Deciding on a southern U.S. college or university can include several factors, including ranking, costs and graduation rate. Consider the following categories when looking for a school in the southern U.S. states. Tuition rates, graduation rates and student population information is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Highly Ranked Schools in the Southern U.S.
U.S. News & World Report publishes separate regional ranking lists for western colleges and western universities (including northwest, southwest and south central states) and southern colleges and southern universities (including southeastern states). On three of those lists, the #1 ranked college or university was located in a southern state - Trinity University in San Antonio, TX; Rollins College in Winter Park, FL; and High Point University in High Point, NC. The following southern colleges and universities were also ranked within the top 10 on one of the U.S. News lists:
- Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA (#3 West Universities)
- Samford University in Birmingham, AL (#4 South Universities)
- Milligan College in Johnson City, TN (#5 South Colleges)
- Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL (#4 South Colleges)
- California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (#10 West Universities)
Largest Southern U.S. Schools
While small schools have their advantages, going to a larger institution offering a wide range of academic programs can be beneficial to those who are undecided about their interests and career goals. The following are the five largest schools in the southern U.S., including their total 2014 student populations:
- Lone Star College System in The Woodlands, TX (69,395 students)
- Miami Dade College in Miami, FL (66,046 students)
- Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ (62,304 students)
- Texas A&M in College Station, TX (61,642 students)
- University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL (60,767 students)
Lowest Net Price
When researching and comparing schools, one of the priorities for most prospective students is to find an affordable institution that fits their budgets. According to the 2013-2014 figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the following traditional schools have the lowest net prices for full-time undergraduate students. These prices are calculated by subtracting the average amount of financial aid students receive from the average total cost to attend, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, among other items.
- Chisholm Trail Technology Center in Omega, OK ($372 per year)
- Cleveland Community College in Shelby, NC ($503 per year)
- South Texas College in McAllen, TX ($1,320 per year)
- Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, AL ($1,342 per year)
- Albany Technical College in Albany, GA ($1,677 per year)
Highest Graduation Rate
Finding the right program is essential for college students, but they also need to be sure that the school is effective in its delivery of that program. To get some insight into educational quality, examining graduation rates can be useful. The institutions below have the highest graduation rates of those compared, as reported by the NCES. These stats are based on full-time students who began undergraduate programs in fall 2007 and graduated within 150% of normal completion time.
- University of the West in Rosemead, CA (100% graduation rate)
- Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, OK (98% graduation rate)
- Duke University in Durham, NC (95% graduation rate)
- Pomona College in Claremont, CA (93% graduation rate)
- Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN (93% graduation rate)
You can find many private and public universities in the southern U.S. states that fit your needs in terms of price, education quality, location and size.