Using the student-to-faculty ratio figures from the NCES database, we calculated how many students each school had per faculty member. Kiplinger recognized that a smaller student-to-faculty ratio is ideal, as that indicates each student is getting more personal instruction.

The NCES database did not have retention rate figures for all of the colleges on our list. We did not, however, want to penalize those colleges without data. To that end, we simply excluded those schools from the rankings in this category.

What is a Low Student-to-Faculty Ratio?

Although student-to-faculty ratios can differ from country to country and even regionally, in some cases, a low student-faculty ratio typically consists of 15:1 or 10:1, students to faculty. Though totals may vary slightly, this ratio describes a class size of roughly 15 or 10 students per every one teacher or faculty member.

Benefits of a Lower Student Faculty Ratio

There are many benefits of choosing a college or university with a low student-teacher ratio, including smaller classes where students can receive individual attention from instructors, accommodation of different learning and teaching styles, and much more.

Smaller Classes

In a smaller classroom environment, there is a much greater opportunity for the teacher to be directly involved with the students. Additionally, instructors of smaller classes often enjoy lighter workloads than their counterparts at larger universities, which means that the coursework can be personally delivered and graded by the instructor, instead of relying on a teaching assistant or other students for help. Students in smaller classes are also less likely to get “lost in the system” when surrounded by hundreds of other students in a large class, all vying for the attention of the professor. Small online course sizes may also be beneficial, as they can offer ease of communication between students and faculty, and better management of discussion groups and video lectures. Increased communication in small classes allows students to build the advanced communication skills they will need in the workplace after graduation.

Individual Attention

In a larger university or class, a lecture-style format is the preferred method of teaching hundreds of students at a time. In these large lecture halls accommodating hundreds of students, those that prefer or require individual attention may be overlooked by the professor or TA. In schools with a lower student faculty ratio, however, students are more likely to have more direct communication through conversations with their teachers, both in and out of the classroom. This one-on-one time with a professor can develop a lasting relationship, which can be beneficial when asking for references for graduate school or job prospects.

Types of Teaching and Learning

Larger classes and a higher student-faculty ratio can lead to an overwhelming amount of “busy work”, including easy-to-grade multiple-choice assignments and superficial tests and quizzes. A smaller class size can allow the breathing room necessary for teachers to assign more projects, papers and written exercises, as well as, take the time to properly evaluate and assess the skills of each student. There may also be greater opportunities to conduct research and collaborate on projects that would, otherwise, have hundreds of students competing for a few limited spots.

Teacher Retention

It has often been said that “quality over quantity” is most important when it comes to education, a theory that could also extend to teachers in all sectors. Recruiting and retaining teachers in an educational environment that has a high student-teacher ratio can be considerably more difficult than in one with a low ratio. The amount of work demanded from faculty in an environment with large classes and a high number of students can place undue stress on teachers, and may cause them to seek other positions. In some cases, the teachers deemed most effective are burdened with the additional responsibility of teaching in larger classes in order to increase test scores, student performance, or collective grade point averages.

RankSchoolStudent to
Faculty Ratio
Graduation
Rate
Retention
Rate
Acceptance
Rate
Enrollment
Rate
Institutional
Aid Rate
Default
Rate
1

Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary

3 to 150%N/A70%70%90%N/A
2

International Baptist College and Seminary

4 to 160%79%N/AN/A91%2%
3

Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

5 to 158%100%73%55%85%N/A
4

Maine College of Health Professions

5 to 1100%100%25%25%59%N/A
5

Midwives College of Utah

5 to 1N/A100%100%100%30%N/A
6

Virginia Baptist College

5 to 1100%25%N/AN/A38%N/A
7

Holy Apostles College and Seminary

6 to 160%100%N/AN/A22%N/A
8

Yale University

6 to 197%99%7%5%52%N/A
9

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

6 to 150%74%59%26%83%N/A
10

Southeastern Baptist College

6 to 180%40%N/AN/A21%N/A
11

University of Pennsylvania

6 to 195%98%10%7%54%N/A
12

Grace College of Divinity

6 to 1N/A83%53%50%24%N/A
13

American Medical Academy

6 to 175%83%N/AN/A18%N/A
14

California Institute of the Arts

7 to 156%87%25%9%55%8%
15

Catholic University of America

7 to 169%86%79%15%83%2%
16

MidAmerica Nazarene University

7 to 155%74%61%21%85%7%
17

Harvard University

7 to 198%98%6%4%44%N/A
18

Simmons College

7 to 174%85%58%10%91%N/A
19

Yeshiva University

7 to 188%94%80%50%82%N/A
20

Piedmont International University

7 to 141%74%24%19%68%N/A
21

Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

7 to 1100%N/A55%17%34%11%
22

Emory University

8 to 189%94%24%7%54%N/A
23

University of Saint Mary

8 to 141%75%49%14%63%N/A
24

Washington University in St Louis

8 to 193%96%17%6%49%N/A
25

Skidmore College

8 to 186%94%36%8%48%N/A
26

Saint Elizabeth College of Nursing

8 to 150%100%50%39%67%4%
27

University of Richmond

8 to 188%93%31%8%69%N/A
28

Simpson University

9 to 149%74%52%14%94%6%
29

Nazarene Bible College

9 to 140%100%N/AN/A49%13%
30

Agnes Scott College

9 to 168%87%62%19%95%7%
31

Buena Vista University

9 to 151%78%68%16%85%7%
32

Clarke University

9 to 157%76%72%14%91%6%
33

Emmaus Bible College

9 to 175%83%35%14%95%N/A
34

Tulane University of Louisiana

9 to 183%92%30%7%70%N/A
35

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

9 to 172%92%71%23%55%7%
36

Tufts University

9 to 193%97%16%7%43%N/A
37

Andrews University

9 to 154%80%39%12%84%7%
38

Cox College

9 to 199%100%59%22%60%N/A
39

Bryan College of Health Sciences

9 to 179%86%86%67%56%3%
40

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

9 to 169%88%66%13%86%1%
41

Cornell University

9 to 193%97%15%8%55%N/A
42

Nazareth College

9 to 173%84%76%14%97%4%
43

Pamlico Community College

9 to 172%76%N/AN/A39%N/A
44

Queens University of Charlotte

9 to 153%74%67%13%86%7%
45

Cleveland Institute of Art

9 to 168%83%65%23%97%5%
46

Immaculata University

9 to 170%83%79%12%59%6%
47

University of St Thomas

9 to 158%83%78%28%78%N/A
48

Westminster College

9 to 162%82%96%23%89%N/A
49

Laurus College

9 to 188%70%N/AN/A74%20%
50

Milligan College

9 to 163%78%65%31%87%5%
51

Bethesda University

10 to 177%68%N/AN/A58%2%
52

The Master's College and Seminary

10 to 169%85%95%41%82%N/A
53

Goshen College

10 to 166%78%66%22%90%4%
54

Huntington University

10 to 166%79%84%22%85%4%
55

University of Notre Dame

10 to 197%98%20%11%63%N/A
56

Saint Mary's College

10 to 179%90%80%24%94%N/A
57

North Central Kansas Technical College

10 to 179%78%N/AN/A57%14%
58

Georgetown College

10 to 157%72%68%13%90%5%
59

Johns Hopkins University

10 to 194%97%14%5%51%N/A
60

Brandeis University

10 to 186%92%34%8%58%N/A
61

Lesley University

10 to 154%80%67%12%75%4%
62

Mount Holyoke College

10 to 185%90%50%14%80%N/A
63

University of Detroit Mercy

10 to 163%85%73%12%90%6%
64

Madonna University

10 to 161%82%60%19%62%N/A
65

St Catherine University

10 to 157%86%67%14%89%N/A
66

Avila University

10 to 155%74%51%10%78%9%
67

Stephens College

10 to 155%72%68%16%100%9%
68

William Jewell College

10 to 162%82%49%17%94%N/A
69

College of Saint Elizabeth

10 to 149%71%63%13%66%8%
70

Stevens Institute of Technology

10 to 182%94%44%10%92%N/A
71

The New School

10 to 165%81%67%19%83%6%
72

New York University

10 to 184%93%32%10%57%N/A
73

New York School of Interior Design

10 to 150%80%42%8%29%N/A
74

University of Rochester

10 to 188%96%34%8%78%N/A
75

Wake Forest University

10 to 188%93%29%10%50%N/A
76

The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences

10 to 169%83%54%29%68%N/A
77

Otterbein University

10 to 161%81%75%20%81%6%
78

Arcadia University

10 to 158%79%59%6%94%6%
79

Carnegie Mellon University

10 to 188%98%24%8%54%N/A
80

Cedar Crest College

10 to 158%79%67%16%75%8%
81

Chatham University

10 to 156%76%55%14%64%3%
82

Drexel University

10 to 168%84%75%9%80%N/A
83

Eastern University

10 to 161%74%52%13%88%8%
84

Lehigh University

10 to 188%95%30%10%51%N/A
85

University of the Sciences

10 to 172%90%58%9%84%N/A
86

University of Scranton

10 to 180%88%72%9%88%N/A
87

Wilson College

10 to 139%73%45%10%71%N/A
88

Augustana University

10 to 175%84%65%25%97%3%
89

Union University

10 to 164%84%69%19%74%N/A
90

Eastern Mennonite University

10 to 161%73%62%15%95%3%
91

Shenandoah University

10 to 155%77%82%22%59%7%
92

Edgewood College

10 to 160%81%77%26%85%4%
93

Columbia College

10 to 162%81%N/AN/A63%N/A
94

Azusa Pacific University

11 to 168%88%81%20%92%4%
95

Loyola Marymount University

11 to 179%91%51%10%78%N/A
96

University of Denver

11 to 177%86%73%9%80%N/A
97

Georgetown University

11 to 194%96%17%8%42%N/A
98

Howard University

11 to 161%89%49%11%78%10%
99

The Baptist College of Florida

11 to 151%76%52%29%97%N/A
100

Brenau University

11 to 148%59%66%9%78%7%

Methodology

For each college, we gathered data for nine different metrics: the number of full-time faculty per part-time faculty member; institutional financial aid, acceptance, retention, graduation, job placement, and default rates; years accredited; and undergraduate tuition. Learn more