21 Best Colleges in Kansas

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Kansas is a state with a plan. Their Foresight 2020 program is a ten-year plan for the state’s public higher education system.

This agenda seeks to increase higher education attainment among Kansas residents, improve the relationship between the higher education system and the economic needs of the state, and guarantee state university excellence. The statistics from recent years provide evidence that Foresight 2020 is having a demonstrable effect: the number of degrees awarded, retention rates, and average post-graduation wages have all increased dramatically.

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Top 10 Best Colleges in Kansas

Rank School Location
1 Newman University Wichita, KS
2 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
3 Baker University Baldwin City, KS
4 MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS
5 University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS
6 Friends University Wichita, KS
7 Central Christian College of Kansas McPherson, KS
8 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS
9 Emporia State University Emporia, KS
10 Sterling College Sterling, KS

In addition to the state’s efforts to bolster the academic and professional experiences of its citizens, Kansas college life is markedly rich in opportunities. Students can earn free credit for past professional experience, acquire substantive scholarships, and participate in several grant programs, such as the Teacher Education Initiative, which gives education students a number of ways to afford college and find rewarding careers post-graduation. And these are just a few examples of how Kansans have specific opportunities to thrive academically and then professionally in the workforce. Related: Best Online Schools in Kansas.

Best Colleges in Kansas Badge

What are the Best Colleges and Universities in Kansas?

To determine the best colleges and universities in Kansas, here at College Choice we engaged in substantive data mining of every school’s academic reputation and pedagogical standards, the retention rates (a sign of student satisfaction), average tuition costs, and how well the school prepares students for post-graduation, vocational life. By investigating these key data points, among others, from each Kansan school we were able to identify the state’s best colleges, universities, and professional schools. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas State Department of Education, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Newman University
    Location

    Wichita, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Newman University was founded as a school for women in 1933 in Wichita, Kansas, by Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) Roman Catholic society. The main campus has 61 acres. Newman University has additional sites in with outreach sites in Southeast Kansas; Western Kansas; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    Features

    Newman University is to empower students to transform society by offering over 40 majors for 2,754 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. Nearly 70% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have over xx student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to participate in NCAA Division II. Top majors include:

    • Health Professions
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology

    Notables

    Newman’s Educational philosophy is to inspire critical thinking, connect ideas and create meaningful conclusions. Newman ensures that students have the tools they need for their liberal arts studies and their future careers by creating the Newman Studies Program (NSP). This is a required set of principles that are grafted into course work and as standalone studies. Newman believes that this will create a strong foundation – ready for whatever the next step is going to be.

  2. University of Kansas
    Location

    Lawrence, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Kansas was founded in 1865 at the curve of the Kaw River in Lawrence, Kansas, by abolitionists. The main campus has 1,000 acres with other campuses in Overland Park, Wichita, and Salina. Some of the top-ranking opportunities at KU include: The University Honors Program, 100 international research programs, 100 international study abroad locations, and the possibility to learn over 40 languages.

    Features

    University of Kansas offers 142 undergraduate programs to just over 19,000 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom students, students have a student-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. Nearly 47% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have over 566 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to root for their NCAA Division I sport teams. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Engineering
    • Social Sciences

    Notables

    Kansas University is known for their inventions. In 1898, they invented the game of basketball as we know it today. They discovered Vitamins A and D. They were the first to extract Helium from gas. The inventor of time-release medication taught at the university. The research continues today with thousands of students discovering their own passionate pursuit towards making the world a better place. The best place to start is the Hill.

  3. Baker University
    Location

    Baldwin City, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Baker University was founded in Baldwin City, Kansas, in 1858 by Methodist Ministers. This is the first university in Kansas. It is named after Bishop Osmon Cleander Baker, a distinguished scholar and an United Methodist Church Bishop. Today, Baker University is ranked the #1 private university in Kansas by the U.S. News & World Report. It is also listed in the top 50 institutions in the nation for the value of their degree by The Economist.

    Features

    Baker University has 989 undergraduate students pursuing their studies on campus. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. Nearly 67% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom student can join student organizations, volunteer opportunities or enjoy intramurals or NAIA athletics. About 20% of the student body lives off campus. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Kinesiology & Exercise Science
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Psychology

    Notables

    The Baker University campus is a registered arboretum and a Tree Campus USA award winner. It is the “Midwestern Hidden Gem.” In addition to the natural wonders of the campus, there are three amazing buildings on the National Register of Historic Places connected to important people in history. The first was dedicated by Lady Margaret Thatcher – the Osborne Chapel. The chapel was moved to campus brick by brick from its original location in Sproxton, England. The second building was personally donated by Abraham Lincoln to aid in the construction of today’s Parmenter Hall. The third building, where our current political scientists study, William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, delivered the first speech on the topic of world peace.

  4. MidAmerica Nazarene University
    Location

    Olathe, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    MidAmerica Nazarene University was founded in 1966 in Olathe, Kansas, by members of the North Central Region of the Church of the Nazarene: Iowa, Joplin, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri, Nebraska and Prairie Lakes. The campus is 19 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, Kansas, on 100 acres, with over 1,000 trees and 6,000 flower bulbs planted annually. MidAmerica has 2 other graduate and professional studies sites. One in Santa Fe commons and the other in Liberty, MO.

    Features

    MidAmerica Nazarene University offers more than 35 undergraduate programs to 1,378 undergraduate students. It is a large commuter campus with only 600 students live on campus. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. The average class size is 16. Nearly 75% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have access to numerous student organizations including volunteer, intramurals, social life, or student government. Students can also attend NAIA Division I sports. Top majors include:

    • Nursing
    • Elementary Education
    • Business Administration
    • Sports Management
    • Ministry

    Notables

    MidAmerica Nazarene College MNU alumni work and serve all over the world. Their commitment is to be the hands and feet of Jesus through passionate service and personal connections. Students have the opportunity to study abroad or start their own global impact journey by participating on a Go Global missions trip to destinations such as: Australia, Central African Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Paraguay, Peru, Sun Valley, AZ, Uganda, or Zambia.

  5. University of Saint Mary
    Location

    Leavenworth, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Saint Mary is a co-ed, four-year Catholic liberal arts university located in Leavenworth, Kansas. The University was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1923. Today, the main campus has 200 acres. They also have a campus in Overland Park to support the Kansas City area. The Princeton Review has named the University of Saint Mary a “Best Midwestern College*” every year since 2005. The university is also a “2017 Best Value School Award” by University Research & Review.

    Features

    Saint Mary’s offers the coziness of a small town with the flair of a bigger city by offering 30 majors for 875 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 8-to-1. Nearly 70 of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have over 40 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to participate in or watch NAIA athletics. Top majors include:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Criminology
    • Biology

    Notables

    Leavenworth is first city in the state of Kansas home to many amenities, cultural aspects, and history. It is connected to the oldest active army post west of the Mississippi River. Fort Leavenworth houses the elite United States Command and General Staff College (CGSC) as well as the School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS).

  6. Friends University
    Location

    Wichita, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Friends University was founded in 1898 in Wichita, Kansas by local Quakers and James Davis, a St. Louis businessman. Today, the main campus has 54.5 acres with locations in Wichita, Lenexa, Topeka, Online. Friends University has a long-standing Quaker heritage that emphasizes equality for all. Therefore, you will find the Friends university a diverse institution with strong connections to the community and their innovative adult education model.

    Features

    Friends University offers 1,459 undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue their education. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. Outside the classroom student are encouraged to join student organizations and pursue internships either on campus or in the community. All students root for their NAIA sport teams. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Accounting
    • Nonprofit & Public Management
    • Informational Studies
    • HR Management

    Notables

    The Friends University’s Singing Quakers are an internationally acclaimed vocal organization that has performed at the White House and Carnegie Hall. They regularly tour globally to showcase their performing arts.

  7. Central Christian College of Kansas
    Location

    McPherson, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Central Christian College of Kansas was founded in 1884 in McPherson, Kansas, by Reverend C.M. Damon and his wife. The college had once been known as the oldest junior college in the state of Kansas. However, in 1991, they became a 4-year institution and started awarding bachelor degrees. In 1999, Central was rebranded to reflect its growing status as a regional 39-acre, four-year Christian institution.

    Features

    The Central Christian College of Kansas offers over 30 degree programs to 1,154 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 9-to-1. Nearly 55% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, the college is largely a commuter institution with over 75% of the students living off campus. The college has over 30 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to participate in intramurals or NAIA athletic events. Top majors include:

    • Organizational Leadership
    • Psychology
    • Kinesiology
    • Youth Ministry
    • Business

    Notables

    Central Christian College of Kansas has designed their curricular and co-curricular programs around their Fit Four Model. The Fit Four include – Fit Hearts (Socially Responsible); Fit Souls (Spiritually Responsive); Fit Minds (Rationally Competent); Fit Bodies (Professional Astute). The college recognizes that faith development is an outcome the learning process towards in these four areas. Therefore, the role of the College is to amplify truth, as it presents itself through the arts and sciences, providing the foundation upon which a Christ Centered character can be formed.

  8. Pittsburg State University
    Location

    Pittsburg, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Pittsburg State University (Pitt State) was founded in 1903 in Pittsburg, Kansas, Today, Pittsburg, Kansas is a rural community of 20,000 residents. The Pitt State main campus has 445 acres and is just two hours from Tulsa, OK; Kansas City; Springfield, MO.; and Fayetteville, AR. The university offers a flat-rate tuition program. This allows students to take a full-time (10-credit hours or more) course load at a reasonable price. The Pitt State Kelce College of Business has repeatedly earned AACSB accreditation and was recently listed as one of the most family-friendly business schools in the nation.

    Features

    Pittsburg State University offers 150 academic programs for over 6,000 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. Nearly 45% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have over 150 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to participate in intramurals or watch NCAA Division II. Top majors include:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology

    Notables

    Pittsburg State University is proud to be called the “Gorillas” – the only university in the nation to feature a gorilla as a mascot. Just like their innovative mascot, Pitt State students are encouraged to get involved in the innovative Exploratory Studies program to be introduced to a wide arrangement of options to pick a rewarding degree and career.

  9. Emporia State University
    Location

    Emporia, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Emporia State University (ESU) was founded in 1863 in Emporia, Kansas, by Lyman Kellogg to train teachers. Today, Emporia State is one of six public universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The main campus has 212 acres with selected programs available at regional locations: Emporia State Kansas City; Kansas City Kansas Community College; and Butler Community College in El Dorado, KS. Emporia State has additional partnerships with other state of Kansas Community Colleges and online that has increased course offerings to students where they are located.

    Features

    Emporia State University offers 65 majors, minors and concentrations for 3,864 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. The average class size is 18.5. Nearly 47% of the classes have 20 students. Outside the classroom, students have over 130 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to watch in NCAA Division II games. Top majors include:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Health Professions
    • Social Sciences
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Notables

    ESU is home to the Fallen Educators Memorial and the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Additional points of interest include the 1939 Bell tower with a 1,400-pound bell cast in 1855 in Troy, New York, and an Arch between King Hall and Beach Music Hall. The Arch was built by artist Richard Harrison and a team of Emporia State students. Both are remembered as 3-dimentional link between the performing and visual art communities. When you are on the campus tour, ask about the urban legends.

  10. Sterling College
    Location

    Sterling, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Sterling College was founded in 1887 in Sterling, Kansas, by the Synod of Kansas of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. The town of Sterling located in the center of the state of Kansas at the intersection of Highways 96 and 14 within an hour from Wichita. For more than a century, Sterling has built an academically demanding and enthusiastically Christian reputation that includes following the Reformed tradition with core values in faith, calling, learning, integrity, service, and community.

    Features

    Sterling College offers 22 majors, 42 concentrations, 10 education licensures and 31 minors for 704 undergraduate students. The average class size is 14 students. Outside the classrooms student have over 21 student organizations to join as well as the opportunity to root for the NAIA sports teams. Top majors include:

    • Business
    • Sport & Fitness Management
    • Kinesiology & Exercise Science
    • Arts
    • Communication

    Notables

    The Sterling community strives to combine the concepts of faith and learning in their lives and in the classroom while allowing students to explore other cultures. Sterling is part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that offers numerous study-abroad possibilities such as: Oxford, Russia, Latin America, Australia, LA Film Studies and Washington, DC.

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