2019 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 (5 pts max)Flexibility of programs (9 pts max)Services for adult students (6 pts max)% of students over age 25Part-time student grad rateMean earnings of independent studentsLoan repayment rate of independent studentsIn-district tuition and fees
1Golden Gate University (CA)58590%42%$78,20066%$16,095
2Concordia University–Saint Paul (MN)59644%52%$64,33267%$21,750
3University of Utah (UT)*48624%59%$68,98276%$8,884
4Fort Hays State University (KS)*59631%75%$41,52759%$5,009
5University of Washington–Bothell (WA)*48421%75%$78,62876%$10,911
6George Mason University (VA)*48621%57%$68,24375%$11,924
7Bethel University (MN)59615%70%$67,44270%$36,210
8Georgia Institute of Technology–Main (GA)*3854%80%$86,84179%$12,418
9Union Institute & University (OH)38494%72%$52,26762%$12,896
10University of Pennsylvania (PA)2866%90%$138,10073%$53,534
11Granite State College (NH)*49579%50%$37,08859%$7,593
12Southern NH University (NH)59575%56%$48,03557%$31,136
13University of Texas–Austin (TX)*4764%64%$77,41873%$10,398
14University of Oklahoma–Norman (OK)*58611%42%$67,34569%$9,063
15Curry College (MA)59623%65%$63,65167%$38,596
16City University (WA)48579%47%$53,10062%$17,400
17University of Iowa (IA)*5768%55%$78,83760%$8,965
18University of Wyoming (WY)*48619%54%$53,89872%$4,443
19University of Washington–Seattle (WA)*3858%74%$78,62876%$10,974
20University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (MN)*4969%58%$68,98666%$14,417
21University of Minnesota–Duluth (MN)*4965%50%$88,14360%$13,344
22CA State University–East Bay (CA)*56633%53%$57,92064%$6,834
23University of MA–Amherst (MA)*5968%63%$52,90363%$15,411
24Stony Brook University (NY)*5768%60%$66,10564%$9,257
25CA State University–Dominguez Hills (CA)*59537%53%$50,82854%$6,837
26Viterbo University (WI)59526%70%$53,72565%$26,920
27Weber State University (UT)*49627%34%$53,03072%$5,712
28Eastern Washington University (WA)*58620%50%$48,42565%$7,109
29University of NC–Chapel Hill (NC)*3853%69%$78,29877%$9,005
30Notre Dame of MD University (MD)49647%68%$61,29756%$36,070
31University of Baltimore (MD)*59450%50%$63,29749%$8,824
32Winona State University (MN)*58611%59%$47,45866%$9,379
33CA State University–Long Beach (CA)*46618%72%$54,58971%$6,730
34Northeastern Illinois University (IL)*57643%46%$44,12662%$9,638
35Jacksonville University (FL)59637%45%$66,54659%$35,260
36Michigan State University (MI)*4863%56%$82,82564%$15,375
37University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (MI)*3862%76%$78,77367%$15,761
38Linfield College (OR)5843%100%$64,79079%$41,646
39SUNY Binghamton (NY)*4863%76%$56,44364%$9,523
40Metropolitan State University (MN)*49367%56%$51,10662%$7,859
41Washington State University (WA)*48616%56%$54,22271%$11,391
42University of Wisconsin–Madison (WI)*3765%65%$77,55274%$10,533
43University of Virginia (VA)*3755%76%$87,14275%$16,155
44University of North Dakota (ND)*58617%23%$66,10967%$8,447
45Regis University (CO)59548%46%$62,49762%$35,610
46MidAmerica Nazarene University (KS)49529%74%$60,83665%$29,670
47Penn State–Harrisburg (PA)*58614%66%$54,92556%$15,190
48California State University–Fullerton (CA)*55619%64%$53,07969%$6,850
49Framingham State University (MA)*58517%50%$54,01170%$9,920
50George Fox University (OR)58513%85%$60,08067%$35,016
51Rivier University (NH)57639%55%$55,75066%$31,050
52University of Southern Maine (ME)*59530%38%$46,25466%$8,638
53Westfield State University (MA)*59512%61%$45,72364%$9,715
54Siena Heights University (MI)58545%73%$49,57554%$25,932
55Park University (MO)49571%19%$52,34458%$8,632
56Cornell University (NY)3751%67%$145,07275%$52,853
57CA State University–Sacramento (CA)*47623%56%$54,43666%$7,204
58Indiana University–Bloomington (IN)*5862%63%$58,55256%$10,533
59Western Illinois University (IL)*59615%53%$44,48959%$12,664
60SUNY College of Envir. Science & Forestry (NY)*5657%83%$47,98669%$8,543
61University of Washington–Tacoma (WA)*38330%66%$78,62876%$11,046
62Duquesne University (PA)4964%72%$72,82865%$36,394
63University of Texas–Arlington (TX)*48547%49%$54,65260%$9,952
64Bellevue University (NE)58279%29%$63,16662%$7,752
65Tufts University (MA)3751%83%$126,13772%$54,318
66University of Mary (ND)56516%71%$55,72172%$18,150
67Northern Vermont University (VT)*59534%54%$36,98160%$11,730
68Mount Mercy University (IA)58534%58%$50,79669%$30,582
69Florida Atlantic University (FL)*48625%58%$49,59057%$4,831
70University of MD–College Park (MD)*5566%55%$66,05170%$10,399
71CUNY Baruch College (NY)*39525%53%$61,45667%$7,062
72Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)*57614%61%$57,64556%$13,256
73San Francisco State University (CA)*47619%58%$56,45262%$7,254
74University of CO–Colorado Springs (CO)*49625%36%$49,80664%$8,314
75Western Washington University (WA)*5668%63%$46,51867%$7,933
76Colorado State University (CO)*5769%52%$53,32665%$11,395
77Molloy College (NY)58522%57%$68,34563%$30,310
78College of St. Scholastica (MN)58530%65%$56,89166%$36,212
79Governors State University (IL)49553%59%$44,33148%$11,746
80Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)59517%63%$53,51767%$32,894
81Montana State University–Billings (MT)*59640%26%$37,14155%$5,833
82Utah Valley University (UT)*49626%25%$54,01864%$5,652
83Fresno Pacific University (CA)59555%51%$47,60353%$30,508
84Central Washington University (WA)*47619%59%$51,88464%$7,903
85University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (WI)*58610%44%$40,60668%$8,209
86Brown University (RI)4651%100%$110,40763%$53,419
87CA State University–Stanislaus (CA)*55621%60%$49,10365%$7,038
88Hawai'i Pacific University (HI)59537%28%$58,10065%$24,550
89Western Carolina University (NC)*58518%64%$43,13558%$6,897
90University of Kentucky (KY)*5867%44%$55,24062%$11,942
91CUNY Lehman College (NY)*48645%43%$49,43452%$7,010
92Stephens College (MO)57419%100%$51,90064%$30,344
93Cardinal Stritch University (WI)58543%51%$56,53558%$28,844
94University at Buffalo (NY)*5667%50%$73,31557%$9,828
95Utah State University (UT)*47619%36%$53,19675%$7,175
96Silver Lake College of the Holy Family (WI)59441%68%$43,15960%$27,360
97Adelphi University (NY)58612%57%$68,65762%$37,170
98University of New Mexico–Main (NM)*58624%49%$44,50352%$7,449
99University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (WI)*58621%34%$50,75060%$9,565
100SUNY Empire State College (NY)*49381%46%$47,13751%$7,185
Definitions:
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