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Roanoke, Virginia (VA) Colleges and Universities

There are about five not-for-profit colleges and universities within the Roanoke, VA, area. Read about the schools with the most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

How many programs a school offers might be an important consideration for students when selecting a school, especially for students who haven't yet chosen a specific field of study. The schools within a 25-mile radius of Roanoke offer relatively few academic programs, compared to larger schools in other areas that offer hundreds. No schools in the state of Virginia offer more than 150 programs, and all Roanoke-area schools offer well under 100 programs. To find the schools with the most program variety in the area, read on.

1 - Virginia Western Community College

This community college is located in Roanoke and enrolls approximately 8,600 students. The 2-year, public school offers about 57 certificate and associate's degree programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the most popular field of study among graduates of associate's degree programs during the 2011-2012 school year was general studies. Health professions, engineering technology, and business were also popular areas of study among students in associate's programs.

1 - Ferrum College

Ferrum College is located in Ferrum, 24 miles from Roanoke. The school enrolls about 1,500 students and awards bachelor's degrees. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school #42 among regional colleges in the South. Like Virginia Western Community College, Ferrum College offers roughly 57 programs. According to U.S. News and World Report, popular majors at the school in 2011 included business, psychology, social work, and the health professions. The NCES reports that the most popular major among 2011-2012 graduates was business administration and management.

2 - Roanoke College

This college is located in Salem, about eight miles from Roanoke, and enrolls about 2,000 undergraduate students. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked it #133 among national liberal arts colleges. According to the school's website, Roanoke College is the second-oldest Lutheran college in the nation. The school offers about 45 programs. U.S. News and World Report states that popular majors at the school in 2011 included psychology, history, sociology, and English literature.

Lowest Net Price

The NCES calculates a school's average net price by determining the total cost for full-time, beginning undergraduates and then subtracting the average amount of scholarship and grant aid received. The average net prices for the 2011-2012 school year among traditional not-for-profit schools ranged from roughly $6,065 to $26,500. The following three colleges and universities were the most affordable among traditional schools in the Roanoke area.

1 - Virginia Western Community College

This school's net price was $6,065, the lowest of all schools in Roanoke and the surrounding area. The NCES reports that, during the 2011-2012 school year, 73% of the school's full-time, beginning students received financial aid. This aid was mainly in the form of grants and scholarships, but some students received federal loans, according to the NCES. The college reports that during the 2011-2012 school year, it disbursed over $21 million dollars in aid to 5,827 students.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the NCES estimated that in-state tuition and fees for full-time, beginning students were $3,780, while out-of-state students paid an estimated $9,156. Books and supplies for the academic year cost an estimated $1,500.

2 - Ferrum College

Ferrum College's net price for 2011-2012 was $17,411. During the 2012-2013 school year, the NCES reports, tuition and fees for full-time, beginning undergraduates were an estimated $27,425. On-campus room and board cost an additional $9,130. During the 2011-2012 school year, 100% of the school's freshmen received grant or scholarship aid in the average amount of $19,696. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average student loan debt among Ferrum graduates in 2011 was $28,016.

3 - Hollins University

This women's liberal arts school is located in Roanoke and enrolls approximately 1,000 students. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked the school #112 among national liberal arts colleges. The university's net price for the 2011-2012 school year was $20,685.

The NCES estimated that tuition and fees for freshmen during the 2012-2013 school year were $32,075. On-campus room and board cost an estimated $11,220. All first-year undergraduates received grant or scholarship aid during the 2011-2012 school year in the average amount of $23,312. Among all undergraduates, 72% took out an average amount of $8,135 in federal loans. According to U.S. News and World Report, Hollins 2011 graduates accumulated an average of $30,383 in student loan debt.

Highest Graduation Rates

The NCES calculates a school's overall graduation rate by determining how many full-time, beginning students complete their programs within 150% of the time normally allotted for that program (e.g., six years for a bachelor's degree program). The following Roanoke colleges and universities had the highest graduation rates among traditional, not-for-profit schools. All graduation rates, reported by the NCES, were calculated for full-time students enrolling in academic programs in 2005.

1 - Roanoke College

This college's overall graduation rate of 69% places it at the top of the list among all area schools. The NCES also reports that 27% of students enrolling in 2005 transferred out. The school has a 77% retention rate for full-time students who began their studies in the fall of 2010 and returned in the fall of 2011.

2 - Hollins University

Hollins comes in at second among area not-for-profit schools with its overall graduation rate of 63%. Among students who enrolled in bachelor's degree programs in 2005, 58% graduated within 'normal time,' or four years. The 6-year graduation rate among Asian, Native American and multiracial students pursuing bachelor's degrees, however, was 100%. The retention rate among full-time students between 2010 and 2011 was 67%.

3 - Ferrum College

Ferrum College's overall graduation rate is 31%, according to the NCES. U.S. News and World Report determined that the national average 4-year graduation rate was 40% for students enrolling in bachelor's degree programs in 2005 and completing them in 2009. At Ferrum, the 4-year graduation rate was 16% for students attending from 2005 to 2009. The school has a 55% retention rate for full-time students who began their studies in the fall of 2010 and returned in the fall of 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios

The NCES also provides student-faculty ratio data, which can indicate how large or small classes might be at schools. Professors at schools with lower student-faculty ratios may be more accessible. Below are the colleges and universities with the lowest student-faculty ratios among traditional, not-for-profit schools in the Roanoke area.

1 - Hollins University

Hollins University's student-faculty ratio is 9:1. According to U.S. News and World Report, about 85% of the school's classes had fewer than 20 students in 2011. The school reports on its website that the average class has 10 students. U.S. News and World Report reported that the school employed 68 full-time and 37 part-time faculty members in 2011; all full-time faculty members held a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.

2 - Roanoke College

This school's student-faculty ratio is 11:1. According to the NCES, Roanoke College enrolled 2,057 undergraduates in the fall semester of 2011. U.S. News and World Report stated that roughly 56% of the school's classes had fewer than 20 students in 2011. During the same year, the school employed 167 full-time and 49 part-time faculty members. Of full-time faculty, 86% had a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.

3 - Ferrum College

With its student-faculty ratio of 18:1, Ferrum comes in third again. The NCES reports that, in the fall of 2012, the college employed 76 full-time and 35 part-time faculty members, all of whom taught classes. The school had a total enrollment of 1,512 undergraduates in the fall of 2011. According to U.S. News and World Report, about 50% of the classes at Ferrum had fewer than 20 students in 2011.

Roanoke, Virginia, Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Ferrum College Ferrum, VA (24 miles from Roanoke) 4-year, private non-profit Bachelor's degrees Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Hollins University Roanoke, VA 4-year, private non-profit Postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Net Price
Roanoke College Salem, VA (about eight miles from Roanoke) 4-year, private non-profit Bachelor's degrees Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Virginia Western Community College Roanoke, VA 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1- but less than 2-year certificates; associate's degrees Most Program Variety,
Lowest Net Price
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