West Virginia is in a unique position when it comes to its higher education needs. The state is shifting from its industrial economy, and as a result, most jobs in the state will require a different skillset. West Virginia anticipates that by 2018, an additional 20,000 jobs will require a post-secondary credential, and 49 percent of all jobs will require some college attainment. West Virginia is prepared to meet this demand for more higher education with numerous colleges, universities and two-year institutions. This guide aims to help aspiring students learn more about West Virginia colleges. We looked at important factors, such as tuition, financial aid, alumni incomes, student loan debt and programs, to help with college planning. This guide can help students get a jumpstart on their college experience.

West Virginia College Leaderboard: 2017 Rankings

West Virginia West Virginia

West Virginia offers prospective students a large selection of colleges. To help make the decision on which college to attend a little easier, we have created a rankings list of the best West Virginia colleges. We took into account some of the more common considerations, including tuition, student-to-faculty ratios and future earnings potential. The following list uses those and several other factors to create a comprehensive overview of schools in the state.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Cabell County Career Technology Center
99.82
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,000
3:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
82% N/A 0 12 Yes No
2
West Virginia Northern Community College
99.30
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$23,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
15%
12% N/A 3 35 Yes Yes
3
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
99.05
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
13% N/A 0 57 Yes Yes
4
Mountwest Community and Technical College
98.86
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
12%
7% N/A 2 46 Yes Yes
5
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
98.77
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,200
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
6%
9% N/A 0 37 No Yes
6
New River Community and Technical College
98.27
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
9%
10% N/A 0 31 Yes Yes
7
Ben Franklin Career Center
98.25
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$24,000
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
16% N/A 0 14 Yes No
8
Pierpont Community and Technical College
98.19
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
14%
12% N/A 1 35 Yes Yes
9
BridgeValley Community & Technical College
97.45
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
N/A N/A 0 74 No Yes
10
Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
11%
15% N/A 0 23 Yes No
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
West Virginia Wesleyan College
99.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,100
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
58% 78% 0 65 Yes Yes
2
Bethany College
98.22
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$40,900
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
49% 62% 0 30 Yes Yes
3
Wheeling Jesuit University
97.22
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,300
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
61% 63% 6 40 No Yes
4
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
96.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,900
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
66%
24% 62% 0 27 Yes Yes
5
West Virginia University
96.20
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,900
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
57%
56% 86% 13 140 Yes Yes
6
Davis & Elkins College
96.06
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,900
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
94%
48% 58% 0 56 Yes Yes
7
Alderson Broaddus University
94.42
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,400
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
42% 43% 1 33 Yes No
8
Ohio Valley University
94.04
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,000
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
86%
44% 32% 1 22 Yes Yes
9
University of Charleston
93.75
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,000
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
90%
41% 61% 6 36 Yes Yes
10
Shepherd University
93.07
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,500
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
45%
43% 98% 1 31 Yes Yes
11
Marshall University
92.65
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,100
19:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
58%
44% 77% 4 105 Yes Yes
12
Fairmont State University
90.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,200
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
39%
34% 67% 5 41 Yes Yes
13
West Liberty University
90.23
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,200
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
38%
41% 72% 0 26 Yes Yes
14
Concord University
89.01
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,900
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
52%
38% 38% 3 28 Yes Yes
15
Glenville State College
88.12
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,400
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
51%
30% 47% 1 18 Yes Yes
16
Bluefield State College
86.22
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,400
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
33%
25% 38% 4 18 Yes Yes
17
West Virginia State University
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,500
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
19%
23% 41% 0 25 Yes Yes

West Virginia College Planning and Outreach Initiatives

West Virginia is working on preparing its population for college in order to compete in the changing economy. To that end, the state has developed several programs that raise awareness about every aspect of the college experience, from planning to graduation. Below are a few of the state’s helpful programs.

5-Star Challenge

This is West Virginia’s “call to action” for higher education institutions to develop certain standards that recognize and accommodate students who are veterans. The West Virginia Office of Veterans Education and Training will issue a Challenge Coin to schools that develop these standards in five areas. The areas include institutional leadership regarding commitment to veterans, improving college access and affordability for service members, increasing academic assistance, social and culture support, and community cooperation for helping veterans reintegrate into the community.

Higher Education Readiness Officers (HEROs)

The HEROs program is aimed at helping students find ways to apply to and plan for college. One reason why students might not go to college is due to a lack of college culture around them; this might be because many of their friends or family members aren’t planning to attend or never did attend college. With no one to provide help or advice, it can be tough for a student to get into the college mind-set. The HEROs program helps create a college culture by finding students in high school to act as “HEROs” and support fellow students who are interested in going to college.

College Goal Sunday West Virginia

One of the key hurdles to going to college is paying for it. There are many financial aid options, but most of them revolve around the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out this form can be very challenging, especially for those in unconventional living or family situations. The point of College Goal Sunday West Virginia is to provide students with assistance in filling out the FAFSA. Students can sign up and attend workshops for free in order to receive guidance in maximizing their financial aid awards.

Cost Analysis of Colleges in West Virginia

The cost of college in West Virginia depends on two big numbers: a school’s tuition and a financial aid award. The tuition rate must be considered along with a potential financial aid award in order to obtain a clearer picture of what college will actually cost. The following charts provide average tuition and financial aid data for West Virginia colleges as well as a comparison of how the state stacks up to the rest of the country.

Average West Virginia Tuition & Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of West Virginia Students Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award for West Virginia Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

West Virginia’s Most Affordable Colleges

In order to figure out which schools are the most affordable, a prospective college student should take more than just tuition into consideration. A school’s financial aid award also matters, since it can offset the overall cost of attendance and provide a net price for a given school. Some of West Virginia’s most affordable schools are ranked in the following list.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

West Virginia College Net Price vs. National Average
WEST VIRGINIA $12,359 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

West Virginia Colleges With Top Alumni Earnings

Most students attend college with the expectation that a degree or credential can potentially increase future earnings. In order to find the best schools with respect to long-term earning potential after graduation, we examined how much alumni made ten years after they enrolled in college. The six schools listed below came out on top.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

West Virginia Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
WEST VIRGINIA $44,471 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in West Virginia That Produce the Least Student Debt

The number of students graduating with large amounts of debt has garnered a lot of attention lately, and a burdensome debt load can negate a high starting salary. When choosing a school, prospective students should consider schools that tend to produce graduates with minimal debt. The following list shows the top six schools in West Virginia with the least amount of student loan debt.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

West Virginia College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
WEST VIRGINIA $21,678 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Cost of Living for West Virginia College Students

For most students, tuition is just one of the major components of attending college. Other major considerations are the cost of living and overall living expenses. Depending on the surrounding area, the cost of attending a school can be drastically more or less expensive. For West Virginia students, there is good news: the average cost of living in West Virginia is almost 14 percent lower than the national average. Read on for more cost comparisons of certain areas in West Virginia.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 97% 94% 94% 93% 112% 90% 98%
Clarksburg 96% 104% 89% 97% 105% 83% 91%
Martinsburg-Berkeley County 94% 79% 94% 91% 133% 93% 93%
Morgantown 102% 100% 99% 92% 100% 95% 110%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

College Accreditation in West Virginia

Ensuring a school is accredited is a vitally important step of the college search. Accreditation is validation by an independent organization that assures a specific school’s academics meet certain standards. Attending an accredited institution typically means that credits will transfer, more financial aid options will be available, graduate schools will recognize the degree and employers will feel confident that a graduate has learned what they should have during their time in a specific program. Schools can be accredited on the institutional level as well as the programmatic level. Most schools in West Virginia have their institutional accreditation provided by the Higher Learning Commission. Below are examples of accrediting organizations and schools at programmatic level.

West Virginia College City Spotlight

Huntington

Founded in 1871, Huntington is now the second largest city in West Virginia. Originally a manufacturing city, it now has a more diverse economy with industries of health care, finance, services and tourism. While not an average college town, Huntington is strongly influenced by Marshall University, and residents take great pride in the school.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

HuntingtonMarshall University Public $8,402 $35,100
Marshall offers more than 100 degree programs, including business, information technology, engineering and pharmacy, for its student population of about 13,000. Close attention is paid to students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1 and an average class size of 21. Student athletes will find that Marshall teams are quite beloved, especially in light of the tragic loss of the 1970 college football team.
HuntingtonMountwest Community and Technical College Public $7,549 N/A
Originally founded as a college within Marshall University, today Mountwest offers a large selection of programs-over 50 in areas one might expect, such as criminal justice and advertising, as well as others that are unique, like maritime technology and biomedical instrumentation technology. Free tutoring is available to students who need an extra boost. With three campuses in Huntington, Mountwest makes learning as convenient as possible.
Morgantown

Morgantown is the county seat of Monongalia County, one of the fastest growing counties in West Virginia. Morgantown is ideally situated-nearly 50 percent of the population in the United States lives within 500 miles of it. The city is home to many large employers, such as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and West Virginia University (WVU). Given WVU's influence on Morgantown, college students will certainly enjoy the area's college town feel.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

MorgantownWest Virginia University Public $10,449 $43,900
Founded in 1867 as a public land grant university, WVU already enjoys ?R1? research status, the highest level of research activity a university can obtain as described by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. Given its research prominence, it should come as no surprise that 85 percent of the university's teaching faculty have the highest academic degree in their field.
MorgantownWest Virginia Junior College, Morgantown Private for-profit $18,668 $21,500
This junior college has been around for more than 120 years. The many students who enjoy the wide variety of courses and programs also have the luxury of attending a school with a small campus feel. The school offers a personalized level of instruction and attention in many academic areas of study, including dental assisting, business, legal assisting and pharmacy tech.

Source: College Scorecard

Resources for Prospective West Virginia College Students

Getting into college can be stressful. Fortunately, there are many online resources available to help students figure out what to study in college, how to pay for it and how to make the most of their higher education. Below are a few resources specific to West Virginia.

College Foundation of West Virginia

This foundation is an in-depth and easy-to-navigate college and career planning resource for students, families and educators.

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

This system provides academic and career resources to students and educators within West Virginia’s community college system.

Smart529

Smart529 is West Virginia’s 529 college savings plan, an investment plan that receives tax benefits to encourage students and families to save for college.

West Virginia Gear Up

The primary objective of West Virginia’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, is to provide the necessary resources and support to high school students so that they may pursue a college education.

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

This commission oversees all the public, four-year colleges and universities in West Virginia.

West Virginia Office of Veterans Education and Training

The mission of the Office of Veterans Education and Training is to see that all of West Virginia’s veterans, National Guard members and soldiers are informed of their higher education rights and benefits and able to make the most of them.