2018 Best 4-Year Colleges for Adult Learners

Nearly a third of all undergraduates are twenty-five or older. Yet no publication ranks colleges based on how well they serve adult students—except the Washington Monthly. We rank four-year colleges (defined as awarding more bachelor’s degrees than certificates or associate’s degrees) according to factors that specifically affect adult students, including ease of transfer, flexibility of schedule, and services for adults.

Click here for detailed methodology, here for the rest of our rankings, and here to download the full data set.

RankNameEase of transfer (4 pts)Flexibility of programs (9 pts)Services for adult students (6 pts)% students over age 25Part-time student grad rateMean earnings of independent studentsLoan repayment rate of independent studentsIn-district tuition and fees
1Golden Gate Univ.-San Francisco (CA)58589%39%$76,855 66%$15,120
2University of Utah (UT)*48627%66%$66,381 77%$8,518
3University of Iowa (IA)*5768%66%$76,785 62%$8,575
4Bethel University (TN)59558%75%$45,451 41%$10,505
5Bellevue University (NE)58280%64%$61,268 64%$7,365
6George Mason University (VA)*48621%58%$66,522 75%$11,300
7Concordia Univ.-Saint Paul (MN)59642%29%$62,713 69%$21,250
8Granite State College (NH)*49579%55%$35,850 60%$7,425
9Curry College (MA)59627%71%$62,887 67%$37,505
10Fort Hays State University (KS)*57631%80%$39,381 59%$4,884
11Union Institute & University (OH)38495%73%$50,656 62%$12,416
12Bethel University (MN)58616%73%$67,015 74%$35,160
13Cornell University (NY)3751%100%$140,548 77%$50,953
14Southern NH University (NH)59574%55%$46,701 59%$31,136
15CA State Univ.-Dominguez Hills (CA)*59538%53%$49,560 55%$6,423
16University of Baltimore (MD)*59450%50%$61,984 49%$8,596
17University of Pennsylvania (PA)2866%90%$127,637 72%$51,464
18Jacksonville University (FL)59640%52%$63,045 58%$33,930
19University of MA-Amherst (MA)*5968%64%$51,432 65%$14,971
20University of Oklahoma-Norman (OK)*58611%38%$66,835 66%$8,631
21Indiana Wesleyan University (IN)57565%57%$58,845 59%$25,346
22City University of Seattle (WA)48579%46%$51,800 60%$16,748
23University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (MN)*49610%62%$63,030 67%$14,142
24Indiana University-Bloomington (IN)*5862%76%$53,362 59%$10,388
25Georgia Institute of Technology-Main (GA)*3854%74%$83,981 80%$12,212
26Weber State University (UT)*49629%35%$51,777 73%$5,523
27University of WA Bothell (WA)*47422%78%$73,810 76%$10,690
28CA State University-East Bay (CA)*56633%50%$56,190 64%$6,564
29University of Wyoming (WY)*48621%53%$52,317 72%$4,311
30Univ. of MD Eastern Shore (MD)*47675%67%$42,363 34%$7,804
31University of Missouri-Kansas City (MO)*59619%42%$53,830 55%$9,563
32Viterbo University (WI)59526%70%$52,113 65%$26,150
33University of Texas-Austin (TX)*4764%64%$69,581 72%$10,092
34Southern IL University-Carbondale (IL)*59619%47%$54,912 53%$13,073
35Michigan State University (MI)*4863%56%$77,482 65%$14,880
36Grand Canyon University (AZ)58661%30%$63,555 33%$16,975
37Regis University (CO)59552%45%$60,503 63%$34,450
38King University (TN)48453%82%$60,206 66%$27,276
39Post University (CT)°58575%38%$49,375 43%$15,258
40Keene State College (NH)*5865%80%$42,185 63%$13,613
41University of New Mexico-Main (NM)*58624%58%$42,787 55%$8,050
42Notre Dame of MD University (MD)49650%61%$56,873 56%$35,019
43Stony Brook University (NY)*5668%59%$64,974 63%$8,999
44University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (MI)*3862%79%$74,484 66%$15,310
45CA State University-Long Beach (CA)*46618%74%$53,059 71%$6,460
46Montana State Univ.-Billings (MT)*59641%29%$36,492 55%$5,826
47Eastern Washington University (WA)*57621%52%$46,318 66%$6,951
48Washington State University (WA)*48616%58%$53,264 69%$11,041
49Westfield State University (MA)*58512%72%$44,362 67%$9,275
50MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS)49531%73%$58,197 66%$28,150
51Florida Atlantic University (FL)*48627%58%$48,548 55%$4,831
52Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OK)59451%41%$59,089 65%$25,070
53Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth (MN)*3965%48%$82,395 63%$13,139
54College of Saint Elizabeth (NJ)59441%68%$55,068 66%$32,282
55Northeastern Illinois University (IL)*56645%49%$41,907 62%$9,212
56Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)*57614%60%$55,952 56%$13,130
57Penn State-Main (PA)*5962%58%$52,441 58%$17,900
58University at Buffalo (NY)*5668%51%$70,230 58%$9,574
59University of Northern Iowa (IA)*5869%59%$44,834 58%$8,303
60University of Redlands (CA)58523%81%$66,974 68%$46,570
61College of Saint Scholastica (MN)58531%72%$54,194 68%$35,326
62Park University (MO)49576%9%$51,106 60%$12,130
63Colorado State Univ.-Fort Collins (CO)*5867%46%$51,033 66%$11,052
64SUNY-Binghamton (NY)*4863%72%$52,815 62%$9,271
65Misericordia University (PA)59522%69%$53,688 62%$30,740
66University of Alabama (AL)*5968%51%$48,823 51%$10,470
67Western Illinois University (IL)*58615%55%$43,631 61%$12,382
68Metropolitan State University (MN)*48371%57%$49,013 62%$7,566
69University of Kentucky (KY)*5867%47%$51,731 64%$11,484
70George Fox University (OR)58513%84%$56,708 68%$33,730
71Winona State University (MN)*57611%55%$46,425 67%$9,075
72Columbia College (MO)58476%31%$43,231 50%$7,887
73SUNY Empire State College (NY)*49382%46%$45,612 52%$6,985
74University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)*58622%34%$48,911 61%$9,493
75Silver Lake Coll. of the Holy Family (WI)59452%60%$44,082 62%$26,340
76Hawaii Pacific University (HI)59540%28%$55,715 65%$23,440
77University of Southern Maine (ME)*58531%40%$43,864 67%$7,796
78University of North Dakota (ND)*57617%20%$64,721 66%$8,137
79University of Washington-Seattle (WA)*3759%73%$73,810 76%$10,753
80Fresno Pacific University (CA)59549%52%$45,881 56%$29,370
81Utah Valley University (UT)*48630%28%$52,789 66%$5,530
82Adelphi University (NY)58614%60%$63,404 64%$35,740
83Penn State-Harrisburg (PA)*57616%57%$52,441 58%$14,828
84University of Virginia-Main (VA)*3755%71%$82,590 76%$15,164
85SUNY Coll. of Envir. Science & Forestry (NY)*5557%100%$45,955 65%$8,103
86Lewis University (IL)59521%58%$56,999 63%$30,050
87Albertus Magnus College (CT)48555%67%$62,150 47%$30,526
88CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College (NY)*39523%54%$58,871 68%$6,810
89University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)*3765%63%$68,952 76%$10,488
90College of William and Mary (VA)*3761%83%$66,456 76%$18,687
91University of Colorado-Denver (CO)*46523%37%$84,193 66%$9,088
92Penn State-Shenango (PA)*57547%38%$52,441 58%$13,296
93Eastern Michigan University (MI)*59623%40%$42,314 49%$11,209
94Midway University (KY)58561%44%$42,323 54%$23,350
95CA State University-Stanislaus (CA)*55621%59%$47,401 66%$6,728
96CA State Univ.-Monterey Bay (CA)*48618%40%$48,304 71%$6,379
97Southwestern College (KS)47555%61%$57,733 62%$27,250
98Governors State University (IL)*48554%56%$44,313 49%$10,516
99California State Univ.-Fullerton (CA)*54619%63%$51,445 70%$6,560
100Mount St. Mary's University (CA)58426%70%$68,739 69%$37,722
Median earnings of independent students: median annual earnings 10 years after entering college for all adult students, as well as younger students who are veterans or have children of their own—people who benefit from additional flexibility.
Loan repayment rate: percent of independent students who pay back at least $1 in loan principal within 5 years of leaving college.
* = public
° = for-profit
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