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When you are trying to determine the quality of a particular institution, what do you normally do? We’ve come up with eight quality indicators that we think are a good measure of a student’s potential “depth and breadth” of experience at an institution. Because we’re all about great value, we also took into consideration a school’s affordability, and so no college on this list has a net price (the total cost of attendance minus the average aid package) over $22,000 – roughly the typical price tag of a year of college. With enrollment north of 42,000, the University of Cincinnati provides an atmosphere of educational excellence and a commitment to research to students from around the country.
Grand Valley State, principally located just a few miles from the bustling urban area of Grand Rapids, also has a number of smaller campuses in nearby towns.
Not to be confused with Ohio University, Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the country with nearly 70,000 students across all campuses. The University of Kansas isn’t just one of the best universities in the Midwest according to our standards. The University of Missouri, colloquially known as “Mizzou,” has come a long way from its humble roots.
When you become a “Sooner,” you join a community of world-class scholars and innovative students reaching new heights every day.
The University of Wisconsin, although ranked 15th overall and 18th for its net price, has one of the highest freshmen retention rates of any school on the list at 95%. In a state home to barely 3 million people, one university stands out: the University of Iowa, a school with top-ranked programs located in one of America’s best college towns. Kansas State University, fondly known as “K-State,” has received accolades for its involvement in many educational initiatives, including a grant to increase the number of underrepresented minorities on campus, a top-ranking aviation program, and involvement in the EPA’s “Campus Rainworks Challenge.” It also boasts a nationally respected Black Student Union and much-lauded online graduate programs in education and engineering.
As the largest state school in Nebraska, U of N attracts ambitious young people from all over the Midwest.
MSU is a large public institution situated in the state’s capital, a scenic college town heavily populated with bookstores, dining establishments, bars, and entertainment venues geared toward the young people that make up a good portion of the population.
Classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a school with “high research activity,” OSU easily lives up to this claim with research centers focused on everything from agriculture and food production to toxicology. The University of Northern Iowa is the perfect mix of research institution and small campus feel. Iowa State is a large, international university with students from all over the world, including 50 states and 100 countries. North Dakota State is a student-centered, research-focused land grant institution located in the largest city of this northern state. If you live just about anywhere in Indiana (or outside the state, of course), you can get access to a Purdue education.
Truman State, named for the only Missourian to become president of the United States, is a midsize university that claims 240 student organizations, 20 NCAA Division II athletic teams, and dozens of intramural sports.
Due to the size of this university, you’d think you’d have to put up with an impersonal feel in the classroom in order to access all the academic programs and research opportunities the school provides. Although you might not have heard of Saint Cloud if you live outside the Midwest, this university carries quite a bit of clout in the region and educates over 16,000 students a year.
With a net price of less than $12,000, Indiana University at Bloomington secures the #1 spot on this list for affordability. Although Valparaiso is the most expensive school on this list and just skates under the “affordability” threshold, it is also ranked #1 for quality and so deserves a second look. How would you like to receive a free iPad Air for college that cultivates an interconnected, online campus platform with access to iBooks textbooks and personal attention from teachers? A small university of fewer than 5,000 students, Hamline is able to devote plenty of time to student success. Although Cornell College isn’t an Ivy League like the university to the east with the same name, it still has plenty to offer.
Saint Mary’s may be ranked #25 for quality and #20 for affordability, but considering it beat out nearly 150 other schools for a spot on this list, you should be sure to take a second look at this northern private school. The University of Evansville is a small liberal arts institution conveniently situated n the largest city in Southern Indiana.
Although the net price of an IIT education is one of the more expensive on this list, recent rankings assessing return on investment have declared IIT as the #1 university in the state of Illinois, #15 among all private U.S. As a small liberal arts college, Concordia College at Moorhead puts an especially strong emphasis on solid instruction.
Coe College has established a reputation for itself as a selective institution that cultivates ambitious students.
Speaking of selective institutions, Earlham is one of the most dedicated to attracting serious students. Not only is Hastings one of the best private institutions in the Midwest, it also has received accolades from sources like The Washington Monthly, Kaplan, Barron’s for its affordability, competitiveness, and commitment to community service and service learning. Unlike the similarly named school outside of Chicago, Northwestern College is a more than affordable option for students, no doubt in part due to its location in the quite small town of Orange City. Ripon is one of the premier colleges in Wisconsin and is distinguished by a freshmen retention rate of 86% and a 6-year graduation rate of 74%.
The hallmark of a Millikin education is something called “Performance Learning,” which combines lectures and theory with hands-on practice through internships, student-run businesses, co-teaching, presentations, market research, and more.
As states prepare their budgets for the coming year, they face the challenge of reinvesting in public higher education systems after years of damaging cuts — the product of both the economic downturn and states’ reluctance to raise additional revenues.
States are spending $2,353 or 28 percent less per student on higher education, nationwide, in the current 2013 fiscal year than they did in 2008, when the recession hit.
In many states the cuts over the last five years have been remarkably deep.  Eleven states have cut funding by more than one-third per student, and two states — Arizona and New Hampshire — have cut their higher education spending per student in half. Increased tuition.  Public colleges and universities across the country have increased tuition to compensate for declining state funding. These sharp increases in tuition have accelerated longer-term trends of reducing college affordability and shifting costs from states to students. But policymakers will need to make sound tax and budget decisions in the coming years if they are to renew state investment in higher education.  Significant investments in higher education in most states may require raising new revenue, as state revenues have yet to recover from the recession and a wide range of other crucial public services also require reinvestment after years of deep cuts. Conversely, states that enact deep tax cuts will make it much more difficult to rebuild their higher education systems and jeopardize their ability to compete for the jobs of the future.
The cuts have resulted from state and federal responses to the deep recession and continued weak recovery.
Thanks to the boost in federal assistance, the College Board calculates that the annual value of  grant aid and higher education tax benefits for students at four year public colleges has increased by an average of $1,410 in real terms since the 2007-08 school year, enough to offset over three quarters of the $1,850 tuition increase paid by the average student nationwide.[19]   But since the sticker price increases have varied so much while federal grant and tax-credit amounts are basically the same across all states, students in states with large tuition increases (such as Arizona or New Hampshire) undoubtedly have borne a much higher share of the increased cost, while students in states with smaller tuition increases may have realized net reductions in cost. The University System of Louisiana furloughed 727 employees, laid off another 210 staff and faculty members, and cut 217 academic programs. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill eliminated 493 positions, cut 16,000 course seats, increased class sizes, cut its centrally supported computer labs from seven to three, and eliminated two distance education centers.
This trend has meant that students have assumed much greater responsibility for paying for public higher education without those institutions receiving more money to fund quality improvements. Reinvesting in public higher education should be an urgent priority for policymakers who are concerned about the long-term economic success of their state and its residents.  Diminished educational resources and rising tuition at the nation’s public colleges and universities have serious consequences for students, their families, and the broader economy. The reduced college access and reduced graduation rates that research suggests are likely to result from budget cuts affect more than just the students, because college attainment has grown increasingly important to long-term economic outcomes for states and the nation.
This research suggests that states should strive to expand college access and increase college graduation rates to help build a strong middle class and develop the skilled workforce needed to compete in today’s global economy.  It suggests further that the severe higher education funding cuts that states have made since the start of the recession will make it harder to achieve those goals. States may also wish to consider more funding for higher education as an alternative to new tax cuts.  This may be particularly true in a number of states that have made deep cuts to higher education funding and where policymakers are proposing deep new tax cuts that would lock in — even add to — those higher education cuts. Florida governor Rick Scott, for example, is calling for $135 million in business tax cuts at a time when Florida’s higher education funding stands 41 below pre-recession levels, and tuition at its public four year colleges has increased by 67 percent over the last five years.  Other states that have made deep cuts to higher education funding and yet are now considering tax cuts include Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Tax cuts are often sold as a recipe for economic growth.  But to the extent that tax cuts prevent investments in higher education that would increase access to college, improve graduation rates, and reduce student debt, their net effect could be a drag on the economy.
Economic growth in and of itself will not be sufficient to propel higher education funding to previous levels any time soon.
Ranked1,111in the USAPittsburg State University is a small public college offering numerous disciplines along with computer programs and located in Pittsburg, Kansas.
These days, due to the soaring costs of a college degree and busy schedules, affordable online colleges make a lot of sense. The staff members at Affordable Schools thoroughly evaluated a large number of colleges offering online degrees to make it easier for you to select your online college.
The schools in our most affordable online colleges list offer, at a minimum, a sufficient number of high quality, online programs at affordable prices. Our list of affordable online schools only shows undergraduate tuition and fee prices; other technical or online fees may apply, check with specific schools for details. Fort Hays State University, a public school, located in Hays, Kansas, operates Fort Hays State University Virtual College, which has graduates in every state and in Asia, Europe, the South Pacific and other regions. The Virtual College provides online master’s degree programs in fields such as education, business administration, instructional technology, nursing administration, special education and more. Established in 1958, Columbus State University (CSU), located in Columbus, Georgia, is an accredited public institution educating over 8,000 students. CSU has received numerous awards in excellence including the Regents Teaching Excellence Award for Departments and Programs for its music department. The affordable school offers online undergraduate degree completion programs, graduate degree programs and certificate programs.
Western Governors University, a private, nonprofit, accredited online university, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, offers over 40 online bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs.
Western Governors University uses a competency-based learning model, with students working online in coordination with faculty mentors. Western Governors University includes the Online College of Information Technology, WGU Online Teachers College, Online College of Health Professions and the Online College of Business.
Western Governors University has received attention in articles about the challenges and success of providing higher education to students via the Internet in prominent print media outlets such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. CSUDH offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificates. Founded in 1888, Utah State University (USU) located in Logan Utah is a public accredited research institution known for its science program and Space Dynamics Lab. The online program, offers 18 college degrees available in condensed (4 or 7 week) and open entry (begin anytime) formats. In 2011, Forbes magazine ranked USU #1 in the West for lowest tuition and in the top five nationally in its list of America’ Best College Buys.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana hosts the Louisiana Scholar’s College, Louisiana’s honors college in the liberal arts and sciences. The online school of NSU offers over 50 degree programs with an enrollment of over 9,000 students.
New Mexico State University (NMSU), located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is an accredited, comprehensive, land-grant university founded in 1888.
Colleges such as Agricultural, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Engineering provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
NMSU online offers Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate programs, and a number of Certificate and Licensure options. Florida State University (FSU) located in Tallahassee Florida is an accredited institution founded in 1823.
FSU offers 275 degrees spread out among 16 colleges at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level which includes a medical and law school.
The university offers more than 40 post-graduate degree and certification programs through its online college.
Florida State University included among the 151 to 200 group of the best colleges in the world by Academic Ranking of World Universities (provided by Center for World-class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University). Founded in 1906, the University of West Georgia (UWG), located in Carrollton, Georgia, is an accredited comprehensive university with over 12,000 students. The online university of the University of West Georgia offers online degrees in areas such as criminology, education, nursing, business, and computer science.
The Princeton Review, for the past ten years, named UWG one of the Best Southeastern Colleges based on cost and financial aid. Founded in 1929, Eastern Oregon University (EOU), located in La Grande, Oregon, is an accredited public university and belongs to the Oregon University System.
With a year-round schedule, the online school of Eastern Oregon University offers an array of bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s in Science in Education degree. Eastern Oregon University provides every online student an online advisor, accelerated credit option for life experience, individualized liberal studies programs which integrate previous college work and as year-round schedule. Established in 1909, Southern Arkansas University (SAU) is an accredited liberal arts university built on its foundation tied to the region’s agricultural past and offers 60 degrees in four distinct colleges. SAU offers more than 358 courses each year which students can earn credits toward a degree or certificate program. Bellevue University, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, offers more than 50 undergraduate, graduate and accelerated degrees, programs and options to over 16,000 students.

Bellevue University offers online graduate and undergraduate degrees in fields such as business, computer information systems, criminal justice, cybersecurity, graphic design, healthcare management, information technology and management information systems. Bellevue’s online college programs ranked among the Top 10 in the 2013 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and ranked 18th in the 2014 Top Online Education Program Rankings in a U.S. University of Memphis (UM), located in Memphis Tennessee, founded in 1912, is an accredited institution with a student body of over 21,000 students and 930 full-time faculty. The university offers online bachelor’s degrees in arts and sciences, communications and fine arts, business and engineering and in other areas. Established in 1887, North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State), located in Raleigh, North Carolina is an accredited research university with a population of over 34,000 students. The online school of NC State at Raleigh offers more than 50 online programs in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree studies as well as teacher licensure and certifications.
Sam Houston State University (SHSU), Founded in 1879 in Huntsville, Texas, is an accredited university and classified as a “Doctoral Research University” by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Old Dominion University (ODU), located in Norfolk, Virginia, established in 1930 (as a division of The College of William and Mary) is as a public, accredited research institution. With a student-teacher ratio of 21:1, the school enrolls over 24,000 students with over 60 bachelor degree programs as well as more than 90 graduate and post-graduate degrees.
Its online division offers over 70 degree programs in bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctorate programs as well as certificates, minors and licensures. Established in 1950, University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) located in Huntsville, Alabama, is an accredited public university and one of three members of the University of Alabama System. UAH has six different colleges: Graduate Studies, Business, Liberal Arts, Engineering, Nursing, and Science. The online university of UAH offers more than 70 online college degree programs to over 7,700 students. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named UAH a Very High Research Activity university. Established in 1958, Brandman University, located in Irvine, California, is an accredited, non-profit military friendly university.
Brandman University offers more than 50 accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees, teaching credentials and extended education programs both online and on campus. The online university of Brandman University provides degrees and certificates in areas such as Arts and Sciences, Business and Professional studies and Education.
Founded in 1873, Southeast Missouri State University, a public accredited university in Cape Girardeau, Missouri has over 11,000 students. The online school of Southeast Missouri State University offers bachelor‘s degrees in business administration (AACSB accreditation), technology management, nursing, general studies, computer information systems and more.
Most online courses are 16 weeks in length and available in four, six or eight week formats. Your Money's Worth: The Hidden Costs of College [INFOGRAPHIC]Does the Early Bird Really Get the Worm? As a result, you get a list of postsecondary institutions that are all regionally accredited, relatively affordable, and high-scoring on all eight of our measures of quality. The student-to-faculty ratio is only 15:1, and students can choose from thousands of classes separated into over 300 academic programs. This major university provides a liberal education foundation through its 200+ academic programs, in addition to a number of unique minors, such as Aging and Adult Life, Applied Linguistics, Juvenile Justice, Geographic Techniques, and Natural Resources Management. It’s easy to see what a great school it is when you consider that international student enrollment is nearly 1,500, 81% of freshmen receive financial aid, and there are over 1,000 full-time faculty (12% of classes are taught by TA’s).
There’s never a dull moment at Ohio State, and you’ll soon discover that the 1,400 registered student organizations and 150+ academic programs will keep you more than busy.
Two of its programs (City Management and Special Education) are highly nationally ranked, and it is one of the best postsecondary institutions for NIH grants devoted to pharmacy research. The first university founded after the Louisiana Purchase, it is now a $2.1 billion enterprise and is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri system.
The student-to-faculty ratio is only 16:1 and 80% of classes have fewer than 30 students – quite a feat for such a large research institution. It’s a prestigious university that has produced famous alumni in almost every field, including astronauts, authors, actors, artists, Nobel laureates, and business people – including the inventor of the iPod and the co-founder of Google. Located in the modest twin towns of Bloomington and Normal, the campus is also just a short drive from the major cities of Chicago and St.
The university has also been named a “Friend of the Flint Hills” for its contribution to protecting the last tall grass prairie lands in the U.S. High scores in nearly every category include a 75% 6-year graduation rate, a 91% freshmen retention rate, 680 student organizations, more than 220 academic programs, and an average entrance ACT score of 28. 10 separate colleges comprise the university, including ones of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Education and Human Sciences, Graduate Studies, and Journalism and Mass Communications. The university frequently lands near the top of rankings of public institutions and produced an admirable 17 Fulbright Scholars last year. In addition, with a self-proclaimed slogan of “America’s Healthiest Campus,” the school offers a plethora of group fitness classes, intramural sports, sports clubs, and outdoor adventure events.
Although there are over 90 majors and 250 student organizations to occupy the more than 12,000 undergraduates, classes are kept small. Students can truly customize their experience as they choose from more than 100 majors and over 800 student organizations, which include such gems as “Big Pink Volleyball,” a group that raises money for breast cancer, and the Medieval Re-creationist Club. Although the small population of the state and cold weather might be a turn off for some students, it is worth it to note that North Dakota has been rated #1 for well-being, #1 for the best run state, #1 for the best state to find a job, and #1 as the most affordable state to live.
Other than its main campus in West Lafayette, Purdue also has regional campuses in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Westville, and Hammond. 90% of classes have fewer than 40 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1, and graduate assistants teach only 2% of classes – all signs that you’ll receive a high-quality education delivered by top-notch professors in an intimate format. If scenery is important to you you’ll love the location, as the campus is perfectly placed between downtown Saint Cloud and a stretch of river populated with the idyllic Beaver Islands. The fact that it ranks #6 for quality just adds to the argument that this is a postsecondary institution to seriously consider. It received solid scores in all categories, including a 70% 6-year graduation rate, an 87% freshman retention rate (the highest of any private school on this list), a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, and nearly 200 student organizations and academic programs. The student-to-faculty ratio is only 14:1 and graduate assistants focus on their own studies, rather than teaching classes.
With a student-to-faculty ratio of a mere 11:1 and a freshmen retention rate of 84%, it’s no surprise that Cornell is ranked #5 for quality.
Maybe it’s because of the 100 campus organizations that tailor to interests such as sustainability, Greek life, professional networking, fundraising, and ultimate Frisbee.
There are campuses in both Winona and Minneapolis but other centers in Rochester, Apple Valley, Minnetonka, and Oakdale, as well as Jamaica and Kenya! Access numerous events and activities on and off campus as you explore the Tri-State area and settle into a life surrounded by restaurants, museums, and amusements parks.
As a result, the school’s stellar faculty (who teach 100% of classes) include NASA and NSF scientists, award-winning authors and composers, and other talented professionals who are experts in their fields.
Join one of nearly 90 student organizations and take up activities like archery, rodeo, and sand volleyball.
The school is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and so puts just as much emphasis on an unwavering commitment to Christianity as it does to strong academics and a vibrant campus life.
Decorated with numerous awards, the institution is particularly well known for its return on investment, dedication to community service, and quality of professors. It has a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and over 120 student organizations and academic programs. It is tied to the United Church of Christ and combines liberal learning with self-reflection and service work. You can major in something traditional, like Physics, or a topic a little more unique, like Stage Management. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018,” June 2010.
Exploring the Impact of Contingent Faculty on Undergraduate Education.” The Review of Higher Education, Volume 30, Number 2, Winter 2007, pp. Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, June 2010, p. The college is operating since 1903 and is currently offering bachelor's degrees in 3 computer programs. There’s a strong demand for affordable colleges with proper accreditation and academic merit. Fort Hays University Virtual College also provides an array of online certificate programs. News & World Report Online Education Programs Honor Roll and ranked #16 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list and ranked #20 in the Best Online Graduate Education Programs list.
CSU offers online undergraduate degrees in fields such as information technology, business, liberal arts, nursing and general sociology and online graduate degrees in education, business, nursing and more.
The graduate online programs in arts, business, nursing and education all ranked best in 2013 by US News & World Report. Austin State University (SFA), located in Nacogdoches, Texas, is an accredited public university with more than eighty undergraduate majors, sixty graduate fields, and three PhD programs. Carson California, an accredited research school, offers unique internships, research opportunities and small class sizes. CSUDH offers online undergraduate degrees in fields such as applied studies, quality assurance and nursing. Online bachelor’s degrees are available in fields such as agribusiness, liberal arts, economics and communicative disorders and master’s degrees in fields such as agricultural systems technology, natural resources and instruction technology and learning sciences. NSU, founded in 1884, with a sole purpose to train teachers, became the first school in Louisiana to offer degree programs in nursing and business education.
Its online education offers numerous accredited programs in undergraduate, graduate and specialist degrees as well as certificates. NMSU boasts five campuses, a satellite center in Albuquerque and co-op extension offices in 33 counties. FSU is highly recognized for its programs in the arts and sciences, its marine research work and for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. News & World Report 2014 edition of Best Colleges in Regional Universities (South) and ranked #4 in the Best Online Graduate Business Programs list.
With fewer than 30 students in each class, EOU offers bachelors, masters and multiple pre-professional programs. Southern Arkansas University typically has about 1,200 students enrolled in online courses. The University of Memphis also provides online master’s degrees and professional certificates.
NC State has a strong reputation for its mathematics, technology engineering, education and sponsored research programs.
News & World Report 2014 edition of Best Colleges National Universities list, ranked #41 in the Best Value Schools list and ranked #81 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Program list. News & World Report for its online graduate education, business and computer IT programs as well its bachelor’s degree programs.
The school offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs of study as well as a co-op Ed.D. News & World Report and The Princeton Review recognize Southeast Missouri State University’s dedication to affordable education. They include: graduation rate, freshmen retention rate, student-to-faculty ratio, percentage of classes taught by graduate assistants, average entrance ACT score, number of campus organizations, and number of academic programs. They are listed in descending order according to their cost, but we have included our quality ranking as well so you can assess just how each school measures up.
The school has as well-developed global engagement program and sends students everywhere from Mexico to Australia, South Africa to Austria.
Furthermore, from 2010-11 the school won over 70 awards and graduated 10 Fulbright Scholars.
Students are so busy having fun that there’s no time to consider leaving, as evidenced by the 92% retention rate and 83% 6-year graduation rate. It is one of only 34 public universities that has been invited to join the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), and is one of only seven public schools to have a law school, veterinary college, and medical school on the same campus. Join the “Community of Gamers” or any number of the 300 other student organizations, “adopt a professor” to facilitate greater student-to-faculty interaction, or throw yourself into active Greek life. Students at UW are constantly achieving big things, and the school has for professional schools (law, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine). Since this is an article about affordability in postsecondary education, it’s also noteworthy that there is over $56 million available in scholarships to undergrads. Life at Michigan includes top-notch academics, a diverse arts and culture scene, and rousing Big 10 athletics that includes a friendly (sometimes) rivalry with the nearby Michigan State University.

The university also nearly broke the top 100 schools ranked by Forbes – a source that pays particularly close attention to measures of “output” and student satisfaction.
The school also has well-established programs in Dentistry, Nursing, Public Affairs, and Community Service. Study abroad for a semester or intern overseas, contribute to the inspired Intercultural Film Project, or pursue your passion in one of nearly 70 research centers and institutes. In fact, the student-to-teacher ratio is 16:1, and qualified professors teach 99% of classes. Other highlights include the high-res immersive virtual reality lab, which creates interactive virtual worlds for research purposes, and the first biocentury research lab in the country, a facility dedicated to biomass production and processing.
Purdue has a freshmen retention rate of 90% and the student-to-faculty ratio is a more than manageable 14:1 – a lower ratio than many public research universities. You will undoubtedly be excited to hear that 92% of seniors have confirmed employment or graduate school acceptance by the time they receive their diploma. Professors teach 95% of classes and the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, which means that you can access literally thousands of courses without having to settle for subpar teaching or large lecture halls that make learning difficult. The campus also does not sacrifice fancy facilities to achieve a low price point; students have access to art galleries, a theatre, a large library, and recreation centers that put many schools to shame. The school is grounded in a liberal arts education and the majority of students are either Lutheran or Roman Catholic.
It is a top-ranked school in Minnesota and in the Midwest, and students seem to confirm this by coming back for a second year over 80% of the time.
Or maybe it’s because of the more than 60 academic programs that cater to aspiring business people, scientists, health professionals, and liberal arts majors alike. Despite being home to only about 2,500 students, the University of Evansville has more student organizations and academic programs than most other private schools in the Midwest. Although the school itself is small, it is located in a bustling college town that more than 30,000 students call home. The school is located in the second largest city in Iowa but is just a drive away from even bigger metropolitan areas like Chicago, Minneapolis, and St.
The college has been lauded as one of the premier liberal arts schools for undergraduate teaching, and the student-to-teacher ratio is an extremely low 10:1. There are also a plethora of political, academic honorary, spiritual, and Greek organizations to suit every need.
With fewer than 1,500 students, Northwestern is perfect for students looking to recreate an intimate small town feel on campus.
Surveys have indicated that the vast majority of students are satisfied or very satisfied with the attention they receive from professors.
A relatively small school, Elmhurst maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of only 13:1 and an average class size of only 16 – in fact, the largest class only has 35 students! Dowd, “The Impact of Undergraduate Debt on the Graduate School Enrollment of STEM Baccalaureates,” The Review of Higher Education, Volume 35, Number 2, Winter 2012, pp. Fort Hays State University Virtual College provides online bachelor’s degrees in fields such as business education, justice studies, general studies, nursing – RN to BSN, education, management, tourism and hospitality management, marketing and more. In addition, CSU ranked among the top Universities in the South and top choice for online colleges by the US News & World Report rankings. Course mentors, experts in their field, answer questions students have about their coursework. The school offers online master’s degrees in areas such as humanities, business administration, public administration and nursing. The university offers majors in areas such as agricultural sciences, business administration, chemistry, computer science, liberal studies, mathematics, natural resources, nursing and more. While these are highly reputable sources that can often be very helpful, research has shown that some of the indicators used for those rankings – such as alumni donations and teacher salaries – don’t necessarily correlate to quality or, more importantly, student satisfaction. We also considered a school’s ranking by Forbes, a measure of quality that, due to its focus on what a student gets out of college and not how a student gets into college, we think is a great measure of student satisfaction (read more here). They have also been separated into public and private schools and were rated in separate groups.
UC also has everything the sports-minded “Bearcat” could want, with intramural and club sports, sports clinics, an athletic complex and a fitness center, and 17 NCAA teams that together have captured over 40 conference championships. In addition to hundreds of student organizations, the school also offers special events like the “Laker Leadership Program” to encourage student leadership and “Spotlight Productions” to bring entertainment and shows to campus year round. Although the school has impressive academic programs (well over 100), it also possesses a passionate dedication to the arts, as exemplified in its “Arts for Ohio” initiative, which seamlessly integrates shows and cultural events into students’ everyday lives. The size and scope of the university also allow it to be one of the premier research institutions in the Midwest, with centers devoted to polymer and composite engineering, automotive research, food industry, photovoltaics, and much more. Sports enthusiasts and lawyers may find the university particularly appealing, as UK’s basketball and debate teams have both won national championships. The campus also includes a botanic garden, a journalism library, an entomology museum, a craft studio gallery, and practically endless other student-centered facilities.
The University of Oklahoma is also committed to community outreach and provides K-12 youth programs, military programs, and grants and partnerships that address a broad spectrum of social and educational concerns.
UW also encourages students to engage in leadership, and you can earn a certificate in leadership or even earn a “Wisconsin Experience Grant” for your student organization seeking campus-wide impact. And between the school’s undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, you’ll have over 200 degrees from which to choose. With more than 120 academic programs and ten times as many student organizations, it’s no surprise that the school retains 97% of its freshmen and graduates 90% of students in 6 years. The school has a sizeable athletic division and prides itself on its school spirit; events like Homecoming and organizations like the school radio show will give you ample opportunities to get involved. Due to the school’s impressive stature, you can easily supplement time spent studying and meeting new friends in clubs by participating in ground-breaking research, traveling abroad to study, or cheering on some of the schools more than 20 sports teams. In addition to immersing yourself in academic programs, you can also engage in research centered on ground water contamination, biotechnology, applied genomics, psychometrics, and much more.
MSU has over 600 student organizations, more than 150 academic majors, and a freshmen retention rate second only to its same-state rival, the University of Michigan.
In addition, only about 4,300 students live on campus, which gives the school a more intimate feel despite its broad reach. NDSU has a freshmen retention rate of a more than respectable 80% and offers over 120 academic programs that includes a variety of agricultural majors as well as less common choices like Equine Science, Fisheries and Wildlife, Respiratory Care, Emergency Management, and Zoology.
The school also has literally hundreds of academic programs and nearly three times as many student organizations.
The news is especially bright for pre-law students, 100% of whom are typically accepted to JD programs. The school’s architecture, telecommunications, education, entrepreneurship, nursing, and landscape architecture programs are among the best in the nation – although all the programs produce first-rate degrees! These are just some of the phrases that describe the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
In addition, nearly 10% of students come from other countries, which helps foster an atmosphere of diversity of inclusion on campus.
It is the definition of a cozy liberal arts university, with just over 1,000 undergraduate students. Not content to confine students to the classroom, Hamline encourages pupils to complete an internship, collaborate on research, conduct work in the field, or complete a service learning project – and 100% of students complete at least one of these goals. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: you’ll be guaranteed an intimate environment characterized by small class sizes and professors who spend most of their time in the classroom. News, and Princeton Review have all recognized the quality education Saint Mary’s provides, perhaps its greatest accomplishment is being listed by the National Survey of Student Engagement (a survey that assesses schools according to student responses) as an institution that affords a distinctive, superior college experience.
The school also has a British campus at Harlaxon College just north of London, so if international travel is your thing, this institution can make it happen! As a result, an active community of museums, entertainment venues, and dining establishments has sprung up in the surrounding area. Classes are intellectually challenging and the school encourages students to study abroad; as a result, Earlham ranks #6 in the percentage of students who at some point travel overseas.
Hastings also has a very cool, student-run “Bronco Bikes” rental program to the satisfaction of health nuts and earth lovers. 89% of students live on campus, so you’ll have a chance to get to know all your classmates – and your teachers too! The school is a particularly great choice if you are an outdoor enthusiast, as 250-acre campus is dense with foliage and located right in the heart of the state’s Green Lake region. Despite its small stature in many ways, the institution has an impressive number of student organizations and academic programs. And whether you’re going to major in Aerospace Engineering or Voice, at least one of the school’s more than 110 academic degrees will help you launch a career of which to be proud. Athletes will be happy to hear that the school recently initiated a massive $370 million renovation of its football stadium. Speaking of student organizations, you can do everything from participate in a Southasian dance competition to “adopt a grandparent” at a nearby nursing home. Students also love to give back and regularly participate in activities to help new students move in, participate in the “American Democracy Project,” collect donations for tornado victims, and promote responsible citizenship.
The school also runs the “Nebraska Innovation Campus,” which connects students and researchers with a talented network of experts and companies. The school has received accolades from everyone from Forbes and Kiplinger’s to Princeton Review and U.S. Spend your time pursuing an acting major, training to be a veterinarian, assisting no-kill animal shelters in the area, brushing up on your salsa skills, or virtually anything else you can imagine! There is perhaps no greater indicator of quality than the success of a school’s alumni, and U of I has produced astronauts, scientists, Olympic medalists, executives of international corporations, and even Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Its small size allows it to maintain an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio with fewer than 20 students in 65% of classes. Cornell is a pioneer of the innovative “One Course at a Time” program, which gives students the chance to take three and a half week-long courses one by one in order to fully immerse themselves in their work. During your four or so years on campus you can join a student-run theater group, promote your favorite charitable causes, or even bond with other students in the “Doctor Who” organization. Concordia offers over 60 majors, including 15 honors programs and 12 pre-professional degrees.
Coe virtually guarantees that you’ll received personalized attention from faculty, thanks to a student-to-teacher ratio of 11:1 and an average class size of 16. You’ll feel particularly at home in Richmond if you are committed to social change, as more than 30% of students admit that their work is oriented to making a difference in the world.
Of course, city lovers won’t feel like they are in the middle of nowhere as Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison are all driving distance away.
Fill your schedule with time spent studying anything from Applied Geospatial Technologies to Theological Studies and Christian Ministry. News & World Report FSU’s online graduate programs in nursing and business ranked among the nation’s best. Students clearly love the university and do well there, as evidenced by the 94% freshmen retention rate and 84% 6-year graduation rate. This means you’ll have a better opportunity to master a language, conduct scientific research, or memorize your lines for a theatrical production without interruption. The school also has a unique “First Year Experience” program that assists the transition to college by assigning each freshman a peer mentor.
Concordia also encourages a global education and leads the way in the number of students who spend time abroad.
Students at Coe are serious about their studies, and nearly 50% of incoming students had a high school GPA above 3.7. Furthermore, the school is very highly rated for the number of students who participate in alternative break service trips. The school has also been rated a superior “green college” as well as military friendly, and so attracts environmentally conscious students and veterans. The school also boasts 1,000 student organizations – no joke – and provides youth programming, research opportunities, and academic programs to challenge and engage even the most ambitious students. WJC also offers a respectable 70 student organizations that cover topics ranging from academic honorary to political to spiritual. Furthermore, within three years of graduation more than 50% of alumni go on to do some sort of postgrad study.

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