Best Value Colleges in West Virginia

Almost heaven, West Virginia is celebrated for its rugged and beautiful countryside, colorful history, coal mining and logging industries, and wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities; the Appalachian Trail passes through the famous West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, where the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is headquartered. The state is also home to a number of fine colleges and universities, many of which provide a solid return on investment in PayScale’s College ROI report.

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RankSchool Name20 Year Net ROI
Total 4 Year Cost
Graduation Rate
Typical Years to Graduate
Average Loan Amount
Rank:1School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$494,000Total 4 Year Cost:$74,700Graduation Rate:21%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$25,000
Rank:2School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$456,000Total 4 Year Cost:$112,000Graduation Rate:21%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$25,000
Rank:3School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$411,000Total 4 Year Cost:$80,500Graduation Rate:57%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$29,400
Rank:4School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$356,000Total 4 Year Cost:$135,000Graduation Rate:57%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$29,400
Rank:5School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$271,000Total 4 Year Cost:$140,000Graduation Rate:49%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$36,900
Rank:6School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$214,000Total 4 Year Cost:$80,200Graduation Rate:46%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$40,400
Rank:7School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$182,000Total 4 Year Cost:$74,100Graduation Rate:28%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$28,300
Rank:8School Name:
Shepherd University (Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI:$174,000Total 4 Year Cost:$120,000Graduation Rate:46%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$40,400
Rank:9School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$170,000Total 4 Year Cost:$79,300Graduation Rate:45%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$23,100
Rank:10School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$158,000Total 4 Year Cost:$150,000Graduation Rate:58%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$31,200

The West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery is a public college with just 1,100 students, but because of its limited selection of majors (all relatively high-paying fields like engineering, nursing, business management, etc.), it usually promises a high ROI. OWVUIT has made significant advancements in its academic programs since its founding. It was originally a trade school, then a junior college, and now graduates some of the highest earners in West Virginia.

In contrast, nearly 8,000 students attend West Virginia University in Morgantown. Founded as the Agricultural College of West Virginia in 1867, it was quickly renamed the following year and began to offer a larger selection of majors. Famous WVU alumni include basketball star Jerry West, Adam “Pacman” Jones and novelist Ann Pancake.