Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, there are 12 public universities, eight private non-profit colleges, and four private for-profit institutions.


    West Virginia residents paid an estimated average of $8,730 for in-state tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges in 2021-2022.


    Many students in the U.S. receive thousands of dollars in financial aid. The average assistance amount was $14,800 in the 2020-21 school year.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar schools in West Virginia. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a reputable organization that examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of education programs in the central United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for on-campus students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Colleges in West Virginia

Best Colleges In West Virginia
Intelligent Pick
West Virginia University
Most Affordable
Marshall University
Best For Transfers
Davis & Elkins College
Best for Study Abroad
West Liberty University
Best Private School
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Best Public School
Glenville State University
Best Faith-based Institution
Alderson Broaddus University
Best Nursing Degrees
Bluefield State College
Best for Veterans
Shepherd University
West Virginia State University

Wheeling University

Fairmont State University

University of Charleston

Ohio Valley University


What You Should Know About Graduating From College in West Virginia

As you consider different college options, take into account how your degree will prepare you to enter West Virginia’s workforce. In October 2021, the five largest industries that were responsible for employing the most workers in the state are government; education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; goods-producing; and retail trade. A degree relevant to these fields could greatly help you after graduation.

Many of the state’s top career paths are in these industries. The fastest-growing careers in West Virginia for workers with a bachelor’s degree are information security analysts, medical and health services managers, data scientists, athletic trainers, and operations research analysts.

Some of West Virginia’s top employers are CAMC Memorial Hospital, West Virginia Department of Transportation, West Virginia University, and Cabell Huntington Hospital. A lot of other employers also have thousands of workers on their respective payrolls.

What’s Next?

You’ll need to pay attention to financial aid opportunities as you evaluate the different colleges in West Virginia. The following state and federal resources will help you investigate different financial aid opportunities, such as grants and scholarships in West Virginia.

  • College Foundation of West Virginia. The College Foundation of West Virginia has information on state-level financial aid, including scholarship, grant, and loan assistance opportunities in the state.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Over $120 billion in financial aid is given out to U.S. college students each year. These funds are awarded by the Department of Education and through the FAFSA program. You can check eligibility on the FAFSA4caster and apply through this online form.
  • CareerOneStop. A resource sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop has information on different scholarships and grants that are offered in each state. View scholarships by their amounts, requirements, deadlines, and other factors. Filter by degree type and the state where you plan to study.