Virginia is an interesting place to further your higher education. If you’ve chosen to enroll at a public university in Virginia, it’s a good decision because you’ll be cutting down on tuition expenses and also get offered a wider scope of courses and programs.
For the academic year 2022-2023, 44 public universities are active in Virginia, in addition to the 107 colleges and universities that make up the total 151 colleges and universities in Virginia currently.
According to data harvested from Univstats, the average undergraduate tuition & fees for Virginia universities in 2023 are $16,177 and $19,851 for residents and non-residents, respectively. Whereas, for graduate schools, the average fees are $14,350 and $19,517 for in-state students and out-of-state students, respectively.
This means that public universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education in Virginia. It’s no surprise because these schools receive state and federal funding.
So if you are looking to attend a public university in Virginia, we’ve reviewed some of the best after rigorous research on the 44 active public universities in the destination.
List of the best public universities in Virginia
We’ve ranked the following public universities as the best option for both local and overseas students.
However, keep in mind that they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions.
But the good part is that many of these options offer a wide variety of academic programs and prestigious research opportunities.
- University of Virginia – Main Campus
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute
- College of William & Mary
- James Madison University
- Wytheville Community College
- Mountain Empire Community College
University of Virginia – Main Campus
- Tuition: $19,785 and $54,438 for Virginia residents and out-of-state students respectively
- University of Virginia Admission requirements page
- University of Virginia tuition details page
Located in the Charlottesville area
of Virginia, the University of Virginia is one of the most prestigious public universities.
It has an enrollment volume of 25,628 and offers a wide variety of programs. The best part is that these academically rigorous programs are offered at an affordable price, compared to the offerings of private schools.
With an average per-credit fee of 1337, the University of Virginia’s main campus Offers academic and technical programs and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
- Tuition: $33,857
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute Admission requirements page
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute tuition details page
Virginia Polytechnic Institute is located in Blacksburg in Virginia. It has an enrollment volume of 37,024 and offers both in-person and online academic Formats.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the University offers multiple programs as a public institution.
When you get into this university, you stand a fair chance of gaining federal financial aid programs and you also get an average aid award of $ 7036,
The requirements for getting into the Virginia polytechnic institute vary depending on your program, but students generally may have to complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements.
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a very popular option for public education in Virginia and you won’t make a bad decision choosing this university.
College of William & Mary
- Tuition: $17,434 and $40,089 a year for in-state students and out-of-state students respectively.
- College of William & Mary Admission requirements page
- College of William & Mary Admission tuition details page
As an enrollee at the College of William and Mary, you can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor’s degree in four years, or a master’s degree in one to two years.
Students in doctoral degree programs also complete their studies within three to seven years.
the college of William & Mary requires applicants to submit test scores but this largely depends on the program you’re applying for.
The public college also offers waiver that helps for easier application.
Located in Williamsburg, William & Mary offers multiple degree-granting programs and courses and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
James Madison University
- Tuition: $13,162 and $30,152 for Virginia residents and out-of-state students undergraduate, respectively.
- James Madison University admission requirements page
- James Madison University tuition details page
Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, James Madison University is another fantastic option for students looking to study at a public university.
With a rated graduation rate of 82 percent, the University has an enrollment volume of 21,594 and offers education both online and in-person.
Depending on your program, you can also qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores as an applicant.
These opportunities make it easier for many students to enroll in this university. The public institution also offers financial aid that helps students to pay for their college degrees.
Wytheville Community College
- Tuition: $7,726 plus other expenses
- Wytheville Community College Admission requirements page
- Wytheville Community College Tuition details page
The Wytheville Community College is located in Wytheville in Virginia. It has a graduation rate of 42 percent, making it quite competitive to gain admission into this public university.
With an enrollment volume of 2,224, the university remains a top-ranked option for both local and international students.
They offer both Academic and technical programs. Some academics can be completed within the space of months while others can take as long as seven years.
Also, some programs offered at the Wytheville Community College don’t require standardized admission tests.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Wytheville Community College also offers financial aid to help students afford tuition.
Mountain Empire Community College
- Tuition: $3,336 for In-State students and $8,006 for Out-State students
- Mountain Empire Community College Admission requirements page
- Mountain Empire Community College Tuition details page
Getting into the Mountain Empire Community College is quite competitive. The public college is located in Big Stone Gap in Virginia.
They offer education via online and in-person programs and have an enrollment volume of 2,253.
Here, in-state students pay half of the out-of-state student’s tuition but the average education cost is affordable since it’s a public university.
As an applicant, you have a chance to qualify for test-optional admissions. This opportunity has boosted the application rate of the Mountain Empire Community College over the years.
Apart from offering financial aid to help student cover costs, the college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In the previous academic year, the average annual in-state four-year, public university tuition in Virginia was $9,506. Since public schools in this destination are partially funded by the taxpayers of Virginia, you can generally get lower tuition as an in-state resident while out-of-state students tend to pay a little higher in these public universities.
After analyzing the academic data of the 44 active public universities in Virginia, we discovered that Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a popular option with its 34,448 full-time student population and average tuition of $11,750 for in-state students.
However, the most popular isn’t always the most ideal. Virginia Polytechnic Institute, like most other public universities in Virginia, has limited financial aid opportunities for students than private schools.
On the other hand, the College of William and Mary appears to be a place where students have a better opportunity to interact with faculty or take part in experiential learning.
However, based on our analysis, it is the most expensive public school in Virginia with an average in-state tuition of $17,434.