Within an hour’s drive of the Roanoke region are nearly 90,000 undergraduate students at 19 institutions of higher learning, from liberal arts colleges to the state’s largest research university.
That gives the region the most undergraduate students per capita of any locality in the U.S. Two additional schools are graduate-only institutions. With a total population an hour in any direction from downtown Roanoke of more than 833,000, that means a per-capital undergraduate college student ratio of 0.108.
By comparison, the San Francisco Bay comes in at 0.060, with the Research Triangle at 0.057 and Boston-Cambridge and Austin tied at 0.049. Richmond comes in at .047.
“The Roanoke region is surrounded by some of Virginia’s, and the nation’s, most recognized colleges and universities,” says Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, which tracks data about business and quality-of-life issues. “While many people from the region choose the local colleges and universities for higher education, these institutions also attract diverse student populations from around the United States and the world who enjoy easy access to the outdoors and a vibrant arts scene.”
The colleges and universities in the region are:
- Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg;
- Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Low Moor;
- Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (graduate only), Blacksburg;
- Ferrum College, Ferrum;
- Hollins University, Roanoke;
- Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke;
- Liberty University, Lynchburg;
- National College, Roanoke;
- New River Community College, Dublin;
- Patrick Henry Community College, Martinsville;
- Radford University, Radford;
- Randolph College, Lynchburg;
- Roanoke College, Salem;
- Skyline College (formerly ECPI), Roanoke;
- Southern Virginia University, Buena Vista;
- Virginia Military Institute, Lexington;
- Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (graduate), Roanoke;
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg;
- Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke;
- Washington & Lee University, Lexington.