public universities in Virginia

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

Public Universities in Virginia for College Students–Virginia is one of the few states that truly understands the value of higher education. The state has taken steps to ensure that it provides affordable educational opportunities for all its residents. That is why there are so many colleges within this southern state, and so many universities serving the state’s diverse population.

Visit for more information regarding private colleges in virginia, small public colleges in virginia & community colleges in virginia.

best universities in virginia

This is a list of colleges and universities in the U.S. state of Virginia. The oldest college or university in Virginia is The College of William and Mary, founded in 1693. In 2010, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine became the newest. The largest institution is Liberty University, with over 110,000 students. The smallest is the graduate-only Institute for the Psychological Sciences.

Accolades: UVA Lands at No. 5 Among Public Universities in Forbes List |  UVA Today

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia defines four categories of degree-granting institutions of postsecondary education: public institutions, established private institutions in good standing with a nationally recognized accrediting organization, private and out-of-state institutions requiring certification and institutions exempt from state oversight for religious reasons.

Also exempt from certification are vocational institutions supervised by other state agencies, and institutions supervised by the federal government. All public institutions and most traditional private institutions are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Other state-certified private non-religious institutions are accredited by a national organization, though a few do not have any accreditation. Some small religious institutions do not have accreditation.

NameLocation(s)ControlCarnegie ClassificationAccreditationFoundedEnrollment
American National UniversityMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityACICS18861,072
Appalachian College of PharmacyOakwoodPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusACPE2003225
Appalachian School of LawGrundyPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusABA1994313
Averett UniversityDanvillePrivate (Not For Profit)Masters UniversitySACS1859965
Bluefield CollegeBluefieldPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS19221,155
Blue Ridge Community CollegeWeyers CavePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS19674,099
Bridgewater CollegeBridgewaterPrivate
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS18801,857
Central Virginia Community CollegeLynchburgPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS19664,047
Christendom CollegeFront RoyalPrivate
Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsPublicMasters UniversitySACS19604,957
College of William and MaryWilliamsburgPublicResearch universitySACS16938,817
Dabney S. Lancaster Community CollegeClifton ForgePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19641,257
Danville Community CollegeDanvillePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19363,982
Divine Mercy UniversitySterlingPrivate (Not For Profit)Doctoral UniversitySACS1999360
Eastern Mennonite UniversityHarrisonburgPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS19171,444
Eastern Shore Community CollegeMelfaPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS1971839
Eastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkPrivate (Not For Profit)Doctoral UniversitySACS1973790
ECPI UniversityMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS196612,764
Emory and Henry CollegeEmoryPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS18361,246
Ferrum CollegeFerrumPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS19131,124
George Mason UniversityFairfaxPublicResearch universitySACS195737,316
George Washington UniversityMultiple[10]Private (Not For Profit)Research universityMSCHE182128,172
Germanna Community CollegeLocust GrovePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19707,207
Hampden-Sydney CollegeHampden SydneyPrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS17751,072
Hampton UniversityHamptonPrivate (Not For Profit)Masters UniversitySACS18684,321
Hollins UniversityRoanokePrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS1842805
Institute for the Psychological SciencesArlingtonPrivate
Doctoral UniversitySACS1997145
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community CollegeRichmondPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS197211,861
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgPublicMasters UniversitySACS190821,787
Jefferson College of Health SciencesRoanokePrivateDoctoral UniversitySACS19821,128
Brightpoint Community CollegeChesterPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS196710,144
Liberty UniversityLynchburgPrivate
Research universitySACS197179,152
Longwood UniversityFarmvillePublicMasters UniversitySACS18394,911
Laurel Ridge Community CollegeMiddletownPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS19706,996
University of LynchburgLynchburgPrivate
Masters UniversitySACS19033,081
Marine Corps University[12]QuanticoPublic
(United States Marine Corps)
Mary Baldwin UniversityStauntonPrivateMasters UniversitySACS18421,902
Marymount UniversityArlingtonPrivate
Masters UniversitySACS19503,418
Mountain Empire Community CollegeBig Stone GapPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19722,718
National CollegeMultiple[10]PrivateJunior collegeACICS188614,625
New River Community CollegeDublinPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19594,419
Norfolk State UniversityNorfolkPublicMasters UniversitySACS19355,616
Northern Virginia Community CollegeAnnandalePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS196451,487
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkPublicResearch universitySACS193024,176
Patrick & Henry Community CollegeMartinsvillePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19622,900
Paul D. Camp Community CollegeFranklinPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19701,288
Piedmont Virginia Community CollegeCharlottesvillePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19725,445
Radford UniversityRadfordPublicMasters UniversitySACS19109,335
Randolph-Macon CollegeAshlandPrivateBaccalaureate collegeSACS18301,488
Randolph CollegeLynchburgPrivateBaccalaureate collegeSACS1891626
Rappahannock Community CollegeGlenns, WarsawPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19693,082
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachPrivate
Doctoral UniversitiesSACS197710,456
Richard Bland CollegePetersburgPublic
(Junior college associated with the College of William and Mary)
Junior collegeSACS19602,475
Roanoke CollegeSalemPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS18422,017
Sentara College of Health SciencesChesapeakePrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeABHES1892475
Shenandoah UniversityWinchesterPrivate
Masters UniversitySACS18753,817
Southside Virginia Community CollegeAlberta, KeysvillePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19705,352
Southwest Virginia Community CollegeRichlandsPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19682,373
Stratford University[13]Alexandria, Falls Church, Glen Allen, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Woodbridge, Baltimore, New Delhi, OnlinePrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityACICS19762,849
Sweet Briar CollegeSweet BriarPrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate / Associates CollegesSACS1901[14]337
Thomas Nelson Community CollegeHamptonPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19687,685
Tidewater Community CollegeChesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia BeachPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS196820,941
Union Presbyterian SeminaryRichmondPrivate
Special focusATS1896146
University of Management and TechnologyArlingtonPrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeDETC1998251
University of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgPublicMasters universitySACS19084,727
University of RichmondRichmondPrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS18304,002
University of the PotomacWashington DC, Vienna, VA, onlinePrivate (For Profit)Doctoral UniversitySACS19891652
University of VirginiaCharlottesvillePublicResearch universitySACS181924,639
University of Virginia’s College at WiseWisePublic
(University of Virginia)
Baccalaureate collegeSACS19542,065
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondPublicResearch universitySACS183831,076
Virginia Highlands Community CollegeAbingdonPublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19692,387
Virginia International UniversityFairfaxPrivate (Not For Profit)Masters UniversityACICS1998282
Virginia Military InstituteLexingtonPublicBaccalaureate collegeSACS18391,685
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)BlacksburgPublicResearch universitySACS187234,850
Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary MedicineBlacksburgPublic
(Jointly by Virginia Tech & University of Maryland)
Masters UniversitySACS1978700
Virginia State UniversityPetersburgPublicMasters UniversitySACS18824,385
Virginia Union UniversityRichmondPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS18651,561
Virginia University of Science & TechnologyMcLeanPrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityUnaccredited2016Unknown
Virginia Wesleyan CollegeNorfolkPrivate
Baccalaureate collegeSACS19611,437
Virginia Western Community CollegeRoanokePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19666,827
Washington and Lee UniversityLexingtonPrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS17492,223
Wytheville Community CollegeWythevillePublic
(Virginia Community College System)
Junior collegeSACS19632,514
Drum Roll, Please. And the Top Ranked Virginia Colleges Are… | Bacon's  Rebellion

Private and out-of-state institutions

ACT CollegeArlingtonPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedABHES1983401
Advanced Institute of TechnologyVirginia BeachPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizedACCSC19921040
American Digital UniversitySterlingPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizednoneUnknownUnknown
American Public University SystemManassasPrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityHLC1991Unknown
Appalachian College of PharmacyOakwoodPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusSACS, ACPE2003207
Aviation Institute of MaintenanceMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeACCSC1969509
Bethel CollegeHamptonPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone188776
Bon Secours Memorial College of NursingRichmondPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedACICS1961300
Boston University Metropolitan CollegeArlingtonPrivate
Research universityNEASC1965Unknown
Bryant & Stratton CollegeMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeMSCHE18541852
Cambridge CollegeChesapeakePrivate (Not For Profit)Masters UniversityNEASC19712,234
Catholic Distance UniversityHamiltonPrivate
Catholic University of AmericaArlingtonPrivate
Research universityMSCHE18875,956
Central Michigan UniversityMultiplePublicResearch universityHLC189221,705
Central Texas CollegeFort LeePublicAssociate’s collegeSACS196516,073
Centura CollegeMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Career CollegeACCSC19831927
Chamberlain College of NursingArlingtonPrivate (For Profit)Special focusHLC1889Unknown
Columbia CollegeFairfaxPrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeCOE1999310
DeVry UniversityMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityHLC19311868
Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic MedicineBlacksburgPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusCOCA2002759
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityNorfolkPrivateMasters UniversitySACS19266,613
Everest CollegeMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeACICS20072,251
Florida Institute of TechnologyMultiplePrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedSACS19586,291
Fortis CollegeMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeACICS2008942
Georgetown UniversityArlingtonPrivate (Not For Profit)Research universityMSCHE178919,204
Global Health CollegeAlexandriaPrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegenone2004276
HyperLearning Technologies, Inc.Virginia BeachPrivate (For Profit)Uncategorizednone1995Unknown
IGlobal UniversityViennaPrivate (For Profit)UnknownACCSC2008Unknown
International College of WashingtonAnnandalePrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1966Unknown
Johns Hopkins UniversityArlingtonPrivate (For Profit)Research universityMSCHE187626,152
Kaplan CollegeChesapeakePrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeACICS1938574
Kings Park University School of Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineCedar BluffPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizednoneUnknownUnknown
Life Pacific CollegeChristiansburgPrivate
Special focusWASC-ACCJC1923619
Lindsey Wilson College School of Professional CounselingRichlandsPrivate
Medtech InstituteFalls ChurchPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizedCOE1939531
Mercyhurst CollegeMcLeanPrivate
Masters UniversityMSCHE19262,705
Missouri State UniversityFairfaxPublicMasters UniversityHLC190623,697
The National Graduate SchoolArlingtonPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedNEASC1909Unknown
National Massage Therapy InstituteFalls ChurchPrivateUncategorizedABHES1998Unknown
Nova Southeastern UniversityRoanokePrivateResearch universitySACS196420,435
Patrick Henry CollegePurcellvillePrivate (Not For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeTRACS2000325
Potomac CollegeHerndonPrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeMSCHE190140
Reformed Theological SeminaryMcLeanPrivate
Faith-related InstitutionATS1966Unknown
Saint Leo UniversityMultiplePrivate
Masters UniversitySACS18895,232
Saint Michael College of Allied HealthAlexandriaPrivate (For Profit)Uncategorizednone1971193
Sanford-Brown CollegeViennaPrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeACICS1920744
Skyline CollegeRoanokePrivate (For Profit)Associate’s collegeACCSC1969355
South Baylo UniversityAnnandalePrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1977410
South UniversityMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS1867536
Southern Illinois University CarbondaleVirginia BeachPublicResearch universityHLCUnknownUnknown
Southern Virginia UniversityBuena VistaPrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate collegeSACS18671,035
Southside Regional Medical Center Professional SchoolsPetersburgPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizedJRCERT1895131
Strayer UniversityMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Masters UniversityMSCHE189212,918
University of FairfaxViennaPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedDETC2002Unknown
University of Maryland Global Campus formerly UMUCFort BelvoirPublicResearch universityMSCHE1807Unknown
University of North AmericaViennaPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizedACICS2008310
University of PhoenixMultiplePrivateSpecial focusHLCUnknown1172
Valley Forge Christian CollegeWoodbridgePrivate
Baccalaureate collegeMSCHEUnknownUnknown
Virginia CollegeRichmondPrivate (For Profit)UncategorizedACICS1983Unknown
Virginia School of MassageCharlottesvillePrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedACCSC1995Unknown
Virginia School of Nursing & Medical InstituteSpringfieldPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1901Unknown
Virginia Tech Carilion School of MedicineRoanokePublic/
Virginia University of LynchburgLynchburgPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusTRACS1886555
Virginia University of Oriental MedicineFairfaxPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone2004Unknown
Washington Baptist UniversityAnnandalePrivate
Webster UniversityFort BelvoirPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedHLC1915Unknown
Westwood College Of TechnologyMultiplePrivate (For Profit)Baccalaureate / Associate’s collegeACICS19531043
World CollegeVirginia BeachPrivate (Not For Profit)UncategorizedDETC1992Unknown
William Samson UniversityAlexandriaPrivate (Not For Profit)Doctoral universityNone2012Unknown
Colleges in Virginia

Primarily religious institutions

Baptist Theological Seminary at RichmondRichmondPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusATS199163
Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary (Springfield Extension)SpringfieldPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1958Unknown
Cordoba UniversityAshburnPrivate
Hartland CollegeRapidanPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1983Unknown
John Leland Center for Theological StudiesFalls ChurchPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1998Unknown
Virginia Theological SeminaryAlexandriaPrivate (Not For Profit)Uncategorizednone1818216
William Samson UniversityAlexandriaPrivate (Not For Profit)Doctoral universityNone2012Unknown
Union Presbyterian SeminaryRichmondPrivate (Not For Profit)Special focusATS2012146

virginia public universities ranking

In a state with renowned higher education institutions, it can be a challenge to sort through the college options best for your student. That’s where rankings from various publication can help, giving you an idea of the strengths universities have and their costs.

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville is the best public college in the Commonwealth, according to new national rankings published by Business First. Business First released its 2019 rankings Monday after analyzing data for more than 500 public colleges across the country.

Here are the colleges and overall rankings for the schools in Virginia:

  • University of Virginia, No. 3
  • College of William and Mary, No. 8
  • Virginia Tech, No. 32
  • Virginia Military Institute, No. 38
  • George Mason University, No. 55
  • James Madison University, No. 60
  • University of Mary Washington, No. 106
  • Christopher Newport University, No. 116
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, No. 147
  • Radford University, No. 174
  • Old Dominion University, No. 213
$1 billion in state funding to Virginia universities aimed at creating  workers for Amazon, other tech firms

The best public university in America is the University of Michigan, according to the rankings. The university has earned the top spot in four of the last five annual rankings released by Business First. The authors praised Michigan for its selectivity in admissions — just 26.5 percent of applicants are accepted — high retention and graduation rates, and strong surrounding job market.

virginia colleges and universities

Virginia features some of the best colleges and universities in the nation. Graduates in the state can look forward to joining an expanding job market and lucrative career possibilities, as well as the opportunity to live and play in a land rich in history and natural beauty.

According to Virginia’s Employment Commission, the industries projected to add the most employment opportunities from 2018-2028 include education and health services; professional and business services; and professional, scientific, and technical services. Jobs within these sectors include accountant, human resources manager, financial analyst, and teacher.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants and auditors in Virginia earn an annual average salary of $85,720. Additionally, human resources managers in Virginia boast an average annual salary of $139,610. To qualify for these lucrative positions, candidates typically need a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related industry.

Fortunately, there are several colleges in Virginia that can help prepare graduates for these dynamic roles. To help you make an informed decision about where to go to school, we ranked the 10 best colleges in Virginia. Read on to learn about each school’s programs and admission requirements, as well as features that make each institution unique.

What Are the 2021 Best Colleges in Virginia


University of Virginia-Main Campus

Public Colleges in Virginia

LocationCharlottesville, VA

The University of Virginia offers over 300 courses completely online, spanning nine schools and colleges and 18 degree programs. This public institution offers distance learners helpful orientations, an online health and wellness center, 24/7 technical support, and personalized academic success resources.

All online students at UVA pay in-state tuition rates. Prospective learners can apply by submitting an online application and fee, official transcripts, and recommendations. All applicants can apply for the 2021-2022 school year under a test-optional policy.

The University of Virginia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile2

Washington and Lee University

LocationLexington, VA

A small, private school located in Lexington, Washington and Lee University currently serves under 2,000 students annually. Its small size allows the university to maintain a low 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, W&L currently offers 36 undergraduate majors and 37 undergraduate minors. Additionally, the institution offers graduate studies through its Graduate School of Law.

First-year application requirements include the Common Application and the Questbridge application, official transcripts, two teacher recommendations, one guidance or college counselor recommendation, and self-reported standardized test scores.

Washington and Lee University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile3

William & Mary

LocationWilliamsburg, VA

Chartered in 1693, William & Mary operates as the nation’s second-oldest institution of higher learning and was the first institution to gain university status. In total, W&M offers more than 45 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate and professional degree programs.

W&M offers online education through multiple avenues, including the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and the William & Mary School of Education. The undergraduate application process requires aspiring learners to submit an online application, official transcripts, and a $75 application fee.

William & Mary is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile4

Virginia Military Institute

LocationLexington, VA

Founded in 1839 as the first state-sponsored military college in the nation, VMI educates about 1,700 students annually. The 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio provides intimate learning for undergraduate studies.

Students at VMI can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in the arts and humanities, engineering, information and social sciences, life sciences, or natural sciences. Core curriculum requirements cover topics like written and oral communication, civilization and culture, and leadership.

Applicants must complete an online or mail-in application form and submit supporting documentation, such as a guidance counselor or school administrator recommendation, a personal statement, official high school transcripts, and a $40 application fee.

Virginia Military Institute is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile5

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

LocationBlacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech offers more than 100 undergraduate programs and about 170 master’s and doctoral programs. Students can also pursue nine online master’s degrees and 19 certificates online. Operating as an approved SARA institution through the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, Virginia Tech is recognized to provide quality distance education to online learners.

First-year applicants interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree use an online portal to submit an online application, a personal essay, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

Virginia Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile6

University of Richmond

LocationUniversity of Richmond, VA

The University of Richmond offers over 60 undergraduate programs of study across five schools and colleges. Students can also pursue master’s degree and graduate certificates in areas related to business and education. The school educates over 4,000 learners annually, and the average undergraduate class size is 16 students.

UR incorporates a holistic admissions process designed to take a big-picture look at each applicant. Aspiring students submit an online application, an essay response, official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, standardized test scores, and optional supplemental documentation.

The University of Richmond is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile7

James Madison University

LocationHarrisonburg, VA

Located in Harrisonburg, James Madison University serves almost 22,000 students annually — both on-campus and online.

JMU offers online and distance learning options for undergraduate and graduate studies, including an undergraduate adult degree program designed for working professionals looking to complete their degree. The institution also offers multiple online graduate programs through its College of Education, College of Health and Behavioral Studies, and College of Integrated Science and Engineering.

The undergraduate admissions process requires aspiring students to submit official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, a personal statement, and standardized test scores. Graduate admissions materials vary by program but typically include official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

James Madison University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile8

Christopher Newport University

LocationNewport News, VA

Christopher Newport University achieved university status in 1992 — it operated as part of the College of William & Mary until 1977. Today, about 5,000 students attend the public university annually.

CNU offers programs in four primary areas of study: arts and humanities, business, natural and behavioral sciences, and social sciences. In addition to more than 20 undergraduate departments, the university oversees four master’s programs.

CNU takes a holistic approach to the admissions process, analyzing everything from GPA and standardized test scores to the rigor of a student’s previous coursework and their class rank. Applicants can submit as much or as little amplifying documentation as they see fit.

Christopher Newport University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile9

Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

LocationDanville, VA

Accelerated coursework, online programs, and personalized attention make Averett University an appealing choice for many working professionals.

For over 30 years, Averett has offered flexible programs for distance learners. Current online offerings include applied data analytics, business, criminal justice and sociology, education, leadership, and nursing.

To apply, prospective students complete an online application, submit official transcripts, and provide a means of identification. Averett also offers a free transfer credit consultation to help individuals determine which of their previously earned credits qualify for different programs.

Averett University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.View School Profile10

George Mason University

LocationFairfax, VA

Over 37,000 students attend George Mason University each year, completing studies in more than 200 programs.

GMU’s offerings include over 50 online and hybrid programs designed and taught by the same instructors and professors as on-campus classes. Available areas of study for online learners include business and management, education, engineering and technology, health, and science and math. The university also hosts online adult degree completion programs.

Application materials for aspiring first-year students include official high school transcripts, optional SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and an optional personal statement.

George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Why Study in Virginia?

Virginia is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, including some of the most notable and distinguished schools in the nation.

Virginia is home to more than 100 colleges and universities, including some of the most notable and distinguished schools in the nation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 39% of adults in Virginia hold a bachelor’s degree or higher — considerably higher than the national average (32.1%).

Virginia also earned the number one spot on CNBC’s 2019 ranking of America’s Top States for Business. The state’s highly skilled and educated workforce played a major role in this ranking. Additionally, Amazon’s decision to open their HQ2 headquarters in Virginia centered around the state’s concentration of highly educated workers.

The state also offers residents many recreational activities. For example, individuals can learn about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the first English colony by touring the historic battlegrounds and museums of Virginia. Additionally, hikers can explore Shenandoah National Park or the Luray Caverns, while boaters and beachgoers can head to the barrier islands of Chincoteague and Assateague.

community colleges in virginia

More Americans are choosing to attend college than ever before. A report released in 2016 by the Academy of Arts and Sciences revealed that over 85% of surveyed high school graduates enrolled in college within eight years. Despite facing difficulties from declining enrollment numbers and state funding cuts, community colleges remain an important part of the fabric of higher education in the U.S.

Generally, community college offers a more affordable, accessible option than traditional four-year universities. On average, community college tuition costs half as much as that of a public university. Class sizes are smaller, too, meaning students can receive more personalized attention from experienced faculty than they would in a crowded university lecture hall.


Wytheville Community College

LocationWytheville, VA

Wytheville Community College serves learners from Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, and Wythe counties, as well as the city of Galax. More than 3,000 credit students attend classes each year at WCC’s main Wytheville campus and two extension centers in Galax and Marion.

WCC offers one of the largest program selections of any community college in Virginia. The academic catalog features more than 60 pathways for students interested in general education, university transfer, career and technical training, workforce development, or continuing education. Represented academic disciplines include business, science, education, healthcare, and technology. Thirteen certificates and two degrees can be earned entirely online. Campus engagement opportunities include clubs, organizations, and extramural sports.

All prospective students with a high school diploma or GED certificate qualify for admission to WCC. Most incoming students must complete placement tests before beginning classes.View School Profile2

Mountain Empire Community College

LocationBig Stone Gap, VA

Mountain Empire Community College serves residents of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise counties, as well as the City of Norton. Its main campus in Big Stone Gap encompasses a variety of academic buildings and outdoor facilities including recreational tennis courts and a firing range. Students can participate in clubs, intramurals, and events including alternative spring break trips.

MECC offers 32 two-year associate degrees, 10 one-year certificates, and 36 short-term career studies certificates. Respectively, these programs require 60-69, 30-59, and 9-29 credits to complete. MECC diverse programs options include an associate degree in pre-teacher education, an associate in energy technology, and a unique career studies certificate in old time music. A number of individual courses and full certificates allow for asynchronous online completion.

As an open-admissions school, MECC accepts all students who have graduated high school or completed an equivalency program. A complete application and official transcripts are required.View School Profile3

Southside Virginia Community College

LocationAlberta, VA

Southside Virginia Community College encompasses the largest geographic service area of all community colleges in Virginia, covering ten surrounding counties and the City of Emporia. SVCC welcomes approximately 4,700 students each year at the main campus in Alberta, a second campus in Keysville, three education centers, and a number of smaller off-campus sites throughout the region.

Students at SVCC can choose from 31 short-term career studies certificates, 10 one-year certificates, 12 career-focused associate degrees, and eight transfer-ready associate degrees. Each transferable associate of arts and sciences fulfills general education requirements and provides study in one of seven focus areas, including teacher education preparation, business administration, administration of justice, and agribusiness. SVCC offers online and hybrid courses for students who require scheduling flexibility.

To apply for a credit-bearing program, prospective students must provide high school transcripts or proof of GED completion, and ACT/SAT scores if available. Students without qualifying test scores must complete placement exams prior to course enrollment.View School Profile4

Rappahannock Community College

LocationGlenns, VA

Rappahannock Community College educates students at two main campuses in Glenns and Warsaw. Each full-service location offers classrooms, labs, lecture halls, a library, testing center, and recreation areas. Three additional sites in Kilmarnock, King George, and New Kent expand RCC services to the surrounding communities. Students can participate in on-campus activities and events, leadership programs, intramural sports, clubs, and off-site trips.

More than 40 academic programs are available at RCC’s various locations, including transfer programs, career-focused associate degrees, and short-term and one-year certificates. Guaranteed admission agreements ensure seamless transfer to more than 45 universities both in and out of state. RCC also offers an extensive distance learning program, with 13 credentials available through online and hybrid courses. Some of RCC’s newest program offerings include pre-BSN, networking and cybersecurity, and a diesel certificate.

RCC is an open-admissions college. Prospective students must complete an application, provide required documentation, and take a placement test unless exempt.View School Profile5

Patrick Henry Community College

LocationMartinsville, VA

Originally founded as a two-year branch of a four-year university, Patrick Henry Community College joined the ranks of independent community colleges in Virginia in 1964. PHCC is now a comprehensive, open-admissions school serving Martinsville and surrounding counties. Approximately 2,900 students enroll each year. The 137-acre main campus is supplemented by several off-site workforce development and training centers.

PHCC offers transferable associate degrees, career-ready associate degrees, and certificates. General studies, science, and health sciences are the most popular programs at PHCC, but students can select from a variety of diverse fields and disciplines including business technology, legal assisting, and culinary arts. Asynchronous distance learning is also available. Outside of class, students can join NJCAA sports teams, arts and culture events, and clubs and organizations.

To qualify for admission, applicants must provide official high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Placement testing is required unless exempt via test scores or GPA.View School Profile6

Central Virginia Community College

LocationLynchburg, VA

Central Virginia Community College serves more than 5,000 students through a main campus in Lynchburg and three extension centers in Amherst, Appomattox, and Bedford. Like other community colleges in Virginia, this two-year institution offers a number of extracurricular activities — including clubs, organizations, sports, and student government — to help provide opportunities for networking, growth, and leadership development.

CVCC offers programs of study in business, education, health sciences, art and humanities, public safety, STEM, industry/manufacturing, and social and behavioral sciences. Options include six transfer degrees, 19 associate degrees, 19 one-year certificates, and 10 short-term certificates, including a popular RN-to-paramedic bridge program. Students interested in online courses can choose from asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid formats.

Prospective students can apply to CVCC at no cost. Eligible applicants include high school graduates and GED recipients, college transfer students, and other learners who are over the age of 18.View School Profile7

Lord Fairfax Community College

LocationMiddletown, VA

A two-year institution, Lord Fairfax Community College serves more than 7,500 credit students and more than 10,000 noncredit students each year. Learning centers located in Luray and Warrenton supplement LFCC’s two main campuses in Middletown and Fauquier. In addition to world-class education, these campuses offer a number of engagement opportunities: events, clubs, organizations, recreation, and volunteering.

LFCC offers more than 75 associate degrees and certificate programs in varied disciplines including education, recreation and wellness, engineering, and administration of justice. Students undecided about their preferred focus area can complete a transferable general studies degree or general education certificate. The school features more than 300 online courses in addition to five fully online associate degrees and five fully online certificates.

Admission requirements vary for prospective credit and noncredit students. Applicants may need to provide proof of high school graduation or an equivalent. Health professions programs feature separate admissions procedures.View School Profile8

Eastern Shore Community College

LocationMelfa, VA

Originally established as a branch of the University of Virginia, Eastern Shore Community College joined the growing system of community colleges within the state in 1971. The school moved to its current 115-acre campus in Melfa in 1974 and today serves the academic, vocational, and professional development needs of residents of Accomack and Northampton counties.

ESCC’s academic offerings encompass six associate degrees designed for university transfer, seven career-focused associate degrees, five one-year certificates, and eight short-term career studies certificates. Early childhood development, medical assisting, business administration, and science are among the diverse fields of study at ESCC. Hybrid learning options and online courses — both synchronous and asynchronous — are available. Outside of the classroom, students can engage in internships, clubs and organizations, cultural events, and trips abroad.

Both high school graduates and nongraduates can apply to ESCC. Applicants without a high school diploma or GED certificate may be admitted with qualifying scores in reading, writing, and math assessments.View School Profile9

Germanna Community College

LocationLocust Grove, VA

Germanna Community College offers accessible, affordable education options for residents of the city of Fredericksburg and seven surrounding counties. The institution features two full-service campuses in Spotsylvania and Locust Grove as well as five technology and learning centers that provide expanded access to credit courses, workforce training, and other academic services.

GCC clusters programs into eight major pathways: business, health science, humanities and arts, IT and technical studies, public service, science and engineering, social science and education, and transfer programs. Each pathway offers a variety of associate degrees and one-year/short-term certificates designed to help prepare students for engaging careers in their preferred field. Some opportunities include paraprofessional counseling, cybersecurity, nursing, and business management. GCC offers online, hybrid, and interactive video courses.

GCC accepts applications from high school graduates and nongraduates alike. The school determines students’ academic placement using prior coursework, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and/or placement tests.View School Profile10

Piedmont Virginia Community College

LocationCharlottesville, VA

Piedmont Virginia Community College primarily serves residents of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties as well as the city of Charlottesville. A scenic main campus and two learning centers enroll approximately 6,000 students each year, a majority of whom attend on a part-time basis.

PVCC’s 60 academic programs help fulfill student goals for short-term training, career preparation, or university transfer. Learners must complete 60-72 credits to earn an associate degree and 9-59 credits to earn a certificate. Diverse program options include accounting, multimedia and motion graphics, chemistry, and theatre and drama. Students can also choose from a selection of online courses. Like other community colleges in Virginia, PVCC is a nonresidential institution, but learners can participate in a variety of activities, clubs, sports, and events on campus.

An open-admissions policy offers placement to both high school graduates and eligible individuals without a diploma or GED certificate. Additional requirements may apply depending on program selection.

Virginia Employment Outlook

The Virginia Employment Commission projects 6.6% job growth between 2018 and 2028, resulting in approximately 276,000 new jobs. A few of the positions projected to experience growing demand include computer systems analyst, financial manager, medical and health service manager, and market research analyst.

All of these roles offer annual salaries well above the average for all workers, and all require a bachelor’s degree or higher. For example, according to the BLS, market research analysts in Virginia earn an average annual salary of $74,630.

Additionally, in its Best State Rankings, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Virginia seventh in terms of education and ninth in terms of overall opportunity for its residents.

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