Best Value Colleges in Virginia

The Virginia College ROI Report is designed to identify the colleges and universities in Virginia that deliver the best return on investment for their cost.  Read More

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1Virginia Military Institute (VMI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$767,300
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,800
2Virginia Military Institute (VMI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$689,800
Total 4 Year Cost$173,200
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,800
3University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$615,100
Total 4 Year Cost$97,900
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,760
4Washington and Lee University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$589,900
Total 4 Year Cost$223,100
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,400
5Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$555,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,000
6George Mason University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$530,600
Total 4 Year Cost$92,400
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,880
7University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$513,700
Total 4 Year Cost$199,300
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,760
8Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$496,500
Total 4 Year Cost$156,500
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,000
9University of Richmond(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$482,400
Total 4 Year Cost$220,600
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,440
10The College of William and Mary(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$480,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,320
11George Mason University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$459,600
Total 4 Year Cost$163,400
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,880
12University of Mary Washington(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$455,400
Total 4 Year Cost$87,600
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,280
13James Madison University (JMU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$436,600
Total 4 Year Cost$86,400
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,640
14University of Mary Washington(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$406,800
Total 4 Year Cost$136,200
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,280
15The College of William and Mary(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$388,900
Total 4 Year Cost$194,100
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,320

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

With several schools appearing in the top 100 nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI, the state offers a wide array of options for students who wish to get the most out of their higher education investments. 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 this part of the country. Whether you're going to attend college in Virginia because of its high college ROI, exceptional academic prestige or simply because you like the culture of the state, consider availing yourself of PayScale's data to research the best value colleges in Virginia before applying.

Ranked 11th nationally in terms of ROI, Virginia Military Institute offers the college return on investment that savvy Virginia students and their families seek. The military college, which was founded in 1839 and is the oldest of its kind in the U.S., strictly admits military cadets. If you long to be a cadet, the average cost for in-state tuition is $95,700. VMI alums report a median return of investment of $767,300, which rises to $813,800 with financial aid, making it a standout in the state and in the country. Located in Lexington, Virginia, VMI offers degrees in 14 disciplines and has produced Pulitzer Prize winners, Medal of Honor recipients, 11 Rhodes Scholars and many other successful alumni. Considering that 97 percent of its graduates go on to the military, employment or graduate or professional school with four months, it's easy to see why VMI is a star in our Virginia College ROI Report rankings.

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 $97,900, and the 20 Year Net ROI of that education is $615,100 without financial aid and $688,000 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 families desire.

The private, not-for-profit Washington and Lee University is ranked 55th nationally without financial aid and 31st nationally when it's included. With its bucolic setting in the Shenandoah Valley immediately next to VMI, the private university offers a nice break from the usual urban and suburban environs typical of major colleges. An education from W&L, as it's often referred, costs an average of $223,100. However, alums report a median return of their investment of $589,900 in the 20 years after they graduate, and that figure soars to $739,800 with financial aid.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- better known as Virginia Tech -- is ranked 70th on 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 $98,000. The 20 Year Net ROI, however, is $555,000 and rises to $583,900 with financial aid. It's little wonder that the university appears near the top of PayScale's best value colleges Virginia list.