2023 Best Southeastern Colleges and Universities

I grew up in Mississippi, in the heart of the deep south. In the south, we love our sweet tea and college football. If you are not from here, you may think that the south is comprised of mostly dirt roads and confederate flags. We have those things, but you what else we have? We have an overabundance of world-class institutions of higher education. In this piece, we will discuss the best colleges and universities that the southeastern area of the United States has to offer.

Vanderbilt University – This private university ranks #14 among schools across the United States. Ten colleges make up Vanderbilt, and several of these have earned national distinction, including the prestigious Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Not surprisingly, the school has also been recognized for its undergraduate teaching. Expect to pay slightly less than $49,816 annually in tuition and fees.

Duke University – Duke University – Duke is 8th in the nation among nationally-ranked universities. This private school has ten colleges and offers prestigious degrees in business, law, medicine, engineering, public policy, and nursing, to name a few. Duke is also considered a best-value school and offers outstanding undergraduate teaching, and it’s well-known for its basketball program. The university accepts 10% of applicants each fall. Annual tuition and fees cost $55,960.

University of Virginia – Tied for 25th place nationally, this school was founded by Thomas Jefferson. It is well-known for its schools of engineering, business and administration, law, and medicine. Those who attend Mr. Jefferson’s university” experience outstanding undergraduate teaching, and the university is veteran-friendly. In-state tuition and fees are less than $17,500 per year.

The University of Florida – This school boasts a classic campus and top-notch academics. You’ll find students here to be motivated and ambitious! And of course, the school’s athletic program is well-known.

The University of Miami – This school entices students with its proximity to the beaches of the Florida Keys and to the cultural center of bustling Miami. In addition, it is a top-ranked research institution.

Florida State University – With a freshman retention rate of 93% and six Nobel Laureate faculty members, this school’s academics stand apart. The college offers a myriad of opportunities with 160 undergraduate degrees and academic advisors to guide students on the right path.

Wake Forest University – A private school, Wake Forest accepts undergraduates into either the Wake Forest College or the School of Business. This university encourages study abroad, offering 70 international locations from which to choose. Wake Forest is ranked #27 among national universities. The tuition and fees here are $55,322 per year.

University of Mississippi – With an undergraduate enrollment of almost 23,136 students, Ole Miss offers a big college experience in a small university town. The school is ranked #152 nationwide, and it is considered a best-value university, as well as a best-value for veterans. The acceptance rate is 84%, and the annual tuition is $8,290.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill – The Chapel Hill campus, commonly called UNC, ties with another school for 30th place among national universities. Most students are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. North Carolina state law allows only 18% of the students enrolled to be from out of state. The university tuition and fees run $8,986 annually.

The University of Tennessee – Ranked #115 among national universities. The colleges at this school offer more than 110 degrees, and each program has an honor track. UT is an excellent choice for veterans, and it is also recognized as a best-value school. This school is about $13,000 annually for tuition and fees.

College of William and Mary – Ranked at 38th in the nation, the College of William and Mary is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Known for its programs in business, education, and law, this college is ranked #5 for undergraduate teaching, and #16 for veterans. Tuition and fees cost $21,830 annually for in-state students.

Auburn University – Many people consider Auburn one of the best places to live in Alabama, and students at the university also enjoy the city and all it has to offer. This school focuses on research as a result of being a land, sea, and space grant institution. Freshmen live on campus, but all other students must find off-campus housing. In-state students can expect to pay approximately $11,276 a year in tuition and fees.

Washington and Lee University – This private school is #11 in the nation among liberal arts universities. This university is a best-value choice and has a recognized business program. Washington and Lee accepts 22% of applicants. The annual tuition and fees run $52,455 annually.

University of Richmond – Ranked 25th in the United States, this private liberal arts school is also a best-value choice with a nationally-recognized business program. The acceptance rate here is 32%, and students find they have access to a variety of co-curricular opportunities, as well as the opportunity to study abroad. Annual tuition and fees cost $52,610.

University of South Carolina-Aiken – This public school offers small class sizes in nearly half of the classes, and the academic focus is on liberal arts and sciences curriculum. The school is an excellent choice for veterans, ranks #1 among public schools, and is a best-value-choice. Annual tuition and fees are approximately $10,760.

Mississippi University for Women – MUW was the first public college for women in the United States, and the student population is 80% female. Nursing, business administration, and liberal arts make up the top three programs. It has earned the distinction of being #58 among regional schools in the South, and it is a best-value.  The university is tied for nineteenth place as a top public school. Students at this college can expect to pay $6,940 annually in tuition and fees.

Belhaven University – This private college ranks #65 among southern institutions of higher learning. Belhaven offers a Christian liberal arts education that will buoy graduates throughout their lives. Tuition and fees cost approximately $25,300 a year.

Davidson College – Taking 10th place among national colleges for liberal arts, this small, private schools offer 20+ undergraduate majors and an opportunity to graduate without any college debt, thanks to The Davidson Trust. Annual tuition and fees cost $51,447.

Elon University – This school is ranked first among regional universities in the south. Elon has five colleges and schools of study, and the university offers more than 50 majors. The university is recognized for its outstanding undergraduate teaching and its business program. Elon is considered innovative as well as a best-value choice for higher education. The tuition and fees here are $35,319

High Point University – At #1 in regional colleges of the south, High Point consists of  eight colleges and schools. Students complete courses with a liberal arts focus, and the university encourage collaboration with other schools. High Point has earned first place status as an innovative school. The annual tuition and fees run approximately $35,118.

Faulkner University – This small, private university offers a Christian-based liberal arts education for more than 70 different degrees. The school attract students from across the United States and from other countries; half of these students are minorities, and more women than men attend this school at a ratio of 2:1. Tuition, room, and board are $29,240 annually.

Mississippi College – This school offers liberal arts and science programs in a Christian environment. Students who are admitted to the private college have demonstrated excellence in academics and seek to integrate their faith into their studies. The college is ranked #32 in the South and is a best-value school. Expect to pay approximately $18,026 annually in tuition and fees.

Tulane University – Tulane is tied for 44th place among universities across the nation. Located in downtown NOLA, this college is at the hub of culture and cuisine. There is also an uptown campus. This university is known for its law school as well as the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The school is highly selective, and those student accepted into the university can expect to pay approximately $54,820 annually in tuition and fees.

William Carey University – This private school with a Baptist affiliation teaches leadership and service in addition to academics. Students accepted into a program here will find themselves in small class sizes averaging thirteen students. William Carey accepts 38% of its applicants and is ranked #39 in the South. Tuition and fees here cost $12,600 annually.

Samford University – A Christian University that is slightly larger than Faulkner, Samford is also a liberal arts school. Students experience small classes that focus on communication, culture and a Biblical focus. Tuition and fees cost approximately $31,560/year.

John Brown University – This is a small, private school that offers 40 undergraduate degrees in the humanities, fine arts, business, engineering and Bible studies, and the school also offers master’s  Students from more than 40 states and almost 40 countries have chosen John Brown as their university. Annual tuition and fees at this school are approximately $26,928.

Harding University – Another private university in Arkansas, Harding is known for its acceptance of National Merit Scholars. The school devotes itself to preparing students for global success, and more than two-thirds of the student population has studied overseas at one of the school’s international campuses located in Africa, Australia, and Europe. Annual tuition and fees are just under $20,000.

University of Alabama – Birmingham – The university in Birmingham offers research and internship opportunities, so in addition to a degree in your field of study, you’ll have hands-on experience as well. Students from this school have experienced continued successes as Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshal and Truman Scholars. Students from this The University of Alabama also has recognized campuses in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. Expect to pay $10,710 annually in tuition and fees.

Belmont University – Belmont is a private Christian school devoted to outstanding undergraduate teaching; Belmont tied for fourth place in this category, and it ranks #6 among regional universities in the south. This university is also veteran-friendly and confers degrees in music and music production. Annual tuition and fees at this private school are $34,310.

The University of South Florida – A diverse student population makes this a great pick for international students. 90% of graduates have a job within two years of graduation, making this school an excellent investment.

Tennessee Wesleyan University – Tennessee Wesleyan University – At # 16 among southern colleges, this school offers a Christian atmosphere and strong academics in teacher education, business, and nursing. Veterans will find that this school caters to their unique needs, and the university is a best-value choice. Annual tuition and fees cost $24,300.

Arkansas State University – Arkansas State University – A-State, as students and alums call it, offers more than 160 bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the school ranks at #95 in best regional colleges of the south, and among the top in Arkansas. Also, the school offers classes in military science, a vibrant college experience with plenty of intramurals, and it attracts students from around the world. In-state tuition is $8,478

Alderson Broaddus University – Tied for 30th place among Southern regional colleges, this school has an enrollment of 1,020 students and a 41% acceptance rate. The university is known for its programs in nursing, sports and fitness, and business administration and management. Alderson Broaddus is a best-value pick among school in West Virginia. The annual tuition and fees are $27,910.

The Citadel – Also known as the Military College of South Carolina, the Citadel has a strong academic and leadership focus, and the college requires all students to live on campus. There are no Greek societies on campus, but there are plenty of co-curricular activities. This school is the second best in the nation for veterans, and it also ranks high as a best-value school. In-state tuition is $12,516 annually.

Milligan College – Ranked at #23 among southern universities, Milligan, a Christian liberal arts school, requires that every student participates in its Spiritual Formation Program. Many Milligan graduates go on to earn advanced degrees. The annual tuition and fees are $33,700.

Welch College – This small, private school has a student enrollment of 366 students and has placed #13 among southern region colleges. Formerly known as the Free Will Baptist Bible College, the campus attracts students from a variety of Christian backgrounds. It has continued some of its original traditions, including prohibiting alcohol on campus. Annual tuition and fees run $19,012

Coker College – At #5 among regional colleges in the south, Coker is a private school that encourages lively discussion and hands-on learning that prepares students for their lives ahead. The college is a best-value choice. Tuition and fees here run $29,550

College of Charleston – This school made it to twelfth place among southern regional colleges, and the academic programs follow a liberal arts and sciences curriculum that thrives on the synergy created by community partnerships and collaborative learning. The annual tuition here is just under $13,000.

Lander University – Lander has been ranked #21 among southern regional colleges. This public school offers liberal arts degrees and business, education, and professional nursing programs for certification. Annual tuition and fees here cost $11,700.

West Liberty University – This school is tied for 37th place among regional colleges in the South. Two-thirds of the classes offered have fewer than twenty students, and this school is veteran-friendly and ranked at #6 among top public schools. Expect to pay approximately $7,730 annually in tuition and fees if you’re an in-state student.

Ohio Valley University – Coming in at #43 among similar schools in the South, this private university is faith-based and traditional in academic offerings. You find a close-knit community of learners and small class sizes. Almost half the students attending the school are in the Greek system. The annual tuition and fees are $21,900.

Wheeling Jesuit University – This school takes 38th place in regional universities in the South. The focus here is on faith, academics, and public service, and it’s a best-value school. The annual tuition and fees are $29,290.

Marshall University – Marshall has captured 42nd place among Southern universities. The school has earned recognition for its business and engineering programs, and it’s a best-value choice among similar universities. Marshall offers 200 majors and a vibrant selection of co-curricular activities. The annual in-state tuition and fees are just under $8,128.

Virginia Tech – This school has tied for 76th place among top-notch universities across the nation. The focus at this school is on research. The College of Engineering has earned top marks for its innovative program. The tuition and fees are $13,620 Virginia is also home to some of the country’s best liberal arts colleges. These four took top honors in the best 100 schools.

Click here to learn more about the ranking methodology that we used to compile this list.

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