2021 Best Colleges in Virginia Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Virginia by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

These are the 25 best colleges in Virginia based on our Salary Score. Our Salary Score compares the first-year earnings of alumni at a college to earnings for alumni with the same majors at other colleges. Our Salary Score for each college below represents the combined scores for each bachelor's program to indicate how alumni from all majors at that college performed. A high Salary Score indicates that alumni from a given college tend to have higher salaries when compared to alumni with the same majors at other schools. The top 14 schools on this list score better than the median for colleges in the United States. Washington and Lee University tops Virginia’s list with a score of 96.49.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Washington and Lee University Lexington Lexington $61,750 96.49
#2 #2 University of Virginia Charlottesville Charlottesville $20,342 80.95
#3 #3 University of Richmond Richmond Richmond $60,330 74.02
#4 #4 George Mason University Fairfax Fairfax $13,401 73.20
#5 #5 James Madison University Harrisonburg Harrisonburg $13,092 73.07
#6 #6 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg Blacksburg $14,586 71.53
#7 #7 Longwood University Farmville Farmville $14,840 70.61
#8 #8 Marymount University Arlington Arlington $37,600 68.62
#9 #9 William & Mary School of Education Williamsburg Williamsburg $23,970 68.33
#10 #10 Randolph-Macon College Ashland Ashland $46,460 67.00
#11 #11 Averett University Danville (and 13 others) Danville (and 13 others) $37,790 54.30
#12 #12 Christopher Newport University Newport News Newport News $15,425 52.59
#13 #13 University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg Fredericksburg $14,234 52.35
#14 #14 Roanoke College Salem Salem $35,350 50.12
#15 #15 Shenandoah University Winchester Winchester $35,170 46.14
#16 #16 Old Dominion University Norfolk Norfolk $11,220 44.47
#17 #17 Virginia Military Institute Lexington Lexington $19,914 43.17
#18 #18 Bridgewater College Bridgewater Bridgewater $39,800 42.07
#19 #19 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond Richmond $15,828 40.75
#20 #20 Radford University Radford Radford $11,916 39.51
#21 #21 Ferrum College Ferrum Ferrum $38,320 38.17
#22 #22 University of Lynchburg Lynchburg Lynchburg $34,500 32.71
#23 #23 ECPI University Online Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $18,484 25.98
#24 #24 Virginia Wesleyan University Norfolk Norfolk $36,910 25.11
#25 #25 Virginia State University Petersburg Petersburg $9,654 22.15

2021 Best Colleges in Virginia Highlights

Salary Score 96.49
Annual Tuition $61,750
Graduation Rate 95%

Six undergraduate fields at Washington and Lee University feature a Salary Score greater than 90. The highest scoring fields are journalism and romance languages, literatures, and linguistics, which have a Salary Score of 100. The accounting and related services program ranks near the top with a Salary Score of 99 and also features the highest median annual salary of $68,860. The economics program is another top ranking field at Washington and Lee University, with a Salary Score of 92 and a median alumni salary of $64,990.

School Overview:

Washington and Lee University, the ninth oldest higher learning institution in the country, is a small, private university with its campus located in Lexington, Virginia. The site is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah Valley, with numerous outdoor academic opportunities. Washington and Lee works alongside QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization, to provide financial support to low-income students. Through a combination of campus employment opportunities, scholarships, and grants, the school meets 100% of students’ demonstrated financial needs. More than half of last year's applicants received scholarship and grant awards of more than $50,000.

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Salary Score 80.95
Annual Tuition $20,342
Graduation Rate 95%

The University of Virginia's (UVA) top performing undergraduate program is business/commerce, with a Salary Score of 100. Several of UVA’s liberal arts and humanities programs also have high Salary Score, which range from 83-99. These fields include fine and studio arts, history, political science, general psychology, and romance languages, literatures, and linguistics. With a median annual salary of $96,310, degrees in the computer and information sciences field are the highest earning, followed by computer engineering at a median of $86,870 per year.

School Overview:

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia is a large, public university with approximately 16,400 undergraduate students. Students can take advantage of a connected alumni network through one of the Virginia Alumni Mentoring Bridges Projects, which are short-term projects posted by UVA alumni that are available to undergraduates. Projects range from research assistance to content creation. In addition, the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center partners with the UVA Career Center in order to connect students with internship and employment opportunities.

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Salary Score 74.02
Annual Tuition $60,330
Graduation Rate 88%

With a Salary Score of 96, the accounting and related services degrees at the University of Richmond are the highest scoring programs. Accounting majors report an average salary of $63,010, which places it just behind computer and information sciences majors, with median annual earnings reported at $67,660. Earning a Salary Score of 93, alumni of the business administration, management, and operations programs report higher earnings than graduates of the same programs at other universities.

School Overview:

The University of Richmond is a private liberal arts school located in Richmond, Virginia, nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The student body consists of approximately 3,200 undergraduate students, and the teacher-to-student ratio is 8:1. Undergraduates interested in pursuing an underpaid or unpaid opportunity for research or an internship can take advantage of the Richmond Guarantee, which promises up to $4,000 in funding to all students. Virginia residents whose parents make less than $60,000 a year are assured financial aid that covers their full-time tuition, board, and meal plan.

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