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.

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

    94%

    Enrollment

    2,264

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54830

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54830

    From its Lexington, Virginia campus, Washington and Lee University enrolls students in 38 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer students a challenging course of study. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unknown. The amount of aid students receive on average is not currently known. The school reports a 94% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates become more competitive in the job market. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #2

    University of Richmond

    University of Richmond, VA

    Graduation Rate

    89%

    Enrollment

    3,914

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $54690

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $54690

    From its campus in University of Richmond, Virginia, University of Richmond enrolls students in programs as a private institution. The school offers programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study 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 this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    Riverside College of Health Careers

    Newport News, VA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    305

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $17610

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17610

    From its campus in Newport News, Virginia, Riverside College of Health Careers enrolls students in programs as a private institution. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The school's cost per credit is unknown. 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 institution. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

    #4

    Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

    Danville, VA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    485

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11820

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11820

    From its campus in Danville, Virginia, Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs enrolls students in programs as a private institution. Students can earn a degree or certificate that prepares 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 is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Saint Michael College of Allied Health

    Alexandria, VA

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    140

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16325

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16325

    A private institution in Alexandria, Virginia, Saint Michael College of Allied Health offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. At the accredited institution, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a graduation rate of 86%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.

    #6

    Advanced Technology Institute

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    504

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13200

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13200

    Advanced Technology Institute ranks as a top school from its campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for learners with a variety of professional 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 applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. Advanced Technology Institute holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #7

    University of the Potomac-VA Campus

    FALLS CHURCH, VA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    144

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9990

    From its campus in FALLS CHURCH, Virginia, University of the Potomac-VA Campus educates students as a private institution. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The cost per credit is 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. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. University of the Potomac-VA Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    #8

    Chamberlain University-Virginia

    Arlington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    478

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19375

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19375

    Chamberlain University-Virginia enrolls learners from its Arlington, Virginia campus. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help learners reach a variety of career goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. A waiver makes it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Chamberlain University-Virginia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    #9

    IGlobal University

    Vienna, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    299

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14000

    From its campus in Vienna, Virginia, IGlobal University enrolls students as a private institution. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Data on the graduation rate is currently unavailable. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #10

    Patrick Henry College

    Purcellville, VA

    Graduation Rate

    64%

    Enrollment

    305

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $27922

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27922

    From its campus in Purcellville, Virginia, Patrick Henry College grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Academic and technical programs help students reach their professional goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. The accreditation status of this institution is unknown.

    #11

    Hampton University

    Hampton, VA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    4,293

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $28024

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $28024

    Hampton University, located in Hampton, Virginia, enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #12

    Randolph-Macon College

    Ashland, VA

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    1,543

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $42550

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $42550

    From its campus in Ashland, Virginia, Randolph-Macon College enrolls students in 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. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Randolph-Macon College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Hampden-Sydney College

    Hampden-Sydney, VA

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    993

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $46890

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $46890

    Hampden-Sydney College, a private institution in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, enrolls learners in multiple programs. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #14

    University of Management and Technology

    Arlington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    342

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $9450

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9450

    University of Management and Technology, which offers programs from its Arlington, Virginia campus, often ranks among the top schools. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Visit the program's website to find information on the typical timeline for completion. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. The school holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

    #15

    Eastern Mennonite University

    Harrisonburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    1,358

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $38230

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $38230

    Eastern Mennonite University, located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, often ranks as one of the best schools. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #16

    Shenandoah University

    Winchester, VA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    3,791

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33180

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33180

    Shenandoah University, which offers programs from its Winchester, Virginia campus, often ranks among the top schools. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of 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 operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #17

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    85,586

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $22747

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22747

    A top-ranked school, Liberty University enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. Students study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. These policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Liberty University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #18

    Hollins University

    Roanoke, VA

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    798

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $40010

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $40010

    From its Virginia campus, Hollins University offers 41 academic programs. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-instructor ratio is currently unknown. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. The school reports a graduation rate of 66%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #19

    Southside College of Health Sciences

    Colonial Heights, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    112

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15640

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15640

    Southside College of Health Sciences, located in Colonial Heights, Virginia, enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. These policies make it easier to apply. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Southside College of Health Sciences holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #20

    Roanoke College

    Salem, VA

    Graduation Rate

    70%

    Enrollment

    2,003

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $45559

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $45559

    Located in Salem, Virginia, Roanoke College operates as a private institution. Learners study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The school reports a graduation rate of 70%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #21

    Centra College of Nursing

    Lynchburg, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    369

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12325

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12325

    A private institution located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Centra College of Nursing offers a variety of programs. Students complete programs that prepare them 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 institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Based on their major, students take essential courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Centra College of Nursing holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #22

    Bethel College

    Hampton, VA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    30

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8420

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8420

    Located in Hampton, Virginia, Bethel College operates as a private institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The school reports a graduation rate of 0%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements. Bethel College has received accreditation from the Association for Bibical Higher Educaiton, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Graduation Rate

    13%

    Enrollment

    1,761

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $17814

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17814

    Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers 41 programs for students. The institution's many rigorous academic programs rank among the best in the nation. Information on the average student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 13%. Job seekers often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive job candidates. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements.

    #24

    Tidewater Tech-Trades

    Norfolk, VA

    Graduation Rate

    68%

    Enrollment

    420

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15401

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15401

    Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Tidewater Tech-Trades enrolls students as a private institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Tidewater Tech-Trades is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #25

    Bridgewater College

    Bridgewater, VA

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    1,754

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $36600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $36600

    Bridgewater College, located in Bridgewater, Virginia, often ranks as one of the best schools. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. Bridgewater College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #26

    Centura College-Norfolk

    Norfolk, VA

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    165

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16637

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16637

    From its campus in Norfolk, Virginia, Centura College-Norfolk enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. Centura College-Norfolk has been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #27

    Centura College-Chesapeake

    Chesapeake, VA

    Graduation Rate

    42%

    Enrollment

    144

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16637

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16637

    A top-ranked school, Centura College-Chesapeake enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Chesapeake, Virginia. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical tracks help learners meet diverse career goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. Centura College-Chesapeake holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #28

    Marymount University

    Arlington, VA

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    3,363

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33330

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33330

    Located in Arlington, Virginia, Marymount University awards degrees and certificates as a private institution. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. Learners can expect an average cost of 1089 per credit. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The private school reports a graduation rate of 58%. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Marymount University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #29

    The Art Institute of Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    248

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $19354

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19354

    The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Students study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The Art Institute of Virginia Beach is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #30

    Emory & Henry College

    Emory, VA

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    1,292

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35100

    Located in Emory, Virginia, Emory & Henry College awards degrees and certificates as a private institution. 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 amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 54%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Emory & Henry College 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

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

    Cons

    • May offer limited academic programs for non-liberal arts majors or those aspiring to non-trade and non-technical fields
    • Typically emphasize merit-based and institutional scholarships but offer limited federal financial aid options compared to public colleges
    • 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.