2022 Top Private Colleges and Universities in Virginia

Private colleges and universities frequently top the lists of the best schools in the U.S. These institutions offer rigorous academic programs for students looking for a personalized college experience.

Private colleges and universities generally cost more than their public counterparts, but students often receive the benefits of smaller class sizes, strong alumni networks, and generous financial aid opportunities.

Unlike public colleges and universities, private institutions do not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition. This means students from anywhere can enroll in Virginia’s private institutions without paying higher out-of-state rates.

2022 Best Private Colleges and Universities in Virginia

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

This site is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Washington and Lee University

    Lexington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    2,183

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56170

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56170

    From its campus in Virginia, Washington and Lee University enrolls students in 39 programs. Degree-seekers enroll in rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The student-to-faculty ratio at the school is 8-to-1. According to the institution, 67% of enrollees receive some form of financial aid. The private school reports a graduation rate of 93%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The admission rate for prospective students is 25%. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #2

    University of Richmond

    University of Richmond, VA

    Graduation Rate

    88%

    Enrollment

    4,056

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $56860

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $56860

    University of Richmond, a private organization located in University of Richmond, Virginia, offers multiple programs. Students earn an accredited degree that prepares them for careers and professional advancement. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. University of Richmond is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    Riverside College of Health Careers

    Newport News, VA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    303

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12820

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12820

    Riverside College of Health Careers is a private institution located in Newport News, Virginia. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports that 60% of students receive financial aid and 76% take out loans. The school reports a graduation rate of 100%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Riverside College of Health Careers is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

    #4

    Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

    Danville, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    472

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11520

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11520

    From its campus in Danville, Virginia, Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs offers multiple programs as a private institution. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Advanced Technology Institute

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Graduation Rate

    75%

    Enrollment

    461

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13200

    From its Virginia Beach, Virginia campus, Advanced Technology Institute offers 12 program options for students. Degree-seekers enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school provides a student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. The institution reports that 81% of students receive some form of financial aid. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 75%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The admission rate for applicants is 70%. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #6

    University of the Potomac-VA Campus

    FALLS CHURCH, VA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    197

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8640

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8640

    Located in FALLS CHURCH, Virginia, University of the Potomac-VA Campus attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. This makes it easier to enroll. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. University of the Potomac-VA Campus has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #7

    Chamberlain University-Virginia

    Vienna, VA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    622

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19572

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19572

    Chamberlain University-Virginia offers programs from its campus in Vienna, Virginia. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #8

    IGlobal University

    Vienna, VA

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    254

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13500

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13500

    A private institution, IGlobal University grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Vienna, Virginia. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. A total of 25% of students receive financial aid and 8% take out loans at the school. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 93%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling. The school holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #9

    Patrick Henry College

    Purcellville, VA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    340

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $28400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $28400

    Located in Purcellville, Virginia, Patrick Henry College enrolls students as a private institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. The accredited institution meets the requirements for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. A total of 97% of students receive financial aid and 0% take out loans at the institution. The private institution reports a graduation rate of 61%. The admission rate is 88%. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying. The institution's accreditation status is unknown.

    #10

    Hampton University

    Hampton, VA

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    3,516

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $26198

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $26198

    From its campus in Hampton, Virginia, Hampton University awards degrees as a private institution. The school grants accredited degrees that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Hampton University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #11

    Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

    Richmond, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    456

    Format

    In-State Tuition

    $12000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12000

    A top-ranked school, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Richmond, Virginia. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Completing a program can take anywhere from a few months to seven years depending on degree or certificate type and whether the student chooses part-time or full-time enrollment. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

    #12

    Randolph-Macon College

    Ashland, VA

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    1,554

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $42490

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $42490

    A private institution, Randolph-Macon College enrolls students on its campus in Ashland, Virginia. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Randolph-Macon College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #13

    Hampden-Sydney College

    Hampden-Sydney, VA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    881

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $45690

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $45690

    Located in Virginia, Hampden-Sydney College offers 31 academic programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. The institution reports that 100% of students receive some form of financial aid. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 71%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. Hopeful students can expect admission rates of 47%. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #14

    University of Management and Technology

    Arlington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    295

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $9360

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9360

    University of Management and Technology, a private organization located in Arlington, Virginia, offers multiple programs. The school offers accredited degrees that prepare students for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #15

    Sentara College of Health Sciences

    Chesapeake, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    341

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $371

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $371

    From its campus in Virginia, Sentara College of Health Sciences administers 6 total programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school holds a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. We do not know the graduation rate at this time. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #16

    Eastern Mennonite University

    Harrisonburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    1,394

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $38850

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $38850

    A private institution, Eastern Mennonite University enrolls students from its campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. A total of 98% of students receive financial aid and 62% take out loans at the institution. The private school reports a 60% graduation rate. The school reports a 72% admission rate. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. Eastern Mennonite University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #17

    Shenandoah University

    Winchester, VA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    4,174

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32510

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32510

    Located in Virginia, Shenandoah University offers 142 programs for students. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. According to the institution, the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 10-to-1. The institution reports that 100% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The private school reports a 61% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. Learners benefit from internships, research opportunities, and other forms of service learning. Hopeful learners can expect admission rates of 74%. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions.

    #18

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    93,349

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14791

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14791

    From its campus in Virginia, Liberty University enrolls students in 270 programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. At the institution, 99% of the students receive some form of financial aid. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 54%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. As a result, the institution offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The admission rate is 50% for incoming students. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores.

    #19

    Hollins University

    Roanoke, VA

    Graduation Rate

    62%

    Enrollment

    795

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $39360

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $39360

    Hollins University, a private institution in Roanoke, Virginia, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Sovah School of Health Professions

    Danville, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    13

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4743

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $4743

    Sovah School of Health Professions, a private institution in Danville, Virginia, enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. The school holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #21

    Southside College of Health Sciences

    Colonial Heights, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    115

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11400

    A private institution located in Colonial Heights, Virginia, Southside College of Health Sciences educates students through multiple programs. Students complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Southside College of Health Sciences holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #22

    Roanoke College

    Salem, VA

    Graduation Rate

    70%

    Enrollment

    1,920

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $45200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $45200

    A private institution located in Salem, Virginia, Roanoke College enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school offers programs that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #23

    Centra College

    Lynchburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    314

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11001

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11001

    From its Virginia campus, Centra College offers 6 academic programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school reports a 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The institution reports that approximately 70% of enrollees receive financial aid. The percent of students who graduate is unavailable. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. Prospective enrollees can expect an 82% admission rate. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements.

    #24

    Antioch College AG

    Hampton, VA

    Graduation Rate

    67%

    Enrollment

    35

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8320

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8320

    Antioch College AG, located in Hampton, Virginia, offers 11 programs for students. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-faculty ratio at the institution is 5-to-1. According to the institution, 100% of enrollees receive some form of financial aid. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 67%. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #25

    Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Graduation Rate

    9%

    Enrollment

    1,515

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16736

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16736

    Located in Virginia, Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach enrolls students in 42 programs. The institution's many rigorous academic programs rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-faculty ratio at the school is 18-to-1. The institution reports that of its total enrollees, 97% receive financial aid. The school reports a 9% graduation rate. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #26

    Tidewater Tech-Trades

    Norfolk, VA

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    436

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16200

    Home to 6 certificate programs, Tidewater Tech-Trades operates a main campus in Virginia. Learners in the programs complete rigorous curricula to prepare for careers and further studies. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. The college's focus on experiential learning lets enrollees apply lessons in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution undergoes third-party evaluations to maintain its accreditation status. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school qualify for federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about requirements through the school's website. The institution has been accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

    #27

    Bridgewater College

    Bridgewater, VA

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    1,597

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $36800

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $36800

    A private institution located in Bridgewater, Virginia, Bridgewater College offers multiple programs. Students can earn a degree or certificate that prepares them for the workforce. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Bridgewater College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #28

    Centura College-Norfolk

    Norfolk, VA

    Graduation Rate

    82%

    Enrollment

    213

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16500

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16500

    Centura College-Norfolk, located in Norfolk, Virginia, enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #29

    Centura College-Chesapeake

    Chesapeake, VA

    Graduation Rate

    64%

    Enrollment

    164

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16500

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16500

    Located in Chesapeake, Virginia, Centura College-Chesapeake grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs. Centura College-Chesapeake has been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #30

    Marymount University

    Arlington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    3,294

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33200

    From its campus in Arlington, Virginia, Marymount University awards degrees as a top school. Students choose from multiple degree-granting programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for learners with a variety of professional goals. At the institution, students typically complete an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. Marymount University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Why Choose a Private College or University in Virginia?

    Virginia is home to more than 100 private colleges and universities.

    Some private schools — like those in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia — boast accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). They also can be found in metro and rural areas of Virginia.

    More than 135,000 students choose to enroll in private colleges and universities in Virginia. Private colleges in Virginia can offer diverse liberal arts majors, small class sizes, personalized student support services, and a variety of activities, including athletics and student clubs.

    When trying to decide between a private vs. public college, many students choose a bigger public college or university. But Virginia’s select private colleges attract many learners as well. Private schools include historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), gender-specific and coeducational institutions, and graduate and undergraduate programs.

    Many private institutions in Virginia also participate in collaborative business programs, including corporate sponsors that can offer job opportunities to graduates.

    Many students shy away from private colleges due to cost. However, others find Virginia’s private institutions affordable, utilizing available financial aid packages.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Private Institutions in Virginia

    Pros

    • Check Circle
      Personalized attention through small class sizes, personal mentorship, and direct communication with professors
    • Check Circle
      Emphasis on career development and matriculation to a four-year degree program at a partnering public, state-sponsored school
    • Check Circle
      Many achieve accreditation through SACSCOC, on par with SACSCOC-accredited public four-year colleges and universities in Virginia

    Cons

    • X Circle
      May offer limited academic programs for non-liberal arts majors or those aspiring to non-trade and non-technical fields
    • X Circle
      Typically emphasize merit-based and institutional scholarships but offer limited federal financial aid options compared to public colleges
    • X Circle
      Sometimes lack the broad engagement opportunities and campus culture of a larger public college or university

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Virginia

    Nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities differ primarily in how they approach operating expenses. Nonprofit colleges and universities receive state and federal funding to maintain campus facilities, pay staff, and maximize financial aid packages.

    For-profit institutions generally receive less federal funding and must earn income in other ways by, for example, charging higher tuition rates and fees. Other sources of income may include donations, endowments, and government grants.

    Nonprofit colleges invest any profits they earn back into the school to improve student and educational services, for example. For-profit schools distribute profits among their investors and shareholders.

    Most public state colleges and universities and community colleges are nonprofit. Nonprofit vs. for-profit status can also affect admissions, programs, and student debt.

    Most private schools are for-profit, as are many private schools in Virginia. However, nonprofit private schools also exist.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in Virginia?

    In 2019-2020, undergraduates attending a private four-year college or university in Virginia paid more than $23,000, on average, in tuition and fees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Including room and board, the average total cost of attendance rose to nearly $35,000 during that academic year.

    Washington and Lee University is among the most expensive private schools in the state, charging $58,260 in tuition during the 2021-2022 academic year. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing ranks among Virginia’s most affordable private colleges, with annual tuition as low as $3,450 for select programs.

    Students should seek out multiple scholarship and grant opportunities as they plan to attend a private college or university in Virginia.

    Other cost-saving measures include living at home and/or enrolling in an online or hybrid program. Some private colleges and universities also offer budget-friendly options such as textbook loan programs and financing plans.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in Virginia

    How many private institutions are there in Virginia?

    While estimates vary slightly depending on the source, Virginia has at least 119 private colleges and universities, according to NCES. This figure includes both nonprofit and for-profit institutions and two- and four-year programs. It also includes private schools that offer programs that take less than two years to complete.

    What is the most expensive private college or university in Virginia?

    One of the state’s most expensive private schools is Washington and Lee University, where annual tuition is more than $58,000. Other schools include Marymount University ($35,950) and Mary Baldwin University ($30,690).

    Attending a private college typically costs more than attending a public institution. However, private schools tend to offer more grant and scholarship aid packages as enrollment incentives.

    Prospective students also should keep in mind that tuition can vary by resident status and program.

    • What is the least expensive private institution in Virginia?
    Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing is one of Virginia’s least expensive private colleges, with select programs costing $3,450 in tuition per year. Other options include the University of the Potomac’s Virginia campus and Sovah College of Health Professions.

    In addition to seeking out financial aid options, students may decide to sign up for an online or hybrid program or live off campus to further cut expenses as they pursue their education.

    Is a private institution right for me?

    Choosing to attend a public or private college is a personal decision.

    Private colleges in Virginia offer broad academic and technical programs to students across the state’s metro and rural areas.

    Private schools can offer small class sizes, personalized attention from instructors, and targeted career development services. These may benefit some students but deter others seeking a more big-college experience.

    Students should consider multiple factors — a private college’s cost, financial aid options, choice of programs, and student support services — when making their decision.

    Can I get more scholarship money at a private institution?

    Possibly. However, the margin is debatable since private schools may only award more scholarships than public schools to offset the higher cost of tuition.

    In the U.S., the average cost of tuition and required fees at private colleges and universities was more than double the cost at public colleges in 2019-2020, according to NCES.

    Grantford reported in 2021 that public colleges covered approximately 75% of the cost of in-state tuition. Private colleges covered approximately 61% of tuition costs through financial aid, primarily federal funding and scholarships, respectively.

    Since cost is a critical consideration among college applicants, private institutions commonly attract students by advertising comprehensive financial aid packages.