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30 of the newest colleges in America and how they're different

  • 30 of the newest colleges in America and how they're different
    1/ David Dugan // Wikimedia Commons

    30 of the newest colleges in America and how they're different

    Move over, ivy-clad temples of higher education—there's a new generation of colleges taking root across the United States, and they're decidedly different from your grandparents' alma mater.

    Stacker compiled a list of more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the country founded in the year 2000 or later and then narrowed it down to 30 of the most innovative. A handful of schools profiled meet particular cultural needs, such as tribal colleges or institutions with religious underpinnings. Others specialize in esoteric graduate programs or were created to meet the employment needs of surrounding communities. Many—although not all—strive to provide a flexible education with an affordable price tag at a time when what's considered a moderate budget during the 2017–2018 academic year averaged $25,290 for an in-state public college ($50,900 for a private school).

    One trend, however, dominates. Online education is growing at an astounding pace, with roughly 3 million students in the U.S. currently enrolled in remote graduate and undergraduate programs. Technology is rapidly transforming the educational landscape, revolutionizing how students learn at almost every college on the list. One school caters to commuters, with locations scattered around the state so students don't need to relocate; another is completely online so students can be anywhere while pursuing their degrees.

    Wondering which unconventional institutions made the cut? Scroll through the list to find out which school offers a weekly horsemanship class, which colleges have free tuition, and which university was endowed by a family of pistachio barons.

    You may also like: Best value small colleges in America

  • Universities at Shady Grove
    2/ Google Maps

    Universities at Shady Grove

    Founded: 2000
    Location: Rockville, MD

    Have a passion for game design, fighting crime, or social work? If you live in Maryland's Montgomery County, you may want to set your sights on Shady Grove. A unique partnership of nine universities all under the umbrella of the University of Maryland, this commuter campus offers undergraduate and graduate degrees from schools around the state without having to relocate. Tuition varies by institution.

  • Breakthrough Bible College
    3/ Ron Cogswell // flickr

    Breakthrough Bible College

    Founded: 2000
    Location: National Harbor, MD

    If you're searching for a Christian post-secondary education with an emphasis on Bible study, Breakthrough Bible College may be just the ticket. Founded by Dr. Anthony T. Mays (who was called to the ministry at the tender age of 7), Breakthrough Bible College offers courses online as well as at a number of satellite locations worldwide.

  • Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
    4/ Google Maps

    Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

    Founded: 2001
    Location: Dauphin County, PA

    Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, thanks to its generous operating budget, prides itself on a diverse student body and an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program committed to research. According to the “Student Loan Report,” Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is the top-ranking private university in the country when it comes to student-earned scholarship aid. In addition, the school awards every incoming undergraduate a scholarship to defray the annual $23,000 tuition.

  • Ottawa University–Jeffersonville
    5/ Google Maps

    Ottawa University–Jeffersonville

    Founded: 2002
    Location: Jeffersonville, IN

    Ottawa University's Jeffersonville campus is the newest addition to the already sprawling Christian institution, which also has locations in Arizona, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Designed for the mature student, Ottawa offers online courses in a variety of areas, including health care management, human resources, human services, and psychology. Tuition varies by course and campus.

  • Institute of Production and Recording
    6/ Google Maps

    Institute of Production and Recording

    Founded: 2002
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    The Institute of Production and Recording, or IPR as it's more commonly known, offers programs in media, video, sound and live show production. Students benefit from hands-on experience, preparing them well for a variety of careers in the entertainment industry. Tuition, with room and board, rings in at approximately $34,000 per year.

  • National Park College
    7/ Google Maps

    National Park College

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Hot Springs, AR

    Residents of Hot Springs and surrounding areas can take advantage of affordable National Park College, where tuition is capped at $3,645 per semester. The college offers two-year degrees in fields with high demand, including communications, nursing, health sciences, business, and technical skills.

  • American Heritage University of Southern California
    8/ Google Maps

    American Heritage University of Southern California

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Ontario, CA

    American Heritage University, based in Southern California, is part of the growing wave of online universities. AHU offers a variety of undergraduate degrees as well as an MBA program delivered through an efficient cyber platform—all for less than $10,000 per year.

  • Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago
    9/ Google Maps

    Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Chicago, IL

    With an endowment of approximately $255 million and a dedication to excellence in graduate education and research, Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago offers a unique, fully funded opportunity for computer science superstars. Founded by the Toyota Technological School in Japan and funded by the Toyota Motor Corporation, TTIC is located on the Hyde Park Campus of the University of Chicago and works closely with their computer science department.

  • Pima Medical Institute
    10/ Alexis O/Toole // Wikimedia Commons

    Pima Medical Institute

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Paradise, NV

    The Nevada Campus is the newest location of Pima Medical Institute. It offers bachelor and associate degrees in a variety of health-related fields, including physical therapy, medical administration, and radiography. An integral part of the PMI experience is a clinical internship in the student's chosen field of study. Tuition varies by program.

  • New River Community and Technical College
    11/ YouTube

    New River Community and Technical College

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Beckley, WV

    New River is part of a growing group of schools offering certificates and degrees geared toward the specific employment needs of the local community at an affordable price point. Tuition at NRCTC ranges from $2,143 for resident students to $2,450 for non-residents.

  • Future Generations University
    12/ Google Maps

    Future Generations University

    Founded: 2003
    Location: Franklin, WV

    Future Generations University offers a dynamic new approach to post-secondary education, building on students' existing skill sets and employment experience while simultaneously working for local change on a global level. Acceptance to the M.A. program in Applied Community Development—the only one of its kind—is highly competitive. Students serving in Americorps are eligible for drastically reduced tuition fees. Notable alumni include Virginia Tech associate sociology professor Shannon Elizabeth Bell, author of “Fighting King Coal.”

  • Hellenic American University
    13/ Google Maps

    Hellenic American University

    Founded: 2004
    Location: Manchester, NH

    Hellenic American University offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as a study abroad program at its Athens campus. Undergraduates are required to complete a 40-credit General Education component in addition to their chosen course of study. Thanks to the university's Tuition Guarantee Program, students can rest easy knowing that fees will not increase during the period of their enrollment. With tuition approaching $40,000 per year, a Hellenic American University education isn't cheap, although over 80% of students do receive some form of financial aid.

  • College of the Muscogee Nation
    14/ David Dugan // Wikimedia Commons

    College of the Muscogee Nation

    Founded: 2004
    Location: Okmulgee, OK

    One of 38 tribal colleges nationwide, College of the Muscogee Nation offers a unique syllabus designed by tribal members to meet the needs of their immediate community. Students can pursue associate degrees in gaming, tribal services, police science, and Native American studies. Members of federally recognized tribes are eligible for scholarships or tuition waivers.

  • Excel Career Institute
    15/ Google Maps

    Excel Career Institute

    Founded: 2005
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Excel Career Institute offers bang-for-your-buck online career certificates in business and technology. Tuition is just $999 per program, which can be paid in monthly installments.

  • Wyoming Catholic College
    16/ Google Maps

    Wyoming Catholic College

    Founded: 2005
    Location: Lander, WY

    Wyoming Catholic College offers a unique interdisciplinary program designed to nurture body, soul, and spirit within the context of traditional Catholicism. In addition to studying, undergraduates at WCC participate in a weekly horsemanship class, taught by a dedicated equine instructor. Each year, a few lucky incoming freshmen receive a Founder's Scholarship to help defray the $33,000 annual tuition fee.

  • California South Bay University
    17/ Google Maps

    California South Bay University

    Founded: 2007
    Location: Sunnyvale, CA

    Students at California South Bay University can pursue either an MBA or an M.S. in computer science. California South Bay is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and boasts a strong career development center.

  • College of Western Idaho
    18/ Google Maps

    College of Western Idaho

    Founded: 2007
    Location: Nampa, ID

    There's no sticker shock when it comes to the College of Western Idaho. Tuition is, on average, half of a state university and a third of a private college. Fast-track career training, a variety of locations, and online courses leading to certifications and associate degrees are designed to cater to students with busy personal and professional lives.

  • Flashpoint Chicago
    19/ Google Maps

    Flashpoint Chicago

    Founded: 2007
    Location: Chicago, IL

    A satellite campus of Columbia College Hollywood, Flashpoint Chicago offers residential and undergraduate degrees in the digital arts. Founded by industry insiders, students take classes in film, design, marketing, animation, and audio engineering and graduate with hands-on experience and sought-after skills. Flashpoint's website boasts recommendations from Nickelodeon and Disney execs, as well as actor and director Ed Burns. Although fees vary, tuition with room and board is approximately $28,000 per year.

  • Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts
    20/ Google Maps

    Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts

    Founded: 2007
    Location: Portland, ME

    The Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) offers artists and scholars the unique opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in art theory and philosophy without having to opt out of their professional lives. The course of study lasts three years, with students spending only three weeks on the Portland campus, and another week pursuing fieldwork at sites around the globe. Another two years are spent writing a dissertation. IDSVA offers a number of scholarships and fellowships to help offset the hefty $39,750 per annum tuition.

  • Zaytuna College
    21/ Google Maps

    Zaytuna College

    Founded: 2008
    Location: Berkeley, CA

    Over the past 11 years, Zaytuna College has transformed from a small summer Arabic intensive program to a co-ed Muslim liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees—the first of its kind in the U.S. In keeping with the teachings of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, students take classes in swimming, archery, and horseback riding in addition to their academic pursuits. The college unveiled its new, 10-acre campus on Berkeley's Grizzly Peak in 2017.

  • University of the People
    22/ Google Maps

    University of the People

    Founded: 2009
    Location: Pasadena, CA

    University of the People embraces tuition-free education, charging its students only an application fee and an assessment fee for every completed online course. Thanks to the deep pockets of corporate donors including Intel, Microsoft, and HP, the administration costs for a four-year undergraduate degree are under $5,000. The school's “Pay It Forward” campaign encourages alumni to make regular donations to the school when and if they are financially able.

  • Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
    23/ YouTube

    Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College

    Founded: 2009
    Location: Baraga, MI

    Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) is one of just 37 tribal colleges in the U.S. dedicated to preserving Native American culture and history. Created to meet the specific needs of the Ojibwa people on the L'Anse Indian Reservation and surrounding areas, KBOCC offers certificate and degree programs in a variety of fields, including business, education, and environmental science. Tuition is billed at $100 per credit hour.

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    24/ Bill R. // Foursquare

    Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded: 2010
    Location: Dothan, AL

    Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is the nation's only private medical college under the auspices of a county health care authority. After a comprehensive study found that more than half of all trained osteopaths pursue careers as primary care physicians, ACOM was founded to combat the state's dwindling numbers of internists. Tuition is costly—approximately $70,000 per year. Thanks to an initiative of Blue Cross via The Caring Foundation, $3 million in scholarship funds are available to third- and fourth-year students.

  • Western Governors University Indiana
    25/ Google Maps

    Western Governors University Indiana

    Founded: 2010
    Location: Statewide (online), IN

    Forward-thinking Western Governors University Indiana campus brings their online, student-driven education model to the Hoosier state. Degrees are awarded on the basis of competency, enabling students to master their studies at their own pace. Graduates have found employment with major U.S. companies, including Pfizer, American Express, Microsoft, and IBM. WGU strives to keep tuition bills low—roughly half of the cost of most online universities.

  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
    26/ Google Maps

    Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded: 2010
    Location: Spartanburg, SC

    The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, also known as VCOM, has locations in Virginia, Alabama, and South Carolina. VCOM, like the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, was founded in response to the dearth of primary physicians in the rural south. Tuition for the 2018–2019 academic year is $45,000, exclusive of room and board.

  • Wongu University of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture
    27/ Google Maps

    Wongu University of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture

    Founded: 2012
    Location: Las Vegas, NV

    Nevada was the first state to license Oriental medicine practitioners, and therefore it's no surprise that Las Vegas is home to the country's first university to offer a master of science in Oriental medicine (MSOM). In addition to herbology and acupuncture, students at WONGU also take classes in Western medicine, such as imaging and pharmacology. The total cost of the program comes to $65,550, exclusive of room and board.

  • California Health & Sciences University
    28/ Richele K. // Foursquare

    California Health & Sciences University

    Founded: 2012
    Location: Clovis, CA

    California Health & Sciences university—endowed by the Assemi family of pistachio barons—was founded with the goal of providing health care services to San Joaquin Valley. Currently, CHSU offers a doctor of pharmacy degree and hopes to add an osteopathy program to their curriculum in the near future. A number of grants and scholarships are available to offset the annual tuition of approximately $66,000, inclusive of room and board.

  • University of Arkansas System eVersity
    29/ Google Maps

    University of Arkansas System eVersity

    Founded: 2014
    Location: Online campus, AR

    The latest branch of the University of Arkansas system, eVersity offers online degrees in business, criminal justice, health care management, and information technology. eVersity believes attending college should be both accessible and affordable, assessing tuition at a flat fee of $175 per credit hour.

  • Oak Valley College
    30/ Google Maps

    Oak Valley College

    Founded: 2016
    Location: San Dimas, CA

    Oak Valley College is a Christian liberal arts college which espouses living a debt-free life—a concept popular in some evangelical circles and popularized on TV by the Duggar clan. In an effort to make this lofty goal a reality, Oak Valley offers a three-year bachelor of arts in business, capping the cumulative tuition at $21,600. Student loans are nonexistent; instead, the college works with local companies to provide part-time job opportunities for undergrads.

  • Northern Vermont University
    31/ Gopats92 // Wikimedia Commons

    Northern Vermont University

    Founded: 2018
    Location: Johnson, VT and Lyndon, VT

    In 2018, the Vermont College Board of Trustees unified two colleges in the state system: Johnson State and Lyndon State. The merger created Northern Vermont University. NVU students are based at one of the two campuses, yet are able to take classes at either location thanks to the internet and telepresence classrooms. Despite the unification, the two campuses preserve their history as independent institutions through their two separate athletic programs: the Johnson Badgers and the Lyndon Hornets. In-state students can expect to pay approximately $10,000 for tuition, room, and board.

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