student-faculty ratio of 14:1 and an average class size of 17. Castleton's degree catalog leans heavily toward bachelor's degree programs -- approximately 90 percent of students are full-time undergraduates -- but master's degrees in psychology, education, accounting and more are also available.
Castleton also puts considerable energy into sustainable practices and responsible stewardship of the environment. Two buildings on campus have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, and the institution uses micro-turbines to generate a portion of its electricity through wind power.
Vermont Technical College, commonly known as Vermont Tech, is one of the top schools in Vermont for career-minded learners. Academic programs here focus on fields such as nursing, agriculture, engineering and computer technology, and 100 percent of degree plans include hands-on, applied learning sections to help bring context to your classroom lessons.
Vermont Tech is another member of the Vermont State Colleges system and a multi-site institution with 11 total locations. Residential campuses can be found in Randolph Center and Williston, and an additional nine distance sites are spread out to offer degree programs to students in the four corners of the state.
The student to teacher ratio at Vermont Tech is 12:1, providing ample time for professors to work individually with students who need it. In addition to bachelor's degrees, the school awards associate degrees and certificates.
As one of the most highly regarded liberal arts colleges in the nation, Middlebury College has a long legacy of quality education. It was founded in 1800 and is now known for rigorous academics, a commitment to sustainability and a focus on the arts.
The numbers show that Middlebury is one of the best schools in Vermont for students who like a close-knit campus setting. The roughly 3,250 students on campus in Middlebury enjoy a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, which is one of the lowest in the state and 50 percent better than the average of 16:1 calculated for national four-year universities.
Degree programs here simultaneously emphasize breadth and depth of study, guiding students through a wide-reaching introduction to a variety of disciplines while providing a deep dive into their chosen major. Interdisciplinary programs are also available.
Goddard College takes a unique approach to higher education. The low-residency model employed here consists of an eight-day session on campus at the beginning of each semester, during which students design their academic plan for the semester, and then 16 weeks of independent study from home in close collaboration with advisors and mentors.
The degree catalog at Goddard isn't as expansive as those at other Vermont colleges, but it does feature a selection of programs and concentrations that may be uncommon at many other schools. For example, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in clinical mental health counseling features available concentrations in sexual orientation and expressive arts therapy.
Goddard is also one of the smallest accredited schools in Vermont. Total enrollment here topped out at around 500 students in 2017, with around 200 reported as seeking bachelor's degrees.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Vermont
If you're not sure which topic of study is right for you, consider that these are the most popular choices among Vermonters.
In-Demand Careers in Vermont
Regardless of whether you want to earn an online bachelor's degree in Vermont or study on campus, your goal is undoubtedly to get a job when you're done with school. Here's a look at some of the occupations expected to have the brightest prospects in the coming years.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installers||36.9%||-||$45,060|
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides||33.4%||7,230||$32,590|
|Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders||30.8%||320||$40,970|
|Court, Municipal, and License Clerks||26.5%||870||$43,440|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||25.5%||1,670||$99,730|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||24.7%||110||$79,720|
|Operations Research Analysts||22%||100||$84,590|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||20.9%||150||$58,260|
|Physical Therapist Aides||19.5%||40||$33,680|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||19.1%||1,230||$59,140|
|Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse||18.9%||490||$33,740|
|Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals||18.2%||150||$34,690|
|Healthcare Social Workers||17.3%||460||$56,570|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||16.3%||40||$63,990|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||16%||60||$59,890|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||15.4%||1,180||$104,950|
|Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners||15.3%||60||$39,440|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health||15.3%||50||$43,780|
|Fire Inspectors and Investigators||15.2%||40||$62,010|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Vermont
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) administers a number of grant, scholarship and loan programs. The Vermont Incentive Grant offers assistance to all residents with financial need. Other state programs, such as the VSAC Board of Directors Scholarship, have more narrow eligibility requirements. Vermont Advantage Loans are also available for those who need additional money to pay for a degree.
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
Renewable for up to four years.
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
MAX. AWARD AMOUNT
- Vermont State Colleges System
- Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
- Vermont Higher Education Council
- Association of Vermont Independent Colleges
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): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- School pages, accessed May 30-31, 2018: UVM Facts, The University of Vermont, https://www.uvm.edu/uvm_facts; Academics, The University of Vermont, https://www.uvm.edu/academics; About UVM, The University of Vermont, https://www.uvm.edu/about_uvm; Burlington, VT, The University of Vermont, https://www.uvm.edu/about_uvm/burlington_vt; About Champlain, Champlain College, https://www.champlain.edu/about-champlain; Quick Facts, Champlain College, https://www.champlain.edu/about-champlain/quick-facts-and-history; Accredited & Affordable Online Degree Completion Programs, https://www.champlain.edu/online/degrees-and-certificates; Best Accredited Online Bachelor's (BS) Degree Programs, Champlain College, https://www.champlain.edu/online/bachelors-degrees; At a Glance, Norwich University, http://www.norwich.edu/about/1209-norwich-university-200-year-history; Legacy, Norwich University, http://www.norwich.edu/about/1211-norwich-legacy; Online Degree Programs, Norwich University, https://online.norwich.edu/degree-programs; About Castleton, Castleton University, http://www.castleton.edu/about-castleton/; Quick Facts, Castleton University, http://www.castleton.edu/about-castleton/quick-facts/; Graduate Programs at Castleton, Castleton University, http://www.castleton.edu/academics/graduate-programs/; Why Vermont Tech?, Vermont Technical College, https://www.vtc.edu/meet-vtc/why-vermont-tech; Fast Facts, Vermont Tech, https://www.vtc.edu/meet-vtc/fast-facts; Majors, Vermont Technical College, https://www.vtc.edu/academics/majors; Locations, Vermont Tech, https://www.vtc.edu/meet-vtc/locations; About Middlebury, Middlebury College, http://www.middlebury.edu/about; Quick Facts, Middlebury College, http://www.middlebury.edu/about/facts; Academics, Middlebury College, http://www.middlebury.edu/academics; About Goddard, Goddard College, https://www.goddard.edu/about-goddard/; Prospective Students, Goddard College, https://www.goddard.edu/admissions/prospective-students/; Locations, Goddard College, https://www.goddard.edu/about-goddard/locations/;
- Burlington, Vermont, America's Best Adventure Towns, National Geographic, August 9, 2011, accessed May 30, 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/features/adventure-towns/burlington-vermont/
- QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed May 30-31, 2018: Northfield town, Washington County, Vermont, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/northfieldtownwashingtoncountyvermont/INC110216;
- Northfield, Vermont: Official Municipal Website, accessed May 31, 2018, http://northfield-vt.gov/
- About the Vermont State Colleges, Vermont State Colleges System, accessed May 31, 2018, https://www.vsc.edu/chancellors-office/about-the-vermont-state-colleges/
- 21 Liberal Arts Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios, U.S. News and World Report, Jordan Friedman, April 19, 2016, accessed May 31, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2016-04-19/21-liberal-arts-colleges-with-the-lowest-student-faculty-ratios
- Goddard College, Best Colleges, U.S. News and World Report, accessed May 31, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/goddard-college-3686
- Town of Plainfield, Towns and Counties, State of Vermont, accessed May 31, 2018, http://www.vermont.gov/portal/government/towns.php?town=156\
- Vermont State Colleges System, Accessed May 2017, https://www.vsc.edu/
- Student Aid Options, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Accessed May 2017, http://www.vsac.org/pay/student-aid-options/