Best Value Colleges in Virginia

If you're considering attending college in Virginia, use PayScale's College ROI Report to find the best value schools in Virginia so that you make a smart financial decision when you enroll.

Virginia offers a wide array of options for students who want a college education that will set them up for a long, successful career.  Read More

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1Washington and Lee University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$646,000
Total 4 Year Cost$230,000
Grad Rate88%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,800
2Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$633,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,400
3University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$612,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,300
4Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$572,000
Total 4 Year Cost$162,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,400
5James Madison University (JMU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$544,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,600
6George Mason University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$536,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,900
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,100
7The College of William and Mary(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$514,000
Total 4 Year Cost$110,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,400
8University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$504,000
Total 4 Year Cost$210,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,300
9James Madison University (JMU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$487,000
Total 4 Year Cost$147,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,600
10George Mason University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$462,000
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,100
11University of Richmond(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$436,000
Total 4 Year Cost$228,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
12The College of William and Mary(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$422,000
Total 4 Year Cost$202,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,400
13Old Dominion University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$358,000
Total 4 Year Cost$86,100
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,000
14University of Mary Washington(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$333,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,900
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,600
15Marymount University - Arlington, VA(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$320,000
Total 4 Year Cost$162,000
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,000

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

The Old Dominion State also boasts a long, lovely coastline along the Atlantic, numerous fascinating historical and cultural sites and some of the most beautiful scenery in the South. Whether you want to be an engineer or a second-grade teacher, you can easily find a college in Virginia that will prepare you and pay off.

Washington and Lee University is one of the most well-known liberal arts schools in the country, and provides the highest 20-year net return on investment for students according to our data. Washington and Lee was originally founded in 1795 (known as Augusta Academy) and is believed to have graduated the first African-American man in the United States. It was an all-male school until 1985. (Women were admitted to its law school in 1972.) Today, 45 percent of students are women. Washington and Lee offers a wide variety of liberal arts degrees, including a focus on majors in accounting, business administration, economics, politics, and public accounting offered at the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. W&L's close proximity to Washington D.C. is a natural opportunity for students to get great internships that lead to high-paying careers.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- better known as Virginia Tech -- is ranked in the top 50 of PayScale's national college ROI list. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia and founded in 1872, the public university offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with its College of Engineering a particular standout. To earn a degree here, you can expect to pay an average of $101,000 for four years of attendance. The 20-year net ROI, however, is $633,000 and rises to $662,000 with financial aid. It's little wonder that the university appears near the top of PayScale's best value colleges Virginia list.

With its lovely Jeffersonian architecture, numerous secret societies and reputation for being one of the fittest universities in the nation, the University of Virginia, or simply "Virginia," offers an incredible return on investment for students. The average cost to earn a degree from the school is $102,000, and the 20 Year Net ROI of that education is $612,000 without financial aid and $685,000 with it, earning it rankings of 43 and 47 respectively. If you have a spirit for adventure, you'll be intrigued to know the school sends huge numbers of students on to the Peace Corps. Seven NASA astronauts graduated from the university, which exemplifies the fact that this school offers the value of college education Virginia students and their family's desire.