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
201

Malone University

12 to 157%70%69%21%86%5%
202

Northwest Christian University

12 to 153%69%68%23%91%N/A
203

Alvernia University

12 to 151%76%74%24%87%8%
204

Elizabethtown College

12 to 178%82%71%15%99%3%
205

Gannon University

12 to 165%84%76%15%79%6%
206

La Salle University

12 to 163%78%75%13%85%4%
207

Marywood University

12 to 170%83%71%16%97%6%
208

Messiah College

12 to 177%88%79%28%97%N/A
209

Misericordia University

12 to 172%85%71%22%83%N/A
210

Moravian College

12 to 169%80%75%19%91%4%
211

Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science Inc

12 to 161%85%63%63%23%N/A
212

Saint Vincent College

12 to 169%87%70%23%96%4%
213

Susquehanna University

12 to 171%89%76%13%98%N/A
214

Villanova University

12 to 190%96%48%10%50%N/A
215

Widener University-Main Campus

12 to 157%78%68%16%81%N/A
216

Providence College

12 to 185%90%57%10%71%N/A
217

Bob Jones University

12 to 162%80%82%55%71%2%
218

Lipscomb University

12 to 155%84%61%20%73%5%
219

LeTourneau University

12 to 157%69%45%14%66%N/A
220

Norwich University

12 to 156%74%57%18%93%N/A
221

College of William and Mary

12 to 190%95%34%10%44%N/A
222

Gonzaga University

12 to 183%95%73%20%96%N/A
223

Concordia University-Wisconsin

12 to 158%76%67%21%75%6%
224

Wisconsin Lutheran College

12 to 162%75%92%38%89%N/A
225

Purdue University-Main Campus

12 to 175%92%59%15%51%N/A
226

Provo College

12 to 171%100%N/AN/A74%18%
227

George Washington University

13 to 183%94%46%13%64%N/A
228

Florida Southern College

13 to 157%80%45%11%93%10%
229

Stetson University

13 to 164%77%63%9%98%5%
230

Mercer University

13 to 161%87%67%18%85%5%
231

Toccoa Falls College

13 to 147%66%45%20%93%N/A
232

Greenville College

13 to 157%82%56%14%91%N/A
233

Illinois Institute of Technology

13 to 173%87%53%11%89%N/A
234

Lewis University

13 to 166%84%62%12%81%N/A
235

Lincoln Christian University

13 to 161%67%60%36%84%8%
236

Marian University

13 to 156%80%56%15%66%6%
237

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

13 to 177%93%58%13%95%N/A
238

Valparaiso University

13 to 167%82%82%11%91%N/A
239

Drake University

13 to 175%88%67%12%94%3%
240

Morningside College

13 to 155%74%56%8%96%N/A
241

Northwestern College

13 to 167%82%72%21%94%N/A
242

University of New England

13 to 165%75%85%14%80%N/A
243

Emerson College

13 to 180%100%49%11%58%N/A
244

Gordon College

13 to 169%85%93%24%98%2%
245

Merrimack College

13 to 171%83%79%11%89%4%
246

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

13 to 185%96%49%11%92%N/A
247

Calvin College

13 to 174%86%74%25%95%3%
248

Grace Bible College

13 to 160%56%81%44%83%3%
249

Hamline University

13 to 163%79%72%13%94%4%
250

William Carey University

13 to 154%81%57%23%85%N/A
251

Maryville University of Saint Louis

13 to 171%89%72%26%68%N/A
252

Webster University

13 to 162%78%56%21%79%N/A
253

Clarkson College

13 to 171%71%52%39%60%N/A
254

Seton Hall University

13 to 163%84%76%10%86%N/A
255

Le Moyne College

13 to 168%88%62%9%90%6%
256

Manhattan College

13 to 172%84%67%11%87%4%
257

Niagara University

13 to 163%88%85%22%85%8%
258

Roberts Wesleyan College

13 to 162%78%66%18%79%6%
259

Rochester Institute of Technology

13 to 168%89%57%16%82%N/A
260

University at Buffalo

13 to 174%88%60%15%55%N/A
261

Gardner-Webb University

13 to 152%73%53%12%58%10%
262

University of Mary

13 to 160%75%96%46%86%N/A
263

Baldwin Wallace University

13 to 167%83%60%18%84%3%
264

Cedarville University

13 to 172%86%74%26%88%2%
265

John Carroll University

13 to 173%85%82%19%97%4%
266

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

13 to 172%85%82%54%50%N/A
267

Walsh University

13 to 160%78%80%30%85%N/A
268

Oklahoma Christian University

13 to 149%79%59%17%96%8%
269

Multnomah University

13 to 155%70%59%29%90%3%
270

DeSales University

13 to 170%78%78%16%79%4%
271

Duquesne University

13 to 174%85%76%20%92%3%
272

Juniata College

13 to 173%86%77%14%92%2%
273

Philadelphia University

13 to 165%82%64%13%88%N/A
274

Saint Joseph's University

13 to 179%90%82%14%90%N/A
275

Salve Regina University

13 to 172%86%73%12%81%N/A
276

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

13 to 167%86%77%25%62%5%
277

Columbia College

13 to 150%76%89%36%81%9%
278

Dallas Baptist University

13 to 158%72%42%17%86%8%
279

Texas Christian University

13 to 176%90%43%11%66%N/A
280

Maranatha Baptist University

13 to 144%77%69%55%65%N/A
281

Saint Norbert College

13 to 173%82%78%16%94%3%
282

Touro University Worldwide

13 to 1N/A100%N/AN/A76%4%
283

Spring Hill College

14 to 153%81%41%6%99%8%
284

Chapman University

14 to 179%90%48%10%79%4%
285

Hope International University

14 to 142%91%34%12%82%N/A
286

University of Redlands

14 to 172%85%68%11%81%N/A
287

University of San Francisco

14 to 171%83%64%8%61%N/A
288

Regis University

14 to 173%79%66%10%54%N/A
289

Jacksonville University

14 to 141%68%54%12%68%10%
290

Elmhurst College

14 to 167%79%55%13%95%2%
291

Loyola University Chicago

14 to 174%86%71%10%83%5%
292

McKendree University

14 to 156%71%63%19%75%9%
293

Olivet Nazarene University

14 to 161%77%77%18%89%N/A
294

University of Illinois at Springfield

14 to 148%77%63%18%65%N/A
295

Ball State University

14 to 160%82%61%16%65%7%
296

Mount Mercy University

14 to 165%78%61%21%86%4%
297

Stevenson University

14 to 153%80%60%13%81%N/A
298

Babson College

14 to 189%96%26%7%48%N/A
299

Boston College

14 to 192%95%29%7%45%2%
300

Endicott College

14 to 171%86%73%20%77%N/A

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