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Cheapest Colleges in Virginia

Published by
Emmanuel Onalo

Attending college is considered to be one of the most important milestones in everyone’s life. It teaches you valuable skills, essential abilities and helps you make lifelong friends. What’s more, such education improves your career prospects and job security, which are immensely important these days. However, affording a college degree is often a factor that stops many young people from applying.

If you’re worried about paying for college, don’t fret. While a college education can be expensive, there are many colleges that have cheap tuition and fees while maintaining high teaching standards. Colleges in Virginia, for instance, offer inexpensive degrees, courses, and programs for all students, regardless of their nationality and these colleges are some of the cheapest.

Virginia is a state rich in history, culture, and learning opportunities.  As one of the original colonies, Virginia has long been home to institutions for higher learning and progressing those who reside there to a higher plane of thinking and living. As such Virginia is home to over 70 institutions for higher learning.  With so many choices it can be difficult to know which one is best to apply to and plan to attend.  With Virginia’s location nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachians, students have a rich variety of activities.  It is also conveniently located close enough to the nation’s capital that many institutions for higher learning provide very unique opportunities for internships and externships. 

These are the cheapest colleges in Virginia

Established in 1998, Fairfax University of America is a private institution that awards bachelor’s degrees.  Students can enrol in the bachelor of science in business, information systems, public and international affairs, language studies or general education.  In these programs, they will be equipped with the skill to deal with world issues.  Fairfax University also provides world class faculty that are experts in their fields which provides a more realistic view of their education and career outcomes.  Students learn to become professionals and have a global perspective as they earn their bachelor’s degrees.  Through research, workshops, presentation, and collaborative work students will rise up to become the professionals of tomorrow through the mentorship they receive at

Resident Tuition: $10,328

Non-Resident Tuition: $10,328

  • Shenandoah University

Established in 1875, Shenandoah University is a private institution that enrols approximately 4,000 students each year.  Students of Shenandoah University not only gain the knowledge they need in a given field but also the skills and experience of working collaboratively with others to ensure success in their future careers.  There are six colleges at Shenandoah including the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, Shenandoah Conservatory, School of Health Professions, School of Education and Leadership, and Division of Applied Technology.  Students have over 100 majors to choose from as they pursue their degrees.  Over 97% of the students attending receive some form of financial aid making it a much more affordable option and the cheapest private institution in the state of Virginia.  

Resident Tuition: $32,530

Non-Resident Tuition: $32,530

Established in 1908, the University of Mary Washington is a public institution that was founded to educate and prepare teachers.  Since opening The University of Mary Washington has grown to offer degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences.  It has consistently ranked among the best colleges in the nation offering rigorous academics and small class sizes, students thrive at UMW.  Students can choose from more than 60 majors including education, business, geospatial analysis, nursing, liberal arts studies and more.  Many students participate in the study abroad programs offered as well.  Approximately 4,400 students enrol each year in either undergraduate or graduate programs. 

Resident Tuition: $12,714

Non-Resident Tuition: $28,650

  • Longwood University

Established in 1839 as a female seminary institution, Longwood University has since grown to offer more than 100 areas of study.  Longwood University is a public institution that enrols approximately 5,800 students each year.  Every student will participate in an internship or externship, research, or field experience to guarantee each graduate has gained applied experience in their field. Areas of study include economics, art history, biology, physics, pre-law, real estate, marketing, English and many more.  Students also have opportunities for service and extracurricular activities to enrich their experience while at Longwood.  

Resident Tuition: $13,340

Non-Resident Tuition: $29,300

Established in 1960, Christopher Newport University is a public liberal arts institution that offers affordable undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Students have four broad areas of study to choose a degree from including the social sciences, natural and behavioural sciences, business, and the arts and humanities.  Students can choose to earn an affordable degree in government, political science, psychology, biology, and more.  The school aims to help every student gain real-world experience in their field prior to graduation through a variety of opportunities including study abroad, internships, research, and service.  

Location: Newport News, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $14,754

Non-Resident Tuition: $27,620

Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 74%

Established in 1882, Virginia State University is a public land grant university that was the nation’s first fully-state supported institution for higher learning for black Americans.  With more than 40 majors to choose from, students can earn degrees in the liberal arts, technology, science, business, engineering, agriculture, and more. With innovative methods that help students integrate knowledge with applied skills through outreach, extension, and research opportunities, students gain more than a degree, they gain confidence.  Students receive student-focused mentoring, technology resources and advising.  Student life is vibrant with student-led clubs and organizations as well as performing arts, athletics, and more.

Location: Petersburg, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $9,056

Non-Resident Tuition: $20,300

Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 43%

  • Old Dominion University

Established in 1930 as a division of the College of William and Mary, it is now the Old Dominion University and is one of the largest universities in Virginia enrolling over 24,000 students each year.  As a large university, it is no surprise that it offers over 2,400 courses with 275 academic programs.  Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees from Old Dominion.  Students can pursue degrees in many fields but Old Dominion is recognized for the number of graduates from STEM programs.  It is also one of the institutions that offer maritime engineering, port logistics, cybersecurity, and coastal resilience.  It is also a partner for NASA Langley Research Center as well as the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory. 

Location: Norfolk, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $10,560

Non-Resident Tuition: $29,460

Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 50%

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Established in 1919, Radford University is one of the cheapest colleges in Virginia and as such, a much more affordable public institution. The institution is one of eight doctorate-granting institutions in Virginia.  Students can choose from more than 100-degree programs.  Radford University comprises six colleges: Education and Human Development, Science and Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, Human and Health Services, and Business and Economics.  Students of Radford are known to be involved in the community through service and internships as well as promoting their communities upon graduation. Students have many opportunities to be engaged on campus through clubs and organizations as well as within the community. 

Location: Radford, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $11,210

Non-Resident Tuition: $23,292

Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 58%

  • James Madison University

Established in 1908 as a Normal School for Women, James Madison University has since grown to become a large degree-granting university for men and women. Over 21,000 students enrol each year seeking undergraduate degrees in one them any fields available from James Madison University.  With more than 80-degree programs to choose from students will find a degree that interests them and utilizes their talents and ambitions.  Fields of study include integrated science, geographic science, architectural science, quantitative finance, engineering and more.  Student life is very engaging with over 400 student clubs and organizations.  Students are also encouraged to participate in faculty-led research. 

Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $12,016

Non-Resident Tuition: $28,416

Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 82%

  • George Mason University

Established in 1956, George Mason University is a public research institution that has grown to become the largest institution for higher learning in Virginia.  George Mason University operates four campuses and enrols over 37,000 students across these campuses.  Students can pursue over 140 affordable degree programs from ten colleges and schools.  GMU is home to the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation which is the only program like this in the nation.  Students can pursue a degree in fields such as psychology, accounting, liberal arts, information technology, biology, criminal science, and many more.

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

Resident Tuition: $12,462

Non-Resident Tuition: $35,922

Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1

Financial Aid: Yes

Graduation Rate: 69%

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In conclusion, Virginia is home to some of the oldest institutions of higher education in the country, many of which maintain close ties with their historical roots. The state also boasts some of the largest names in public education, including George Mason University, an up-and-coming state school with a rising reputation and convenient access to the nation’s capital, as well as the engineering hub that is Virginia Tech and the top-ranked University of Virginia. While these schools are known for their high-quality, rigorous academic programs, they also share another feature in common: value.

We have identified the top 20 cheapest colleges in Virginia. I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested in other articles like this, visit

This post was last modified on October 6, 2021 2:04 pm