Best Private Colleges

The best private colleges can give students a unique studying experience as an alternative to public institutions. These facilities typically have a significantly smaller number of students with exceptional faculty from an assortment of specialties. With privately funded programs, many private colleges offer unique specialist degrees.

With how illustrious these institutions can be, they accept several diverse students with top-tier academic transcripts. From health science majors to artistic designers, the types of graduates vary significantly. You may also find course curriculum from these schools focuses primarily on your desired specialty, enhancing future career success.

If you’re searching for a more close-knit studying opportunity, private colleges can be preferred alternatives. You’ll have a better chance to network with your professors as well as peers with on-campus housing, clubs, and teams. It’s guaranteed that regardless of what private institution you choose, it will offer many memorable events.

Below, you will find a list of ten of the top-tier private colleges throughout the United States ranked by three criteria:

  • An average starting salary no less than $60,000
  • Average annual costs under $26,000
  • Accredited and recognized programs by authorized parties

The list is organized by annual average cost, ranging from lowest to highest as an added benefit. All of the below information has been gathered from the US Department of Education and university websites.

10 Best Private Colleges

1. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

4 Year; Richmond, VA

Average Annual Cost: $12,300

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing has an exceptional graduation rate of 80%, with students earning an average salary of $62,290. There are two main focuses for those interested in gaining a nursing license. With the BSN pre-licensure, you’ll take nursing lectures combined with general education courses.

The RN-to-BSN course selection is specifically designed to be flexible to accommodate your professional schedule. Once you’ve earned your Bachelor’s, you can use this course to help improve critical thinking skills to better patient outcomes. The entire program is available online, allowing you to maintain the ideal schedule for your schooling and work.

You’ll find an assortment of fantastic courses designed to help you better your nursing skills in various specialties. Students will learn foundational knowledge in statistics, anatomy, physiology, developmental psychology, microbiology, and more. Even as a licensed nurse, you can better your skills by participating in the Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing Continuing Education Program.

You’ll have access to academic partnerships and community outreach programs for further learning opportunities in this program. You can use this platform as a path to continuous professional development to further enhance clinical competence.

2. Belanger School of Nursing

2 Year; Schenectady, NY

Average Annual Cost: $13,714

Belanger School of Nursing is a two-year degree program that can help you begin your career as a registered nurse. The school currently offers two distinct programs; the first is the Belanger School of Nursing. As for the other, it’s the Siena College’s Baldwin Nursing Dual Degree Program.

It’s a combination of a liberal arts program and science courses. Upon graduation, you’ve gained pertinent information to help you explore numerous careers. However, you’ll have a strong focus on clinical experiences for work in the community, acute, and residential settings.

You’ll obtain an Associate Science Degree by opting to study at Belanger School of Nursing, compared to the dual-degree program. This degree is a significant step to help you become better prepared for RN licensure. Depending on the program you choose, you could be studying for two to four years on average.

78% of enrolled students graduate with a degree of their choosing by the completion of their studies. With the exceptional number of liberal arts and science courses, you’ll be able to build an academic path that suits your needs. A few examples of course options include Foundations of Nursing, Transitions of Care, Owning Your Practice, Developmental Psychology, and Statistics.

3. Cochran School of Nursing

2 Year; Yonkers, NY

Average Annual Cost: $13,861

Cochran School of Nursing was founded in 1894 and has acquired over 3160 graduates with professionals working in hospitals around the country. Where it differs from other programs is that it offers both day and night hospital-based programs. Upon completion, you’ll acquire an Associate in Applied Science with a major in nursing, helping you prepare for your R.N.R.N. exam.

Cochran School of Nursing is designed to provide fundamental schooling for all registered nurses from an academic perspective. You’ll find a collection of intuitively designed courses through an accredited curriculum ideal for health sciences. Students will participate in written English and Literary Studies courses to Math Dosage and Calculation for Nursing.

With your degree, you can become one of the 77% of students that complete their education through the school. It’s also likely your average salary upon graduation will be approximately $75,518, helping you build a more comfortable life post-graduation.

4. St Vincent’s College

4 Year; Latrobe, PA

Average Annual Cost: $16,634

St Vincent’s College was established in 1846 as the first Benedictine college in the United States. With a 1500 year tradition, they’re ranked ninth in affordability out of the top ten colleges in Pennsylvania. Additionally, 98% of surveyed graduates continued onto graduate school or found employment after graduating.

The school currently offers several educational opportunities to students, including undergraduate and graduate degree programs. You’ll also find research opportunities, study abroad courses, experiential learning, continuing education classes, and pre-professional programs. Compared to other private institutions, this establishment is designed to support learners at all steps in their educational careers.

There is an unprecedented number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs you can consider.

Some include digital arts and media, criminology, computer science, economics, finance, forensic studies, and many more. When it comes to graduate degree programs, the list is even more diverse, offering several unique specialties.

If you’re looking for a college that provides you with an array of studying opportunities similar to public institutions, this school is ideal. In total, there are over 90 majors that you can graduate with, each offering unique career opportunities. With a 72% graduation rate, it’s easy to see why their course offerings are some of the highest-ranked in the state.

5. Capella University

4 Year; Minneapolis, MN

Average Annual Cost: Tuition and Fees

Capella University is a unique private institution ideal for students looking for part-time studies, as 70% of their student body. 30% of the student body pursue full-time programs, making it ideal for working students. Their student body is also quite diverse, with students from many backgrounds and educational interests.

What makes Capella University unique is that the majority of its degree programs are designed for working professionals. You’ll find an assortment of on-demand, online programs that meet your specific needs.

The school has implemented a unique avenue of study referred to as FlexPath. With FlexPath, students design their academic plans to help manage their costs, set individual deadlines, and learn at their own pace. It’s undoubtedly one of the best options for career-driven students looking to achieve higher education. FlexPath is only offered for select programs.

There is an impressive number of areas of study that this private institution highly recommends. Students can delve into health sciences, psychology, nursing, business, education, social work, and many others.

6. Golden Gate University-San Francisco

4 Year; San Francisco, CA

Average Annual Cost: $18,015

Golden Gate University-San Francisco is a private college that offers several diverse courses for all students. You’ll find traditional graduate and undergraduate degree programs paired with a faculty of law and online courses. Their ever-growing list of programs contains over 60+ programs that feature a 98% success rate amongst students.

With an average class size of 17 students, you can guarantee you’ll get the ideal amount of attention from your professors to help you excel. Students who require more one-on-one instruction will significantly prefer smaller class sizes compared to public universities. Some of the most common areas of study include finance, marketing, leadership, operations management, psychology, and accounting.

If you’re curious about the school’s law degree program, you’ll want to consider the J.D. Program. It comprises a hands-on curriculum with innovative teaching methods that combines real-world and academic skills to succeed in your career. Students can choose between standard full-time day classes or J.D. Flex Online, which contains online learning for a more flexible schedule.

Approximately 45% of students graduate from the school with their desired degree. However, these values are bound to increase if you opt for flexible online learning opportunities. With these courses, you can effectively manage your school and real-world schedules to acquire your degree at your own pace.

7. Helene Fuld College of Nursing

2 Year; New York, NY

Average Annual Cost: $18,764

Graduates from Helene Fuld College of Nursing access competitive salaries up to $93,816 upon graduation, contributing to their 70% graduation rate. When exploring a career in nursing, this is one of the more prestigious schools to consider. There are many great course options for LPN-to-RN, RN-to-BS, and Generic BS program participants.

Students will participate in many lectures and laboratory courses that explore the ever-changing career of nursing. You’ll get a better understanding of microscopy, cell structures, tissue types, major organic compounds, inorganic chemistry, and more. Each specialty focuses on unique aspects to help you better prepare for your desired certification.

You’ll also be able to choose from different elective courses depending on the specialty you’d like to work in. For example, Helene Fuld College of Nursing offers surgical nursing courses, professional foundations credits, English courses, and behavioral sciences courses. It’s a well-rounded option for all students interested in developing a career in nursing and health sciences.

8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

4 Year; Daytona Beach, FL

Average Annual Cost: $20,333

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide has an average retention rate of 50%, proving their courses are suitable for many careers. With a graduation rate of 35%, many enrollees continue to obtain their degrees after their senior years. With their unique course offerings, the school is ranked #1 in online Bachelor’s programs for regular students and veterans by U.S.P.S. News.

There are a multitude of degree choices open to prospective students depending on your degree type. You can look at programs that offer certificates, associate’s degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and Ph.D.’s. Additionally, students can opt to take non-degree programs if they’re generally curious about a specific area of study.

At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide, you’ll likely fall within one of seven fields of study. Currently, the school offers aviation, business, engineering, space, computers and technology, and applied science. One of their more unique offerings is security, intelligence, and safety, assisting with private and public sector careers.

9. St Paul’s School of Nursing-Staten Island

2 Year; Staten Island, NY

Average Annual Cost: $25,322

When pursuing a career in healthcare or nursing, St Paul’s School of Nursing-Staten Island is a common choice for New York-based students. Their programs revolve around nursing, dentistry, and the healthcare or medical sector. You’ll find a diverse course offering, which contributes to the school’s 77% graduation rate.

All of the courses are designed to help you acquire the necessary certificates and licenses for your career. For example, obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing helps prepare you for RN licensure upon graduation. You’ll find it’s simpler to find gainful employment in settings like clinics, retirement homes, surgery centers, and doctor’s offices.

The uniqueness of St Paul’s School of Nursing-Staten Island’s curriculum is what sets the school apart. It provides comprehensive and engaging learning environments combining hands-on lab skills and classroom teachings. Students will also receive real-world clinical experience, better preparing them for the future.

10. The Creative Circus

Certificate; Atlanta, GA

Average Annual Cost: $34,905

Taking your creativity to the next level and finding gainful employment can be a fantastic opportunity for artists. With The Creative Circus, you have the option to graduate with an exemplary certificate, helping you step foot into the most sought-after careers worldwide. There are several great areas of study you can explore in this private institution.

Students can sign up for a certificate program revolving around photography, copywriting, creative technology, graphic design, content creation, and art direction. With the booming popularity of digital media, this school is one of the top recommended for helping you choose a future-proof artistic career. Within each specialty, you’ll explore unique concepts of prospective careers that allow you to apply your abilities.

Students will learn to strategically work with copywriters and other creatives to manage non-traditional artistic ideas in art direction. Copywriting focuses primarily on marketing through writing, while graphic design capitalizes on transforming ideas into visual media. Innovative technology is unique as it focuses on advertising, marketing, education, and entertainment.

Upon graduation, you’ll be glad to know that approximately 93% of graduates find work in their field within six months. Graphic design and creative technology have the highest placement rates of 100%, with image and copywriting graduates at 94%.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.