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
301

Northeastern University

14 to 184%97%28%6%65%N/A
302

Kettering University

14 to 154%93%70%18%93%N/A
303

Northwood University-Michigan

14 to 157%78%69%16%83%N/A
304

University of St Thomas

14 to 176%89%84%26%91%N/A
305

Evangel University

14 to 154%71%61%24%95%7%
306

Concordia University-Nebraska

14 to 159%76%78%25%73%4%
307

University of Nebraska at Kearney

14 to 156%80%85%37%71%N/A
308

Monmouth University

14 to 167%83%74%14%96%6%
309

Clarkson University

14 to 172%88%68%11%96%3%
310

CUNY Queens College

14 to 158%85%40%8%53%5%
311

Fordham University

14 to 181%91%48%5%80%5%
312

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

14 to 190%97%31%13%53%N/A
313

Ashland University

14 to 158%75%77%19%59%5%
314

Muskingum University

14 to 152%74%74%18%83%6%
315

Franciscan University of Steubenville

14 to 179%86%79%26%89%N/A
316

George Fox University

14 to 170%81%77%21%90%3%
317

Lancaster Bible College

14 to 173%79%68%42%90%N/A
318

Saint Francis University

14 to 172%87%74%22%84%N/A
319

Temple University

14 to 171%90%56%17%72%N/A
320

Roger Williams University

14 to 164%81%78%11%84%N/A
321

Columbia International University

14 to 162%73%34%17%91%N/A
322

North Greenville University

14 to 155%73%58%34%91%6%
323

Belmont University

14 to 169%83%80%23%65%3%
324

Bryan College-Dayton

14 to 157%65%46%24%60%7%
325

Johnson University

14 to 157%74%58%42%89%N/A
326

University of Memphis

14 to 145%77%40%13%76%N/A
327

Baptist Health System School of Health Professions

14 to 190%N/AN/AN/A83%4%
328

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

14 to 141%74%28%20%87%N/A
329

Champlain College

14 to 158%79%66%10%73%N/A
330

University of Mary Washington

14 to 170%82%83%18%41%2%
331

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

14 to 183%94%73%28%52%N/A
332

University of Charleston

14 to 147%66%52%16%89%12%
333

University of Wyoming

14 to 155%77%96%36%71%N/A
334

John Brown University

15 to 162%81%74%31%74%N/A
335

Biola University

15 to 170%85%70%21%91%3%
336

California Lutheran University

15 to 166%84%62%9%87%3%
337

Concordia University-Irvine

15 to 161%72%59%11%81%N/A
338

Point Loma Nazarene University

15 to 175%84%71%21%82%N/A
339

Vanguard University of Southern California

15 to 156%78%68%25%81%N/A
340

Colorado Christian University

15 to 147%79%N/AN/A54%6%
341

Sacred Heart University

15 to 164%83%59%14%85%N/A
342

Saint Leo University

15 to 145%71%73%17%65%10%
343

Northwest Nazarene University

15 to 149%77%56%17%80%N/A
344

Concordia University-Chicago

15 to 150%62%50%7%89%4%
345

Eastern Illinois University

15 to 158%75%50%13%73%6%
346

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

15 to 160%82%95%45%57%N/A
347

Dordt College

15 to 169%81%70%27%100%2%
348

University of Iowa

15 to 172%85%81%20%58%N/A
349

Midway University

15 to 156%78%46%18%86%N/A
350

Framingham State University

15 to 156%74%71%18%57%7%
351

Wentworth Institute of Technology

15 to 167%84%67%14%86%N/A
352

University of Michigan-Dearborn

15 to 153%80%62%18%63%N/A
353

The College of Saint Scholastica

15 to 170%84%61%12%82%N/A
354

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

15 to 180%93%58%19%51%N/A
355

CUNY Brooklyn College

15 to 154%82%37%7%60%7%
356

State University of New York at New Paltz

15 to 173%89%42%7%53%N/A
357

SUNY at Purchase College

15 to 158%81%41%10%59%7%
358

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

15 to 175%93%50%20%54%N/A
359

Miami University-Oxford

15 to 180%90%65%14%63%11%
360

Corban University

15 to 159%80%31%9%94%N/A
361

Geneva College

15 to 164%83%73%20%75%6%
362

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

15 to 182%92%54%13%53%N/A
363

Robert Morris University

15 to 158%85%78%13%80%N/A
364

Wilkes University

15 to 159%77%82%18%84%N/A
365

John A Gupton College

15 to 150%83%77%59%63%13%
366

Abilene Christian University

15 to 161%79%50%10%94%9%
367

University of Vermont

15 to 177%86%71%9%77%N/A
368

University of Virginia-Main Campus

15 to 193%97%30%12%40%N/A
369

Seattle Pacific University

15 to 171%87%82%13%93%3%
370

Washington State University

15 to 164%78%80%24%61%N/A
371

Marquette University

15 to 180%90%74%9%96%3%
372

Bristol University

15 to 189%60%46%26%35%12%
373

Faith Evangelical College & Seminary

15 to 180%67%N/AN/A76%7%
374

Sessions College for Professional Design

15 to 160%90%N/AN/A53%N/A
375

Harding University

16 to 164%85%99%66%87%5%
376

University of California-Los Angeles

16 to 191%96%17%6%61%N/A
377

Colorado School of Mines

16 to 177%94%38%9%68%3%
378

University of Delaware

16 to 179%92%67%18%62%N/A
379

Nova Southeastern University

16 to 144%80%59%15%83%N/A
380

University of Idaho

16 to 157%80%72%26%67%N/A
381

DePaul University

16 to 173%84%72%13%80%6%
382

Graceland University-Lamoni

16 to 152%62%48%13%82%9%
383

Fort Hays State University

16 to 143%70%86%41%44%7%
384

Frostburg State University

16 to 151%76%63%24%56%10%
385

Salisbury University

16 to 167%82%61%14%56%5%
386

MCPHS University

16 to 172%84%87%16%87%N/A
387

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

16 to 172%93%74%47%52%5%
388

Concordia University-Saint Paul

16 to 146%70%55%15%66%6%
389

Truman State University

16 to 173%89%79%32%80%N/A
390

Daniel Webster College

16 to 149%68%62%18%70%8%
391

Marist College

16 to 178%91%45%13%75%N/A
392

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

16 to 143%75%54%16%65%13%
393

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

16 to 175%85%52%20%76%N/A
394

SUNY College at Brockport

16 to 169%82%53%12%61%N/A
395

SUNY College at Cortland

16 to 173%78%51%11%61%N/A
396

SUNY College at Plattsburgh

16 to 165%83%50%12%72%N/A
397

Syracuse University

16 to 181%91%48%10%70%N/A
398

Appalachian State University

16 to 171%86%66%23%45%4%
399

Western Carolina University

16 to 157%80%40%9%65%N/A
400

University of Dayton

16 to 179%91%58%13%86%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