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Online and On-Campus Colleges in WEST VIRGINIA

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed April 21, 2017: Transfer Articulation Agreements, West Virginia University, https://admissions.wvu.edu/how-to-apply/transfer-students/transfer-articulation-agreements; WVU Online Degrees, West Virginia University, http://online.wvu.edu/degrees/#result; Articulation Agreements, Marshall University, http://www.marshall.edu/admissions/transfer-students/articulation-agreements/; About Concord, Concord University, http://www.concord.edu/about-concord/; Tech Adventures, West Virginia Institute of Technology, http://studentlife.wvutech.edu/adventure; About, West Liberty University, http://westliberty.edu/about/; Transfer, West Liberty University, http://westliberty.edu/admissions/requirements/transfer/; About, Potomac State College of West Virginia University, http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu/about/; By the Numbers, Potomac State College, http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu/about/by-the-numbers.html; Major Programs, Potomac State College, http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu/academics/majors/; Degrees, Bluefield State College, https://www.bluefieldstate.edu/academics/degrees; Tuition and Fees, Shepherd University, http://www.shepherd.edu/tuition-and-fees/; Online Degrees, West Virginia State University, http://online.wvstateu.edu/online-programs/;
  • Scholarships, College Foundation of West Virginia, accessed April 21, 2017, https://secure.cfwv.com/Financial_Aid_Planning/Scholarships/Scholarships.aspx
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The higher education landscape of West Virginia contains a few larger schools and many smaller campuses. If you're shopping around for the best traditional and online colleges in West Virginia, it can help to know which schools have outperformed the others in measures of affordability, accessibility and student success.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) publishes tons of data on colleges and universities across the country, so we crunched the numbers to find out which institutions in West Virginia are measurably the best. You can read the details of our 13-point methodology at the bottom of the page, if you're interested in finding out just how we came up with the rankings.

We included the state's largest university and its satellite campuses as separate schools in this analysis. Students transferring from a community college into a four-year university program may have additional opportunities at certain schools on our list — we'll do our best to point out when that's the case. Check out the list after the jump.

Best 4-Year Colleges in West Virginia

Here they are, the best traditional and online colleges in West Virginia by the numbers:

Methodology
1West Virginia University+
ADMISSION RATE
86%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
11

Not only did West Virginia's largest college take the No. 1 overall spot statewide, it also made a strong showing on our national rankings. West Virginia University came in at No. 58 out of all 1,647 nationwide schools we included in our analysis. It outranked all other West Virginia schools in terms of its variety of academic programs available, and it posted the highest 2015-16 graduation rate in the state.

WVU also has a claim to being one of the best online colleges in West Virginia. No other school on our list offered a higher total number of degrees in the virtual classroom. Students at WVU paid the state's lowest books and supplies cost in 2015-16, according to NCES data, and the college features numerous transfer agreements with two-year institutions.

Additional Info
2Marshall University+
ADMISSION RATE
88%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

Average net price is a measure of college affordability that subtracts estimated grant and scholarship aid from the expected total cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, meals and other expenses. Recent statistics show that low-income Marshall University students paid an affordable average net price that ranked No. 5 statewide and nearly cracked the top 100 of all schools we studied in the U.S.

The Huntington school also offers the state's No. 2 array of degree programs, and a large and diverse group of transfer agreements with West Virginia's community and technical colleges are in place. On top of all that, only three other schools on our list posted a higher retention rate for first year students than Marshall.

Additional Info
3Concord University+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

Students at this Athens institution paid the lowest net price of any independent university in the state in 2014-15. The out-of-pocket costs were so low at Concord University, in fact, that it placed in the 98th percentile — No. 26 out of more than 1,600 schools — in our national survey. Concord graduates left school with the second-lowest burden of college debt in the state, and the student-faculty ratio is a comfortable 15:1.

The data also showed that Concord places an emphasis on working to help ensure that its students have access to the courses they need. It placed at No. 3 on our list for its percentage of students enrolled at least partially in distance education, and traditional flexibility measures like remedial services, available credit for life experience and degree programs that can be completed entirely through weekend and evening classes are available for students who need them.

Additional Info
4West Virginia University Institute of Technology+
ADMISSION RATE
61%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$100
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This division of West Virginia University took the No. 1 spot in the state for its percentage of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates, which likely factored into its placement in the top two schools for average net price affordability. The Montgomery school also shared the No. 1 spot among schools on our list for its more than 75 percent of graduates who were able to pay off their student loans within three years of completing their degrees.

If you're a fan of camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and other adventure sports, WVU Tech features an extracurricular initiative that might be right up your alley. Tech Adventures is a program designed to provide students with the right training, equipment and opportunities to take advantage of West Virginia's vast outdoor recreation landscape.

Additional Info
5West Liberty University+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Founded in 1837, a quarter of a century before the state was even admitted to the Union, West Liberty University produced some of the highest student success numbers in the state in 2015-16. It had the highest retention rate of first-year students of any school on our list, and its graduation rate ranked No. 4 in the state. What's more, the NCES reports that only three other schools in West Virginia awarded students a higher percentage of institutional grant aid.

Transfer students to West Liberty University have access to a financial aid measure that can make a real difference in their college costs. The school's University Scholarship, an award of $2,000 per year for three years, is available to all first-time transfer students with a transfer GPA between 3.25 and 4.0.

Additional Info
6Potomac State College of West Virginia University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This Keyser school placed at No. 4 and No. 7 respectively in the average net price categories for middle- and low-income students. Its average cost of books and supplies was lowest in the state, and just six other schools across the whole country charged students less for tuition and fees.

Potomac State also stands out among the best traditional and online colleges in West Virginia for its position as a type of hybrid two- and four-year institution. The degree portfolio available at Potomac State leans heavily toward Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees designed as stepping stones to four-year university programs, but full Bachelor's of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees in business management, computer information systems and more are also available.

Additional Info
7Bluefield State College+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

Bluefield State College ranks just behind our top school for the affordability of its tuition and fees, placing in the 94th percentile nationally. It took the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the state for the average net price charged to middle- and low-income students, respectively, and graduates left school with a smaller total student debt burden than at any other college in West Virginia.

Bluefield State was also one of the best-attended online colleges in West Virginia in the fall semester of 2015. It placed third in the state for its percentage of students taking at least some of their coursework via distance education. The slate of academic program offerings at Bluefield State favors bachelor's degrees, but career-focused Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in health care and engineering technology are also available.

Additional Info
8Shepherd University+
ADMISSION RATE
90%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

The average net price charged to low- and middle-income students at Shepherd University ranked No. 4 and No. 7 in the state, respectively, and both figures placed in the top 100 of all schools we surveyed nationwide. The Shepherdstown school also placed third among schools on our list for its graduation rate and saw its students graduate with less student debt on average than all but three other schools in the state.

It was also the only school in our analysis to offer an alternative tuition payment plan to students who want to pay their tuition over a period of time. Students attending in the fall or spring semesters may sign up for a financing plan that splits their tuition payment into three installments, provided that students compile a budget for the semester and submit it to payment plan administrators.

Additional Info
9Fairmont State University+
ADMISSION RATE
65%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

Fairmont State University offers the third-largest selection of degree programs among our top ten, and its distance education portfolio was larger than all but one other school on our list. It also earned a place as one of the best online colleges in West Virginia with its No. 1 distance education enrollment rate.

Campus-based flexibility metrics were also in force at the Fairmont school. Weekend/evening degree plans are available, as well as exams that students can take to earn course credit for applicable life experience. Recent alumni also held a fairly manageable amount of college debt after graduation, with just four other schools in the state ranking higher than FSU in that category.

Additional Info
10West Virginia State University+
ADMISSION RATE
94%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Founded in 1891, West Virginia State University is located just a few miles from the state capitol of Charleston. Its average net price rankings for both middle- and low-income students came in at No. 3 in the state, and just one other school provided students with as high a percentage of institutional grant aid as WVSU.

Students looking for an online bachelor's degree in West Virginia have four programs to choose from at WVSU — accounting, management, criminal justice and technical writing — and it seems students at this Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) institution aren't shy about working in the virtual classroom. Only three other schools in our top ten had a higher rate of distance education enrollment than the 31 percent of students taking some of their coursework online at WVSU.

Additional Info

Most popular degree programs in West Virginia

Certain degrees are more popular than others at West Virginia colleges and universities, and knowing which ones are near the top of the list can help you get a picture of the academic landscape. Here's a list of the current top programs in the state by enrollment.

In-Demand Careers in West Virginia

Students who have an idea of what the career market might look like when they graduate can work with their advisors to make better-informed decisions about the courses they take and the majors they choose. Take a look at this year's hottest careers statewide.

Career Title Projected Job Growth Total Employment Annual Salary
Occupational Therapy Assistants33.9%310$56,640
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers29.2%490$58,180
Home Health Aides29.2%3,860$20,060
Statisticians26.2%130$75,530
Personal Care Aides25.8%10,710$19,840
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary24.3%1,620$60,270
Information Security Analysts23.9%170$76,320
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners23.2%230$36,870
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary23%350$63,110
Skincare Specialists22.4%-$50,600
Physical Therapist Aides22%120$24,640
Physical Therapist Assistants21.8%800$50,390
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists20.6%830$44,640
Medical Equipment Repairers19.8%300$40,610
Occupational Therapy Aides19.7%80$31,060
Logisticians19.6%280$62,190
Physician Assistants19.5%730$99,090
Interpreters and Translators19.2%110$31,430
Operations Research Analysts19.1%230$59,380
Physical Therapists19.1%1,190$83,310
Audiologists19.1%110$63,470
Transportation Security Screeners19%90$38,580
Computer Systems Analysts18.9%860$73,150
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians17.2%500$34,280
Surgical Technologists17.2%890$37,930
Nurse Practitioners16.9%960$92,890
Software Developers, Applications16.2%880$88,490
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors15.7%380$34,200
Psychologists, All Other15.4%110$80,210
Medical Secretaries15.2%1,390$29,670
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in West Virginia

State sources present West Virginia residents with a range of financial aid opportunities. Here are just a few:

  • The West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship may award up to $4,750 per eligible high school graduate if certain academic goals are met
  • The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based program that provides a maximum of $2,700 for each of up to four years
  • Non-traditional students can take advantage of the Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant Program, which awards aid based on public university tuition and fees costs
 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
Health Sciences Scholarship
Applicant must be a fourth-year medical student entering a primary care internship/residency in West Virginia, be enrolled in the final year of a nurse practitioner, or an undergraduate physician assistant educational program at a West Virginia school.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

October 15

 

 

 
Oratorical Scholarship Program
Applicant must compete at district, sectional, and final levels. Award may be used at West Virginia public schools only.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$18,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

December 28

 

 

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • 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, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, 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, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • 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
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Bluefield State College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
219 Rock St
City
Bluefield
State
WV
Zip Code
24701
Website
www.bluefieldstate.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-520
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-520
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
17-22
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,486
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
77%
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,120
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
66%
Concord University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1000 Vermillion Street
City
Athens
State
WV
Zip Code
24712
Website
www.concord.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
400-530
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
410-530
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
400-510
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,142
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
85%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,902
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
49%
Fairmont State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1201 Locust Ave
City
Fairmont
State
WV
Zip Code
26554
Website
www.fairmontstate.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-510
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
410-510
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,813
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
65%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,620
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
70%
Marshall University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 John Marshall Dr
City
Huntington
State
WV
Zip Code
25755
Website
www.marshall.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-490
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-480
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,518
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
88%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,814
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
26%
Potomac State College of West Virginia University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
101 Fort Ave
City
Keyser
State
WV
Zip Code
26726
Website
www.potomacstatecollege.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,475
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
Open
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$3,864
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
18%
Shepherd University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
301 North King St
City
Shepherdstown
State
WV
Zip Code
25443
Website
www.shepherd.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-553
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,649
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$45
Admission Rate
90%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,830
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
12%
West Virginia State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Rte 25
City
Institute
State
WV
Zip Code
25112
Website
www.wvstateu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
390-510
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-500
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
373-480
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
17-22
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,107
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
94%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,662
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
West Liberty University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
208 University Drive
City
West Liberty
State
WV
Zip Code
26074
Website
www.westliberty.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
380-510
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
400-540
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
330-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,167
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,702
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
13
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
30%
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
405 Fayette Pike
City
Montgomery
State
WV
Zip Code
25136
Website
www.wvutech.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
410-530
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
420-560
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,263
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$100
Admission Rate
61%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,336
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
1%
West Virginia University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue
City
Morgantown
State
WV
Zip Code
26506
Website
www.wvu.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-560
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
22,498
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$45
Admission Rate
86%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,632
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
11
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
17%
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