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Best Colleges In Delaware

Last Updated on November 21, 2022 by Ibrahim Agboola

Delaware, the “Small Wonder” state, has eight accredited colleges and universities. Explore the options and compare Delaware degree programs with our free database of college statistics.

The list of accredited Delaware colleges and universities is short but impressive. Delaware is America’s second smallest state, but it’s also the oldest — and its history of higher education dates back to the 1700s. The list of public and private institutions in Delaware includes two associate’s colleges, one baccalaureate college, two research universities, a master’s university and two special-focus institutions. Hundreds of college majors are available in-state. Various for-profit career schools offer training too.
Delaware residents can also earn affordable college degrees out of state. The Academic Common Market lets Delaware residents get in-state rates for nearly 2000 degree programs throughout the South.

Best Colleges In Delaware

The Delaware college and university collection is small but mighty. Here are introductions to the eight Delaware schools accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Delaware (UD) is the state’s oldest institution of higher learning. Nearly 23,000 students attended UD online or on campus during the 2014-2015 academic year. This high-ranking university offers 125 majors and 75 minors.

  • Delaware State University is the state’s only historically black college or university. It dates back to the 1890s and enrolls approximately 3500 undergraduates and graduate students. Del State offers 51 undergraduate degrees, 25 master’s degrees and five doctoral degrees.
  • Wilmington University is Delaware’s largest private nonprofit university and is devoted to doctoral education. It offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. Approximately 20,000 students enrolled for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • The Delaware College of Art and Design (DCAD) offers associate’s degrees in fine art. This very small private college was co-founded by the renowned Pratt Institute and Corcoran College of Art and Design. Most students use DCAD as a stepping stone to Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs.
  • The Delaware Technical Community College grants associate’s degrees. It’s the state’s only public community college. It enrolled about 23,500 students for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Goldey-Beacom College is a private school that attracts students from around the world. It grants associate degrees, bachelor degrees, master degrees and certificates in a variety of disciplines. Roughly 1600 students enrolled for 2015-2016.
  • Wesley College is a small liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls approximately 2500 students. Most pursue liberal arts degrees but the school also has professional degree programs in nursing, business and other disciplines.
  • Widener University is a private college serving undergraduates and graduate students. It offers liberal arts and professional degrees at the associate’s level through the doctoral level. Widener is the only Delaware school with a law program accredited by the American Bar Association.

Delaware colleges and universities clearly offer an impressive selection of degree and certificate programs — but if these aren’t enough, explore the out-of-state degree programs that are made affordable through the Academic Common Market. The Academic Common Market lets Delaware residents pay in-state rates for degree programs in these southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

RankSchool NameCityStateNet CostSchool LevelRetention RateDistance Learning
1Academy of Massage and BodyworkBearDEN/AVocationalN/ANo
2Dawn Career Institute IncWilmingtonDEN/AVocationalN/AYes
3Delaware College of Art and DesignWilmingtonDEN/A2 year89.66%No
4Delaware Learning Institute of CosmetologyDagsboroDEN/AVocational67.86%No
5Delaware State UniversityDoverDE$12,6034 year68.91%Yes
6Delaware Technical Community College-Central OfficeDoverDEN/A2 yearN/ANo
7Delaware Technical Community College-OwensGeorgetownDE$6,6142 year59.7%Yes
8Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/WilmingtonWilmingtonDE$6,9252 year56.56%Yes
9Delaware Technical Community College-TerryDoverDE$6,6642 year56.9%Yes
10Goldey-Beacom CollegeWilmingtonDEN/A4 year76.34%No
11Harris School of Business-Dover CampusDoverDEN/AVocational73.77%No
12Harris School of Business-Wilmington CampusWilmingtonDEN/AVocational70.75%No
13Margaret H Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Medical CenterLewesDEN/A2 yearN/ANo
14Paul Mitchell the School-DelawareNewarkDEN/AVocational76.19%No
15Schilling-Douglas School of Hair Design LLCNewarkDEN/AVocational75.47%No
16Strayer University-DelawareNewarkDEN/A4 year0%Yes
17University of DelawareNewarkDE$15,4074 year91.49%Yes
18Wesley CollegeDoverDEN/A4 year54%Yes
19Widener University-Delaware CampusWilmingtonDEN/A4 year100%Yes
20Wilmington UniversityNew CastleDEN/A4 year60.52%Yes

Fun Facts about Delaware

What does “Delaware” mean? What makes Delaware unique? Here are some useful and fun facts about Delaware.

  • The name “Delaware” honors Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. He was the first governor of Virginia.
  • In addition to the nickname “Small Wonder,” Delaware is known as “The First State.” Delaware was the first colony to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
  • Delaware is just 96 miles long. Depending on where you measure, it’s between nine and 35 miles wide. After Rhode Island it is America’s smallest state in terms of square miles.
  • For such a small state, Delaware is loaded with options for outdoor recreation. The northern part of the state has rolling hills and is ideal for hiking and biking. Central Delaware has beautiful waterways for kayaking and canoeing, and the southern part of the state features bays, dunes and Atlantic Coast beaches.
  • Delaware has one of the smallest populations among US states. In 2012 the census count was 917,092. However, it’s one of America’s most densely populated states; approximately 400 people occupy the average square mile.
  • Delaware has one of America’s highest concentrations of PhDs.
  • Save at the shops. Delaware is one of only five states that don’t charge sales tax.
  • The climate in Delaware is rather mild. More than half the days are sunny and temperatures rarely drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical temperature on a summer day is about 75 degrees.
  • The only Delaware city with more than 50,000 people is Wilmington – but driving just two hours from Delaware you can reach Baltimore, Philadelphia or Washington, DC.
  • Delaware’s History Trail features 36 points of interest such as restored 18th century towns, America’s oldest surviving courthouse, and the Golden Fleece Tavern. The Golden Fleece Tavern is where Delaware’s representatives ratified the Constitution of the United States in 1787.
  • Do you enjoy fine wines and craft beers? Delaware’s scenic Wine and Ale Trail features 17 breweries, wineries and spirit distilleries to help you unwind.

Best Affordable Schools In Delaware For Bachelor’s Degree

In the following ranking, we evaluate colleges and universities that offer the most affordable bachelor’s degrees in Delaware. The state is unassuming and small, and its best feature may be its closeness to other large cities. However, it is a benefit worth mentioning as students who attend any of the following six schools will find themselves within driving distance of several hot spots on the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Prospective students may wish to consider the following inexpensive Delaware colleges and universities as their all-access pass to permanent job opportunities, cultural venues, and internships. As an extra benefit, the six schools listed below offer tuition rates that often fall under the national average. In other words, while Delaware is not home to very many institutions of higher learning, it makes up for it in value in terms of student satisfaction, return on investment, and affordability.

Popular majors for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Delaware include accounting, business and manufacturing, and science and engineering. With an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent as of March 2019, slightly lower than the national average of 3.8 percent for the same month, prospective students are sure to find a school and program that prepares them for entry-level careers after graduation. However, actually searching for schools and narrowing down your options can be time-consuming, especially if you are undecided about your major, which is why we developed a methodology by which to award points and rank the most affordable bachelor’s degree colleges in Delaware.

Methodology

We gathered a list of the most inexpensive institutions of higher learning in Delaware that offer bachelor’s degrees with the goal of providing our readers with a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate list. We awarded points as outlined below based on three critical factors pertaining to affordability, level of student success and satisfaction, and the size of the classes one can expect to find at these colleges and universities. To achieve this, we collected information for each school’s graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and tuition rates and awarded points accordingly. Although there are other factors to keep in mind as you compare and contrast schools, including extracurriculars such as organizations or clubs, opportunities for internships or hands-on learning, or the majors or concentrations that a school provides, we deemed these three factors the most important as they are usually the first things student look for when they are researching online or on-campus bachelor’s degrees in Delaware. In order to get our initial list of schools, we consulted the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and conducted a search for the term “colleges in Delaware.” We then double-checked our results with each school’s website to ensure our data was current and up-to-date as of 2019.

AVERAGE COST OF ATTENDANCE

We would be remiss if we did not compare tuition rates when developing a list of low-cost bachelor’s degree colleges in Delaware. After all, not only is tuition is likely the first thing you look for in a program, it is also one of the most important aspects of a school to consider. With our help, you can avoid wasting time researching a college’s programs, location, faculty, concentrations, extracurriculars, and other offerings if you know from the state that the tuition is out of your budget. Here, we have compiled tuition rates all in one place for you to easily navigate, awarding points based on how much an in-state student would pay for one year’s tuition if he or she were to complete 15 hours of coursework per semester. Although out-of-state tuition rates were not factored into our ranking in terms of points awarded, these figures are good to know for prospective students who are not from Delaware but still considering attending one of its colleges or universities.

Points:
Under $7,500: 3 points
$7,500 to $15,000: 2 points
$15,001 and above: 1 point

STUDENT-TO-FACULTY RATIO

We also took student-to-faculty ratios into consideration in order to get a sense of the size of each school’s classes. Although enrollment rates are useful for determining the size of the school itself, student-to-faculty ratios tell us specifically about the learning environment. Think about your own preferences when figuring out whether you would thrive in a large or small classroom setting. Are you looking for opportunities to develop close relationships with your peers and professors, or do you thrive in classrooms in which you can blend in and simply focus on your work without additional academic support? Although there are benefits to attending a large university as well as a small college, both of which are located throughout Delaware, for this ranking, we awarded the highest number of points to schools that reported the lowest student-to-faculty ratios.

Points:
10:1 or less: 3 points
11:1 to 15:1: 2 points
Greater than 15:1: 1 point

GRADUATION RATE

Many students who are narrowing down prospective colleges and universities that they might want to attend will look at admissions rates to get a feel for how selective a particular school is in terms of accepting students. However, another important factor to consider is how many students actually graduate with their degree which is, ultimately, the goal. For instance, a college or university with a low graduation rate might raise some red flags as this figure may indicate that students are leaving before finishing their program for one reason or another, potentially due to unaffordable tuition rates, unhelpful or inexperienced faculty members, or poor or nonexistent academic support. Therefore, we felt that schools with the highest graduation rates deserved the most points based on the following ranges.

Points
More than 50 percent: 3 points
Between 30 percent and 50 percent: 2 points
Less than 30 percent: 1 point

6. Delaware Technical Community College

DOVER, DELAWARE

Points: 3

Established in 1966, Delaware Technical Community College is the state’s only community college. The school is made up of four campuses in Dover, Wilmington, Stanton, and Georgetown that enroll more than 23,500 students across all locations in low-cost diploma, certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs. Students may pursue more than 100 fields of study such as visual communications, transportation, public service, health and science, engineering and energy, education, culinary arts, computer technology, business, and agriculture. At the bachelor’s level, DTCC only confers one degree: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Approximately 53 percent of the student body identify as persons of color or minority, and 95 percent of DTCC students are residents of Delaware. Students are encouraged to become involved in on-campus activities, and DTCC offers more than 50 organizations and clubs that provide students with opportunities to explore their interests. Many on-campus extracurricular programs are affiliated with certain areas of study such as visual communications, nursing, engineering, education, culinary arts, criminal justice, and architectural/civil engineering.

In-State Tuition: $4,904
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,632
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: N/A
Graduation Rate: N/A

5. Wesley College

DOVER, DELAWARE

Points: 4

Founded as Wilmington Conference Academy, a preparatory school, in 1873, Wesley College is now a private liberal arts college located in Dover, Delaware. The oldest private institution in the state, Wesley offers 30 affordable majors to more than 1,500 undergraduate students in areas of study such as fine arts, education, health sciences, business, and the arts and sciences. The school’s 50-acre main campus is located in the historic district of Delaware’s capital city and features recreational facilities, 20 buildings, and a library. Students may participate in more than 40 co-curricular organizations, including community service groups, special interest groups, academic clubs, recreation and intramural sports, Greek life, the Student Activities Board, and student government. Wesley also awards nearly $42 million in scholarships and financial aid each year, and 98% of students receive financial assistance such as on-campus employment, work-study, student loans, state and federal grants, institutional grants, and scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition.

In-State Tuition: $26,406
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,406
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduation Rate: 17 percent

4. Goldey-Beacom College

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE

Points: 4

Located in Wilmington, Delaware, Goldey-Beacom College is a private college that enrolls fewer than 650 undergraduates and more than 1,700 postgraduates each year. Thanks to GBC’s location, students may easily travel to New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore for internships or weekend getaways. The school utilizes a semester-based academic calendar, and it confers affordable diplomas, certificates, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Students have the option of completing courses year-round through 15- or eight-week sessions, or through rigorous seminars. The affordable Delaware college offers cheap Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology, English, and criminal justice, and it plans to offer new programs in human services as well as communication and media in the fall of 2020. Bachelor of Science options include programs in finance, economics, accounting, and business administration with 11 available concentrations. Whether a student’s interest is business-focused, creative, cultural, or political, GBC offers more than a dozen student organizations and clubs in which students are encouraged to participate.

In-State Tuition: $24,300
Out-of-State Tuition: $24,300
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduation Rate: 37 percent

3. Wilmington University

NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE

Points: 5

Founded as Wilmington College in 1968, Wilmington University is a private, doctoral research university with a main campus in New Castle, Delaware as well as more than 14 regional locations in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and online. The student body is comprised of more than 20,500 undergraduate and graduate students who can choose from three low-cost associate programs, 26 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees, and three doctoral programs. The school operates seven academic colleges in the following divisions: technology, the social and behavioral sciences, online and experiential learning, health professions, education, business, and the arts and sciences. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, WU’s expert faculty emphasize innovative learning, and the school promotes a student-focused academic environment, both online and face-to-face. WU is recognized as a leader in online institutions of higher learning in the state, providing more than 125 online certificate and degrees that cater to students of diverse backgrounds.

In-State Tuition: $11,210
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,210
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 26 percent

2. Delaware State University

DOVER, DELAWARE

Points: 6

Delaware State University, a public HBCU, is a close-knit community nestled on a 356-acre suburban campus in Dover, Delaware, just a short drive from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Established in 1891 as the Delaware College for Colored Students, DSU also operates two satellite campuses in Georgetown and Wilmington. The school’s vibrant and diverse student body includes nearly 5,000 students from more than 42 states and 29 countries.  DSU offers an array of affordable, career-ready, and relevant degree programs through more than 18 academic departments in five colleges: the College of Graduate, Adult, and Extended Studies; the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences; and the College of Agriculture, Science, and Technology. Popular majors at DSU include communications, criminology, kinesiology and exercise science, psychology, business, and social work and youth services. Students may go beyond the classroom to strengthen their individual character with more than 100 student organizations.

In-State Tuition: $7,868
Out-of-State Tuition: $16,904
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 37 percent

1. University of Delaware

NEWARK, DELAWARE

Points: 7

Located in Newark, Delaware, the University of Delaware is a public research university and the largest institution of higher learning in the state. Established in 1743, three of the first 10 students to enroll at UD, James Smith, Thomas McKean, and George Read, would go on to sign the Declaration of Independence. UD ranks among the top universities in the U.S. for its 82 percent graduation rate, high research activity, and high-tech facilities. The school offers more than 140 affordable degree programs to more than 24,000 students, including nationally recognized programs in engineering, business, science, public administration, agriculture, biochemistry, and biomolecular and chemical engineering. In addition, UD’s graduate program in physical therapy is ranked as the number one program of its kind in the nation. Approximately 30 percent of students enroll in more than 100 study-abroad programs in more than 40 countries. Outside the classroom, students may join more than 300 student organizations or participate in NCAA Division I athletic teams.

In-State Tuition: $13,680
Out-of-State Tuition: $34,310
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 82 percent

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Most In-Demand Careers in Delaware for Graduates With a Bachelor’s Degree?

No one job suits every graduate, but many of the top positions have a few attributes in common: They provide a satisfying work-life balance, offer room to grow throughout our careers, aren’t too stressful, match our skills and talents, challenge us year after year, and pay well. Another consideration, especially among job-seekers, is whether the position is in demand. U.S. News & World Report indicates that the top-ranked careers that are in demand across the country include software developer, statistician, physician assistant, dentist, and nurse anesthetist followed by orthodontist, nurse practitioner, pediatrician, obstetrician and gynecologist, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

However, when we take a look at statistics pertaining specifically to the state of Delaware, we find that what is popular across the country is not necessarily in the greatest demand in the First State. According to the Delaware Department of Labor, the following occupations are the top 10 most in-demand careers — and their entry-level starting salaries — in Delaware when it comes to getting a job where a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education required for most openings:

  • Software Developer, Applications: $75,000
  • Chemist: $73,050
  • Registered Nurse: $58,178
  • Financial Analyst: $56,784
  • Accountant and Auditor: $53,373
  • Secondary School Teacher: $48,474
  • Elementary School Teacher: $46,222
  • Market Research Analyst and Marketing Specialist: $52,062
  • Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent: $45,781
  • Human Resources Specialist: $43,181

As we can see, the hot industries include healthcare, computer and information technology, finance, business, and education. According to America’s Career Infonet, the largest employers in the state include Christiana Care Health System, Christiana Hospital, Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Bayhealth Milford Memorial, and Ncc911. Companies such as Allen Harim Foods LLC, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Division of Serves for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, Integrity Staffing Solutions, and the Delaware Park Horsemen’s Association round out the top 10.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Delaware?

As you consider your career path, you might be wondering about the money you will make after you earn your degree. Whether you are still deciding between a few jobs or you know the exact occupation you see yourself in after graduation, knowing salary earnings from various industries can help you to make the best decision possible when it comes to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Delaware. For this reason, we decided to compile data gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a resource that calculates occupational employment and wage estimates and statistics across all 50 states. According to the BLS, salary figures and earnings were collected from both nonmetropolitan and metropolitan areas in Delaware from employers in all industries. The annual mean wage across all occupations was $53,320, or $25,63 per hour, as of May 2018, the most recent data available. The BLS reports that the five top-paying jobs in Delaware include:

  • Surgeons: $277,280
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $268,530
  • Dentists, General: $264,440
  • Physicians and Surgeons, All Other: $216,600
  • Family and General Practitioners: $214,170

Pediatricians, nurse anesthetists, and general internists also made the list, reporting annual salaries of $211,370, $187,860, and $182,950, respectively. However, for our purposes, we wanted to look at other occupations that students could pursue with just a bachelor’s degree or with an undergraduate degree and additional on-the-job training or experience. Although law schools and medical schools require a bachelor’s degree at minimum to be accepted into their programs, other high-paying occupations in Delaware with annual median salaries of $100,000 or higher include:

  • Sales Managers: $174,940
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers: $169,720
  • Financial Managers: $167,110
  • Marketing Managers: $163,090
  • Architectural and Engineering Managers: $157,490
  • General and Operations Managers: $150,940
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators: $147,160
  • Human Resources Managers: $144,060
  • Sales Engineers: $142,360
  • Advertising and Promotions Managers: $140,380
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: $136,930
  • Medical and Health Services Managers: $131,260
  • Computer Network Architects: $126,990
  • Personal Financial Advisors: $126,880
  • Construction Managers: $124,000

The BLS also provides data regarding the highest paying industries in Delaware by considering all job titles and occupations within the larger sector. According to the BLS, management occupations topped the list, earning an average of $140,240 across all positions, followed by legal occupations, which reported an annual mean wage of $122,140 per year. Computer and mathematical occupations earned $93,550, while architecture and engineering occupations saw average yearly salaries of $91,430. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations rounded out the top five, bringing home $87,520 per year.

What Are the Best Schools in Delaware for Bachelor’s Recipients?

Graduates who complete a specialized degree program in Delaware may be at an advantage when it comes to securing employment. Graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree from top-ranked schools earn a significantly higher salary than those with merely a high school diploma, and salaries often top the national average. So, how do you know which schools are worth your money and time? To learn more about salary earnings from the schools listed above, we consulted Payscale, where we gathered data pertaining to the average salary for bachelor’s degrees in specific majors as well as 20-year net returns on investment (ROI), or the amount a graduate can expect to earn after working in his or her field for 20 years. Data for early and mid-career salary earnings was unavailable at the time of this article. We ranked each school in order based on ROI in descending order.

  • 1. University of Delaware: $488,000
  • 2. Goldey-Beacom College: $264,000
  • 3. Delaware State University: $176,000
  • 4. Wesley College: $83,500

If you are looking for the Delaware college that provides the best value for your money, the University of Delaware is the place to be. Its 20-year net ROI is nearly 46% higher than the next school, and UD provides both in-state and out-of-state students with a high-quality, affordable education for the cost of a bachelor’s degree. Next, let’s take a look at several specific bachelor’s degree and major areas of study to determine the type of undergraduate degree that results in the highest salaries across all colleges and universities in Delaware:

  • Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering: $85,652
  • Bachelor of Technology: $84,506
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: $84,097
  • Bachelor of Engineering: $81,697
  • Bachelor of Arts and Sciences: $65,226
  • Bachelor of Science: $64,918
  • Bachelor of Business Administration: $64,536
  • Bachelor of Accountancy: $63,874
  • Bachelor of Business: $62,738
  • Bachelor of Arts: $58,973
  • Bachelor of Finance: $57,244
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts: $48,058
  • Bachelor of Education: $48,000

Delaware is home to some of the top-ranked special interest and research programs in the U.S. Highlights among the state’s four-year colleges and universities include national space- and sea-grant fellowship initiatives, land-grant research, and state-sponsored program. Although there is no medical school in Delaware, the state does provide a public HBCU, a law school, and an institute for medical research and education. Regardless of the specific industry in which you would like to work or the career path you are following, between the two-year and four-year institutions of higher learning housed across the state, you are sure to find an affordable bachelor’s degree college in Delaware to meet your academic needs and professional goals.