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
501

Missouri University of Science and Technology

19 to 165%87%88%41%77%5%
502

University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

19 to 179%85%79%17%58%N/A
503

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

19 to 153%83%63%21%52%N/A
504

Ohio State University-Main Campus

19 to 183%94%49%17%65%N/A
505

Oregon Institute of Technology

19 to 146%78%57%23%47%N/A
506

University of Oregon

19 to 171%88%74%19%60%N/A
507

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

19 to 171%88%59%19%43%N/A
508

University of South Carolina-Columbia

19 to 172%87%65%20%71%N/A
509

Old Dominion University

19 to 153%82%83%31%55%N/A
510

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles

20 to 170%92%49%33%39%10%
511

University of Florida

20 to 187%96%48%24%88%N/A
512

Southeastern University

20 to 139%67%46%26%77%9%
513

Savannah College of Art and Design

20 to 167%85%70%21%88%9%
514

University of West Georgia

20 to 139%72%57%31%73%9%
515

Central Michigan University

20 to 159%79%69%19%74%6%
516

Winona State University

20 to 158%81%62%24%54%N/A
517

University of Missouri-Columbia

20 to 169%87%78%28%60%N/A
518

SUNY at Binghamton

20 to 181%91%42%9%51%N/A
519

SUNY College at Geneseo

20 to 182%89%73%15%55%N/A
520

Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

20 to 161%81%75%33%76%7%
521

Texas A & M University-Commerce

20 to 142%73%47%15%73%N/A
522

Texas A & M University-College Station

20 to 179%90%67%31%57%N/A
523

Brigham Young University-Provo

20 to 180%86%48%38%71%1%
524

Central Washington University

20 to 152%79%82%34%56%7%
525

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

20 to 184%94%53%18%43%N/A
526

West Virginia University

20 to 157%79%86%31%64%9%
527

University of Wisconsin-Stout

20 to 157%76%93%49%44%N/A
528

American Sentinel University

20 to 1N/A100%N/AN/A22%N/A
529

Georgia Southern University

21 to 150%82%60%35%67%9%
530

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

21 to 167%83%76%48%52%N/A
531

University of North Dakota

21 to 154%81%82%39%51%N/A
532

Kent State University at Kent

21 to 156%81%85%27%68%12%
533

California University of Pennsylvania

21 to 150%77%85%26%62%8%
534

Sam Houston State University

21 to 149%80%73%29%69%11%
535

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

21 to 165%80%85%39%46%N/A
536

University of Arizona

22 to 161%80%76%23%69%7%
537

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

22 to 176%93%31%11%55%3%
538

The University of West Florida

22 to 147%72%42%19%63%N/A
539

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

22 to 168%83%68%26%58%N/A
540

Texas Tech University

22 to 160%83%63%22%52%N/A
541

Utah State University

22 to 149%71%97%29%56%6%
542

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

22 to 160%81%80%36%43%N/A
543

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

22 to 154%75%94%46%47%N/A
544

Chamberlain College of Nursing-Illinois

22 to 189%93%68%64%57%N/A
545

Luther Rice University & Seminary

23 to 1100%100%100%100%65%N/A
546

Grace College and Theological Seminary

23 to 160%80%77%9%71%4%
547

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

23 to 167%85%77%32%72%5%
548

Louisiana Tech University

23 to 152%80%64%31%72%8%
549

Minnesota State University-Mankato

23 to 149%74%67%24%48%6%
550

The University of Texas at Dallas

23 to 166%84%61%24%65%7%
551

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

23 to 146%75%85%37%47%N/A
552

The University of Alabama

24 to 167%86%54%20%57%N/A
553

California State University-Long Beach

24 to 167%89%34%8%72%5%
554

University of South Florida-Main Campus

24 to 168%88%45%14%72%N/A
555

Alexandria Technical & Community College

24 to 164%71%N/AN/A53%12%
556

California State University-San Marcos

24 to 151%81%54%16%69%5%
557

California State University-Chico

25 to 164%84%63%12%63%7%
558

California State University-Fresno

25 to 158%83%52%18%75%7%
559

California State University-Fullerton

25 to 162%88%42%11%65%6%
560

Florida International University

25 to 158%88%50%20%69%10%
561

Florida State University

25 to 179%93%56%20%81%N/A
562

Brigham Young University-Idaho

25 to 161%68%100%47%60%3%
563

The University of Texas at Arlington

25 to 146%71%66%26%54%N/A
564

West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown

25 to 153%69%N/AN/A88%N/A
565

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

27 to 163%89%39%8%67%5%
566

San Jose State University

27 to 157%86%55%11%64%5%
567

San Diego State University

28 to 168%89%34%9%59%N/A
568

Regent University

28 to 149%80%84%25%84%N/A
569

University of Central Florida

30 to 170%89%49%18%69%N/A
570

Southern New Hampshire University

30 to 158%61%92%21%52%8%
571

University of Florida-Online

35 to 1N/A88%56%51%55%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