Best Western Regional Colleges 1Updated: August 1, 2017

Regional colleges can often fly under the radar when prospective undergraduates are looking for their ideal landing spot. Most college rankings tend to focus on nationally known universities, even though regional colleges offer similarly meaningful and substantive educations, but with benefits that make them far more appealing, academically and financially, for many students.

Regional colleges tend to focus more on undergraduate and master’s programs, whereas national universities will also have students pursuing doctoral work. Their smaller scope helps to provide more individual attention to students and to emphasize the importance of local communities. Their strong connections with local businesses and residents help provide avenues for students to become interns and employees during their education, which allows them to hit the ground running the moment they graduate.

But despite this local focus, regional colleges have a large scope for students that wish to explore new areas of professional and academic life, and in the West there is a limitless expanse of space to grow and explore.

In fact, the close-knit community that grows out of each school creates a broader culture of camaraderie amongst Western regional schools. With national universities, students get in-state tuition only in their one, home state, but regional universities provide similarly reduced tuition for students of their entire, local area. For Western regional colleges specifically, the Western Undergraduate Exchange allows students from fifteen states throughout the West to receive a reduced tuition rate comparable to in-state tuition at public universities. And the Western Regional Graduate Program means that these benefits can extend through to graduate studies, for students who wish to pursue academia even further. Even private colleges, thanks to their small size, tend to have high grant and scholarship awards, which helps make many regional colleges highly affordable.

Regional colleges provide students with the strong support and attention that comes from a focus on local business and homegrown talent, but they also work together to ensure that students’ options still give them the choices and the freedom to make their education unique and well-suited to their own, personal needs.

What are the best regional colleges in the West?

College Choice uses a grouping of factors covering institutional excellence, student satisfaction, and return on investment to develop rankings. Institutional excellence looks at stats such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and endowment sizes to judge each school’s ability to follow through on providing an excellent education for each student. Student satisfaction measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the financial benefits students are likely to receive from the school’s education, weighed against the costs of attendance. In the end, we believe these 25 schools represent the best options of one of the best-kept secrets in the Wild West: regional colleges.

1

Carroll College

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $23,789

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1909, Carroll College is a small, Catholic liberal arts college located in Helena, Montana. The school has an undergraduate population of nearly 1,500 students, around 2/3 of whom are Montana residents. Carroll is often ranked near or at the top of Western Regional rankings for overall quality, for veterans and for economic value.

Program Features

The school offers more than 40-degree programs, including pre-professional degrees in:

  • Law
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Seminary
  • Veterinary Science
  • Dentistry

Students also have a far higher than average acceptance into medical and dental programs, almost doubling the national average at 85 percent. They also offered the first ever degree program in Anthrozoology, which looks at the interactions between humans and animals.

Notables

While the school has a Roman Catholic affiliation, only around half of the student body is made up of practicing Catholics. However, the school does require students to take at least two theology classes as a part of their CORE requirements, along with things like mathematics, science, etc. They also have a successful football team that has won six NAIA National Football Championships, nicknamed “The Fighting Saints.”

2

Oregon Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 94.97

Average Net Price: $15,544

School Website

Overview

The Oregon Institute of Technology is a public polytechnic institute, which has two locations: a residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban campus in Wilsonville. The school was founded in 1947 and services a student body of nearly 5,000 undergraduates. In 2012, the school rebranded itself to its current name of “Oregon Tech”, which also coincided with the consolidation of its four campuses around Portland into one, main campus in Wilsonville.

Program Features

The school focuses on STEM majors, including popular majors such as:

  • Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering Technologies
  • Biology
  • Radiologic Studies

There are also eight graduate programs, which further emphasize the STEM focus of the school’s academics, including:

  • Master of Science in Allied Health
  • Master of Science Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering

Notables

OIT had the nation’s first undergraduate program in renewable energy engineering. They also have the OIT Outdoor Program, which helps students to enjoy the natural beauty of Oregon through activities such as Skiing, Camping, White-water rafting and skydiving.

3

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

College Choice Score: 93.25

Average Net Price: $11,764

School Website

Overview

The Oregon Institute of Technology is a public polytechnic institute, which has two locations: a residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban campus in Wilsonville. The school was founded in 1947 and services a student body of nearly 5,000 undergraduates. In 2012, the school rebranded itself to its current name of “Oregon Tech”, which also coincided with the consolidation of its four campuses around Portland into one, main campus in Wilsonville.

Program Features

The school focuses on STEM majors, including popular majors such as:

  • Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering Technologies
  • Biology
  • Radiologic Studies

There are also eight graduate programs, which further emphasize the STEM focus of the school’s academics, including:

  • Master of Science in Allied Health
  • Master of Science Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering

Notables

OIT had the nation’s first undergraduate program in renewable energy engineering. They also have the OIT Outdoor Program, which helps students to enjoy the natural beauty of Oregon through activities such as Skiing, Camping, White-water rafting and skydiving.

4

Texas Lutheran University

College Choice Score: 92.23

Average Net Price: $19,149

School Website

Overview

Texas Lutheran University is a private, liberal arts university located in Seguin, Texas. The school has an affiliation with The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has an undergraduate population of 1,400. Texas Lutheran has been well ranked for Western Regional Colleges by publications such as the U.S. News & World Report.

Program Features

The liberal-arts nature of the school provides for a wide range of degree programs, covering the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, among others. Many students choose courses of study in:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Psychology

Texas Lutheran is also well regarded for their School of Music, which allows students to pursue professional careers in music, or to simply supplement their liberal arts education further.

Notables

The school’s Lutheran connection leads to an undergraduate education that, to quote the school, “is given perspective by the Christian faith.” The school emphasizes an understanding of the Christian faith as part of its graduation goals, and also encourages students to engage in service activities during the school year.

5

Oklahoma Baptist University

College Choice Score: 91.49

Average Net Price: $17,320

School Website

Overview

Oklahoma Baptist University is a private, liberal-arts university located in Shawnee, Oklahoma. OBU is associated with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and has just under 2,000 undergraduate students. Oklahoma Baptist has been Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college in U.S. News & World Report for almost two decades.

Program Features

OBU offers more than 75 academic programs, as well as graduate degrees in business, nursing, therapy, intercultural studies, and Christian studies. As a liberal arts school, Oklahoma Baptist has a diverse range of offerings, though some common majors are:

  • Education
  • Theology
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Psychology

Notables

Religion plays a large part in the culture of OBU; the school teaches academic subjects through a Christian lens. OBU hosts a Christian Youth Camp called Super Summer every year in the first three weeks of June, bringing together Christian Youth Groups from across the country.

6

Warner Pacific College

College Choice Score: 89.32

Average Net Price: $20,172

School Website

Overview

Warner Pacific College is a Christian liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon with a student population of around 1,300. This private college shares an affiliation with the Church of God, a holiness Christian denomination based out of Anderson, Indiana. The school bills itself as a Christ-centered, urban college designed to serve students from diverse backgrounds: in 2015, 52 percent of incoming freshman were students of color.

Program Features

WPC offers 27 majors, including four areas of pre-professional study, as well as 29 minor options. Many students at Warner choose to major in:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Theology and Religious Vocations

The school also offers a limited number of graduate programs, including Masters in teaching, human services and management.

Notables

WPC requires all students enrolled in 12 or more credit hours to participate in the Faith and Service Commitment Program. For resident students this means attending 15 chapels per semester and 10 service hours, while commuter students must complete a total of at least 25 hours, including at least 5 chapels and 5 service hours.

7

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

College Choice Score: 85.38

Average Net Price: $10,695

School Website

Overview

BYU-Hawaii is the Hawaii campus of the Brigham Young University system based out of Provo, Utah. The school is located in Laie, HI; approximately 2,800 attend the undergraduate school. Like the main campus, this private school has an association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Program Features

BYU-Hawaii’s academic plan divides areas of study into three categories: Arts and Humanities, Math and Sciences, and Professional Studies. Students pick a major from one of these categories, then they select a minor from each of the remaining categories. Some of the most popular majors at BYU-Hawaii include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Accounting
  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Arts
  • Social Work and Youth Services

Notables

Ninety-seven percent of the student body is a part of the LDS church; full-time students are required to take at least 14 credits of religious studies classes, including two Book of Mormon classes, one Doctrine and Covenants course, one New Testament course, and a number of electives.

8

Brigham Young University-Idaho

College Choice Score: 84.92

Average Net Price: $8,624

School Website

Overview

BYU-Idaho is the Idaho campus of Brigham Young University: This campus serves just over 17,500 students and is located in Rexburg, Idaho. Like the main campus, this private school has an association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Program Features

BYU-Idaho offers more than 70 bachelor’s degree programs, and operates on a three-semester system commonly referred to as “tracks.” Following these tracks, many students end up pursuing studies in:

  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Communications
  • Public Health
  • Arts
  • Accounting

Notables

Almost every student who attends BYU-Idaho is a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and many students choose to take a break from their studies to go on the requisite, Mormon two-year mission trips. LDS Church tithing funds help to keep tuition rates low, in spite of the college’s private status.

9

East Texas Baptist University

College Choice Score: 83.14

Average Net Price: $21,361

School Website

Overview

East Texas Baptist University is a private, Christian university located in Marshall, Texas. The school is associated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and has a student population of around 1,200 students.

Program Features

East Texas Baptist offers 38 undergraduate major options, as well as seven graduate majors. ETBU emphasizes real world applications of classes, as students often participate in internships, practicums, and collaborative research; the school also encourages study abroad during spring terms. Popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Biology
  • Religious Studies

Notables

Religion plays a key role in campus life, for faculty, staff and students across campus.  At the start of each, new fall semester, the school hosts Church Day, where students are introduced to churches in the local area. East Texas Baptist’s mascot is a tiger: the school has a live tiger mascot nicknamed “Sarge”, who is housed off-campus.

10

Southwestern Christian University

College Choice Score: 82.79

Average Net Price: $11,853

School Website

Overview

Southwestern Christian University was founded in 1946, originally as a bible college; the school has since evolved into a private, liberal arts university with around 850 students. Southwestern Christian is located in Bethany, Oklahoma and is associated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church

Program Features

Southwestern Christian has more than 30 degree programs, and emphasizes the study of academic subjects through a Christian lens. Many students thus go on to study:

  • Business
  • Sports and Fitness Management
  • Theological and Ministerial Services
  • Psychology
  • English
  • Music

Notables

The school notes that it strives to serve Christians from multiple denominations, but also that its unique, faith-based contribution comes from the heritage of its sponsoring church. The school offers an SCU Spiritual Life Program, which uses SCU chapels, local churches, Christian service and “All Univeristy” functions to help students to capture the spiritual mission and lifestyle of the university.

11

The California Maritime Academy

College Choice Score: 82.52

Average Net Price: $12,138

School Website

Overview

The California Maritime Academy is a public school within the California State university system; the campus is located in Vallejo, California and the student population contains 1,079 undergraduates and a little fewer than 30 graduate students. The Academy has appeared in the Los Angeles Times as a result of the high salaries received by students post-graduation.

Program Features

The CSU Maritime Academy offers six Bachelors of Science programs in:

  • Business Administration
  • Marine Engineering Technology
  • Facilities Engineering Technology
  • Marine Transportation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Global Studies and Maritime Affairs

In 2011, the university also launched its first ever graduate degree program, offering a Master of Science in Transportation and Engineering Management.

Notables

All undergraduate students are required to participate in the Corps of Cadets, which involves regimentation and uniforms similar to military academies; however, there is no automatic armed service obligation attached to graduation. Because it is a maritime academy, students should expect to spend time sailing/on water; classes can mostly be taken on land, but lab experiments and in-the-field experiences are vital parts of the maritime education that generally take place on the water. There is an annual training cruise for the entire school aboard the Golden Bear, Cal Maritime’s 500-foot training ship; during the trip students apply classroom concepts to laboratory and real-world situations.

12

Southwestern Adventist University

College Choice Score: 82.36

Average Net Price: $19,558

School Website

Overview

Southwestern Adventist University is a private, Adventist university located in Keene, Texas. There are around 800 undergraduate students who attend the school, which is owned by the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists and is directly affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Program Features

Southwestern Adventist offers more than thirty degree programs, including Bachelors of Art, Bachelors of Science and Associates degree programs, as well as two masters programs in Counseling and Education. Several programs are popular among undergraduates:

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Kinesiology
  • Biology
  • Theology

Notables

The town that the school is located in, Keene, is known as an Adventist town. Saturday is the Sabbath for Adventists: Most businesses in Keene are thus closed on Saturdays. Due to this and the close connection of the school to the Adventist church, it would be difficult to attend SAU if you are not a member of the Adventist faith.

13

Rocky Mountain College

College Choice Score: 82.26

Average Net Price: $18,277

School Website

Overview

Rocky Mountain is a private college located in Billings, MT; the college has 1,070 enrolled students, and shares affiliations with The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. RMC owes its history to a combination of educational institutions in the area, who through a series of resurrections from bankruptcy, earthquake damage, and funding issues, were finally able to merge in 1947, with students naming the new school Rocky Mountain College.

Program Features

Rocky Mountain offers 52 defined majors available in 24 disciplines, along with offering 35 minors. Rocky Mountain emphasizes expanding the classroom outside the confines of the school itself: many classes find themselves doing field work in the nearby Yellowstone National Park. However, when students do return to their classes, popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Biology
  • Accounting
  • Kinesiology
  • Psychology
  • History

Notables

In addition to its more popular, traditional offerings Rocky Mountain also offers aviation, equestrian, and physician assistant programs.  The school’s basketball team won a national championship in basketball in 2009. Singer Arlo Guthrie attended RMC, but did not graduate.

14

McMurry University

College Choice Score: 82.23

Average Net Price: $21,463

School Website

Overview

McMurry University is a private, liberal arts college originally founded in 1923. The school is located in Abilene, Texas with a population of 1,080 students populating its campus. Ninety-five percent of students are Texan and the school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. US News & World Report has often cited McMurry as having high value and quality in the Southwest division of first tier schools.

Program Features

McMurry offers forty-five different major fields, including nine pre-professional programs in subjects such as nursing, dentistry and law. Outside the pre-professional tracks, there are a number of popular majors:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Kinesiology
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Sociology
  • Business

Notables

Despite the school’s affiliation with the United Methodist Church, only around one quarter of the student population is comprised of Methodist students. In 2006, the school was forced to change their school mascot after the NCAA asked McMurry, along with 17 other schools, to forgo mascots representing Native Americans: The school’s sports teams are now the McMurry War Hawks.

15

Colorado Mesa University

College Choice Score: 81.95

Average Net Price: $13,246

School Website

Overview

Colorado Mesa University is a public university located in Grand Junction, Colorado. Until 2011, the school was known as Mesa State College; however, after receiving university status they opted to change names. They have more than 10,000 students and also have a campus in Bishop, where Western Colorado Community College is located, as well as a regional campus in Montrose. CMU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Program Features

Colorado Mesa offers two-year associates, four-year bachelors, and a small number of Masters degrees. The 22:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that students tend to find many mid-sized classes, of around 15-25 people: after their first few years at CMU, many students settle on pursuing the study of:

  • Business/Commerce
  • Nursing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Kinesiology

CMU also offers graduate programs towards graduate certificates, in applied mathematic, rhetoric and literary students and social sciences, as well as Masters in Arts in Education, Rhetoric and literary studies and applied mathematics.

Notables

After receiving their university statues in 2011, CMU created the Colorado Mesa University Trustee, which is an 11-person independent Board of Trustees. One member of this board is elected by the student-body of CMU: This member is a full-time junior or senior student, and is recognized as one of the most powerful and influential positions in the Colorado education system

16

Howard Payne University

College Choice Score: 81.43

Average Net Price: $18,122

School Website

Overview

Howard Payne University, established in 1889, is a private university associated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The school is located in Brownwood, Texas and has almost 1,200 undergraduate students. The rural setting of the school provides for a large, 80-acre campus, which allows students access to a number of natural and sporting activities.

Program Features

Howard Payne organizes their academic programs into six schools: Science and Math, Business, Christian Studies, Education, Music and Fine Arts, and Humanities. HPU offers more than 100 majors through Bachelors of Arts, Business Admin., Applied Arts and Sciences, Music and Science programs, as well as Associates degree programs in Ministry and Health Science. Many students will eventually pursue:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Theology
  • Psychology

Graduate programs are also available in six categories: theology and ministry, youth ministry, business administration, education in instructional leadership, sport and wellness leadership and criminal justice.

Notables

Every year, 25 students from the incoming class are eligible to join the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, which has its own curriculum and series of classes, and which is intended to be paired with a second major. Religion plays a key part in the day-to-day life of students, as the school puts it, “Student engagement in campus life is designed to help students grow in relationship to Christ, develop leadership skills, build relationships, participate in service to the campus and community, exhibit personal responsibility and have fun.”

17

The University of Montana-Western

College Choice Score: 79.21

Average Net Price: $10,503

School Website

Overview

The University of Montana-Western, as the name suggests, is a part of the Montana University system located in, Dillon, Montana, a city near the state’s western border with Idaho. The school was originally founded as a center for training teachers, and until 2000 had been known as Western Montana College, before becoming a part of the Montana university system. In 2016, there were 1,501 students enrolled at the school.

Program Features

Montana-Western has more than 30 majors in ten different fields of study, including business, education, math, history, and biology. Almost three-quarters of the school’s classes have fewer than twenty students, so there are close interactions both between teachers and students, as well as between classmates. Education is the most popular major at Western, followed by:

  • Business
  • Biology
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Equine Studies
  • Environmental Sciences

Notables

Western is an integral part of the culture of Dillon, hosting events such as Halloween parties, movie nights and Easter egg hunts. The university and its students also help provide content for the local radio station, “90.9 The Dawg”, which provides education and alternative programing to the local area.

18

University of Providence, Great Falls

College Choice Score: 79.14

Average Net Price: $18,336

School Website

Overview

The University of Providence, Great Falls is a private, Roman Catholic university with around 1,100 undergraduate students and located in Great Falls, Montana. Until July 1, 2017 the school was known simply as the University of Great Falls: The new name came with new school colors and a new school logo. The changes represent a new cultural shift brought about by University President Tony Artez, who hopes the new spirit will reestablish the school as a pillar of the local community.

Program Features

Providence, Great Falls offers more than forty undergraduate degrees, along with eight graduate degrees and four distance learning degrees. Many of its more recent efforts have centered around expanding its educational outreach in the local community, including its continuing education program at Malmstrom Air Force base. But in spite of this focus the college maintains a diverse grouping of popular majors, including:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Education
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Marketing

The University also offers a number of graduate degree programs covering topics of Counseling, Organization Management, Organizational Leadership, and Infection Protection and Epidemiology.

Notables

Providence has partnerships with several branches of the United States military, which offer students the chance to explore unique educational, academic, and professional opportunities simultaneously. Through the Air Force, Great Falls offers an online paralegal studies program for Air Force paralegals who have obtained their associates degree from the Community College of the Air Force. A similar opportunity is available for Army students who have previously obtained a similar degree.

19

San Diego Christian College

College Choice Score: 78.49

Average Net Price: $27,243

School Website

Overview

San Diego Christian College is a non-denominational, private college located in Santee, California. Partly thanks to the support of the creator of the Left Behind book and film series, this school opened in 1970 to provide a west coast college where academics could be taught through a creationist framework. Originally named the Christian Heritage College, the school changed to its current name in 2005 and now serves a population of around 1,000 students.

Program Features

SDCC offers more than 35 undergraduate majors, as well as four graduate programs offering Masters degrees in teaching and leadership. Undergraduate classes are supplemented by a general education course and work to integrate a biblical worldview into the academic study. But despite the overall biblical framework, students do pursue a collection of unique majors, including top choices at SDCC:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies
  • Business
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Kinesiology
  • Psychology

Notables

Their basketball team has won the National Christian College Athletic Association’s men’s championship four times from 1990-2004. Their basketball team also produced a member of the US House of Representatives, Matt Krause (Class of 2002), as well as Swen Nater, who was a first round draft pick for the NBA, and played for thirteen years in the league from 1973-1985.

20

Huston-Tillotson University

College Choice Score: 77.86

Average Net Price: $17,088

School Website

Overview

Huston-Tillotson University is a private, historically black college located in Austin, Texas. The school has an affiliation with the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and the United Negro College Fund. Hutson was the first school of higher learning in Austin, founded in 1875, and currently serves a population of around 50 graduate students and 950 undergraduates.

Program Features

Huston-Tillotson offers 17 different major options, and in 2014 the school announced their first graduate program, offering a Master’s in Educational Leadership. They also offer an Adult Degree Program specifically designed for adults who are working full-time, but who still wish to pursue higher education. As for students following the traditional, undergraduate route, prominent majors include:

  • Business
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Criminal Justice
  • History
  • Psychology

Notables

Jackie Robinson was the athletic director of the school for a short period in the mid 1940’s; Robinson also coached the basketball team for the 1944-1945 season. The team was so sparsely populated that Robinson at times would enter himself into the lineup for exhibition games. The school is located in East Austin, which has been a centerpiece of black empowerment in Austin ever since the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

21

St. Gregory's University

College Choice Score: 77.38

Average Net Price: $16,549

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is a private, liberal arts university located in Shawnee, OK. The original school was located in Konawa before being destroyed by a major fire in 1901; the town of Shawnee stepped in and helped the school rebuild as St Gregory’s College. This remained the school’s name up until 1997, when it switched from a junior college to a full baccalaureate university. This Roman Catholic, Benedictine university now has a student population of 700 students, and also has a smaller, satellite campus located in Tulsa.

Program Features

St. Gregory’s has more than 40 degree programs offering paths to associate, bachelor and master’s level studies in a range of subjects. Its liberal arts curriculum includes a core program based around the “Tradition and Conversation” program, which challenges students to engage with the Great Books of Western and Catholic traditions, including Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Plato’s “The Apology.” This program helps diversify students’ academic experiences before choosing a major, the most popular of which at St. Gregory’s are:

  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Mathematics
  • Educational
  • Theological and Ministerial Studies

St. Gregory’s also offers a Master of Arts degree in Counseling

Notables

The school was founded by Benedictine monks, which, according to the school, means they are “community-service minded and strive to develop our minds, bodies and souls in a way that best serves all the talents God has given us.” Around 50% of the student population at St. Gregory’s is Catholic, so belief is common, but by no means required for attendance.

22

Lewis-Clark State College

College Choice Score: 76.73

Average Net Price: $14,881

School Website

Overview

Lewis-Clark State College is a public college located in Lewiston, Idaho. The school was originally founded as the Lewiston State Normal School, meaning that it originally looked to educate students on how to become teachers themselves. The school oscillated between a four-year college and its normal school roots, before finally in 1971 changing its name to Lewis-Clark State college: this transition to full, four-year status made Lewis-Clark the last normal school in the country to make the change. The school now serves around 3,500 students and is often rated one of the top public schools in the West in the Comprehensive-Bachelor’s degree category.

Program Features

Lewis-Clark offers more than 83 degree programs, which includes more academic offerings such as sociology and English, as well as pre-professional programs for law and vocational training in auto machinery and appliance technology. Some of the schools most popular majors include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Automotive Mechanics
  • Business

Notables

The Lewis-Clark baseball team has been a powerhouse since the team joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics; the Warriors, as they are known, have won a record 18 national championships, including the threepeating from 2015-2017. They have hosted the NAIA World Series every year since 2000 and have produced 12 major leaguers.

23

Bacone College

College Choice Score: 76.30

Average Net Price: $22,732

School Website

Overview

Bacone College is a private, four-year college located in Muskogee, OK. Originally founded as the Indian University in 1880, and is the oldest continuously operated institution of higher education in Oklahoma. Bacone shares affiliations both with the American Baptist Churches USA and several tribal nations, including the Cherokee Nation and the Muscogee Nation. The school serves a population of 900 students, around 1/4th of whom identify as Native/Indian: the school hopes to increase this to 50% by 2020.

Program Features

Bacone College offers solely undergraduate degree programs, which include more than 20 courses of study through a wide range of subjects. The schools Christian and Tribal backgrounds allow it to offer a number of unique study programs, including:

  • Christian Ministry
  • Native American Studies
  • Tribal Languages

And in addition to these unique majors, Bacone also offers more traditional majors, some of the most popular of which are:

  • Business
  • Family Studies
  • Nursing
  • Criminal Justice

Notables

While the college does maintain its Christian heritage, Bacone makes it clear that, “Christian principles are emphasized at Bacone in order to assist students in their growth toward wholeness. However, there is no attempt to seek religious conformity from faculty, staff or students. Individuals are given the freedom to develop their own spiritual insights.” Students wishing to pursue spiritual enrichment through Bacone can attend the Bacone Hour, a weekly event where the school’s community joins together in the campus chapel for an hour of spiritual renewal.

24

Marymount California University

College Choice Score: 75.48

Average Net Price: $25,886

School Website

Overview

Marymount California University is a private, Catholic university with its main campus located in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, along a second campus in Lake County. In Spring 2013, the school to its current name from the previous “Marymount College”, which was done to show, “an ongoing transformation of the 45-year-old institution of higher education to a multi-campus institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs.” The Religious of the Scared Heart of Mary inspires the catholic tradition of Marymount California, and the school has around 1,000 students currently in attendance.

Program Features

Marymount California offers six different bachelor’s programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Production
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

In addition to these traditional programs, MCU also has a unique program entitled “The Four-Year Scholars’ Pathway Track”, which allows high-achieving students to graduate in four years with both a bachelors and a master’s degree. Students pursue an undergraduate degree in business, criminal justice or psychology, before beginning master’s coursework in their junior year, in pursuit of either an MBA or a Masters of Science in community psychology.

MCU offers the MBA and Masters of Science in Community Psych, as well as a Masters in Science in Leadership and Global Development, outside of this track as well.

Notables

Despite Marymount California’s Catholic affiliation, only 44% of students are Catholic. More than 1/3rd of entering freshman are first-generation college students, and more than 70% of students receive some form of financial aid (need-based, merit or athletic/fine-arts scholarships).

The Catholic High Schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have an agreement with MCU that any student enrolled in one of the 51 L.A. area schools associated with the diocese will receive automatic admission into Marymount Catholic.

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Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 74.99

Average Net Price: $8,381

School Website

Overview

Founded in 1947 as a technical training school, the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology is now a public university, and is part of the Oklahoma State University System. Its campus is located in Okmulgee, OK, and recently had its named changed in 2008 from “Oklahoma State University- Okmulgee” to help distinguish its unique focus on applied technology among the OSU system’s schools. Around 3000 students currently attend OSUIT and the school also has a training center at the Mid America Industrial Park in Pryor, Oklahoma.

Program Features

OSUIT offers 37 degree programs, most of which are Associates Degrees in Applied Science; however, they also offer three Bachelors of Technology degrees.  Bachelors of Technology programs include:

  • Civil Engineering Technology
  • Instrumental Engineering Technology
  • Information Technologies

Its status as a technology institute also gives OSUIT direct connections to a number of large industry partners, such as Ford, General Motors, Caterpillar Inc. and Rolex. Some of their Associates programs are even specific to these partners:

  • Ford ASSET
  • General Motors ASEP
  • Toyota T-TEN Program

Notables

Almost half of the students at OSUIT are the first in their families to attend college (48%). The school boasts an incredibly high job placement rate post-graduation, thanks to its technically focused curriculum and industry partnerships. OSUIT also has a number of student organizations on campus, including the Future Chefs Association, Student Veterans Association and the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Club.

Degree Finder

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