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Last Updated: September 10, 2021

Virginia - Old Dominion

Also referred to as the "Mother of States", Virginia is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. With a population of about 9 million and rising, the state of Virginia ranks 12th in terms of population in the nation. It will be interesting to know the origin of the state's name. The state was called 'Virginia' by the famous writer and statesman, Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth to honor the 'virgin queen'. The weather in this state remains mild to humid, and the minimum temperature in winters goes till 30F. The state not only features 20 Fortune 500 companies (Freddie Mac, McLean, Capital One, to name a few) but also has the highest density of high-tech workers in the USA. Virginia is considered one of the best states in the nation for businesses.

The state of Virginia is also known for its quality of education and reputed institutes of higher learning. Some of the top colleges and universities in the state to select from, are the University of Virginia (that has been named as a World Heritage Site), College of William and Mary (which educated U.S. Presidents namely, James Monroe, John Tyler, and Thomas Jefferson), Virginia Tech, George Mason University (which is popular for programs in law, economics, and public policy), and Virginia Commonwealth University (as it ranks the highest for courses including medicine, health administration as well as social work and art).

Major Cities in Virginia

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is the largest and the most populated city in the state of Virginia. It was founded in the year 1887. It has always been the most popular destination for tourists and still is. Virginia Beach is a place of great importance when it comes to the national defense system, and has three and a half military bases. Because of the amazing beaches, excellent restaurants, and numerous resorts, it is also widely known as the party town or the 'Resort City'.


This is the second-largest city in Virginia that was founded in the year 1682. Being one of the oldest cities, it is known for its rich culture and history. It is also popularly called the 'Tree City' because of the abundant beautiful trees that surround the city. Virginia Zoo, the West Point Monument at Elmwood Cemetery, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and the Norfolk Botanical Garden are a few popular places in this city. The biggest naval base in the world and the North American Headquarters for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is located in the city of Norfolk.


Chesapeake was established as a city with the merging of Norfolk County and the city of South Norfolk. It is widely known as one of the safest cities in the country. The name of the city means 'at a big river' or 'mother of waters' because of its numerous wetlands, and was probably given by the native Algonquin tribe who once inhabited the place. The Northwest River Park, the Dismal Swamp State Park. Lake Drummond, Oak Grove Lake Park, Great Bridge Lock Park, are some of the popular places to visit in the city of Chesapeake.


Richmond is the capital city of Virginia and was established as a city in 1782. The city was named after a place in England by William Byrd II. It is popularly known as the 'River City' because of the James River situated here. The Canal Walk, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Maymont, White House of the Confederacy, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Virginia State Capitol, Church Hill Historic District, are some of the popular sites in this city. Apart from its rich history, the city is also known for its quality of life. Dominion Resources, Genworth Financial, Performance Food Group, The Brink's Company, CSX, LandAmerica Financial are some of the Fortune 500 companies located in this city.

Economy/Job Market

The state of Virginia has always been known as a state that performs well economically. Freddie Mac, Tysons, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Capital One Financial, Dollar Tree, DXC Technology, Altria Group, Performance Food Group, CarMax are some of the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Virginia. Agriculture and forestry are the leading sectors that contribute to the economy of the state. Major produce includes tobacco, apples, grapes, peanuts, tomatoes, and so on.

Apart from agriculture, the state of Virginia also excels in sectors like corporate services, food processing, information technology, and manufacturing. After the outbreak of the covid-19 virus, the state of Virginia did suffer major losses in terms of economy. Despite this, the state succeeded in experiencing a breakthrough concerning economic recovery. There was a visible increase in the GDP by 6.4%. Employment in Virginia is projected at 9.0 percent by 2024 (healthcare and Technology are major growth areas), while the nation's average is 6.5%.

Tuition Fee and Living Cost in Virginia

The median household income is around $75,000 in the state of Virginia. The cost of living is also slightly above the mean range of the country. A major portion of one's expenses will be utilized for housing costs as it is the highest when compared to the national average. Medical costs can also be on the less affordable side, and therefore, students must be well-prepared in terms of money and consider choosing the best medical insurances.

Transportation, groceries, and utilities are slightly cheaper than the national average. The costs will vary based on the location. Tuition fees can be on the costlier side for out-of-state students attending public colleges as state institutions charge tuition fees higher than that of in-state students. Pursuing an education in a private institution can also be expensive. Students should check out all possible ways for acquiring scholarships or grants offered by the university or the state.

List of Few Major Universities/Colleges

About 167 Colleges and Universities comprise a strict and firm college education system in the Old Dominion. On average, 20,000-30,000 students get enrolled in various universities each year in Virginia. This state has universities that top the charts in the fields of fine arts, technology, science, and music. Even with higher educational costs, the quality of education that is imparted in Virginia attracts numerous students across the country and the globe for higher studies and research work.

Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students

With basic living expenditure being high, and tuition fees for an out-of-state student being two times greater than that of an in-state student in Virginia, scholarships, and grants may seem essential. Although summer jobs and training sessions work well for students to earn some money, universities and colleges are open to scholarships and loans. However, the federal government funds only two universities namely, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to perform agriculture research and serve in cooperative extension. Different grants have scholarships that will have their own specific requirements either based on need, academic merit, race/gender/ethnicity, and so on. Students should make sure to get adequate details either from the bursar office of the institute or the specific website. To determine the eligibility of the candidates, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is to be filled by all students.


Being the 'Mother of States' (because this state was the first permanent settlement in the entire country), Virginia has a great record of various historical events. Considering this interesting aspect about the state, it is evident that the state will also have numerous cultural and historical sites for tourists to explore. Apart from exploring the state through an educational lens, the state is also ideal for enjoying its vibrant beauty and natural wonders. Popular places one must visit in the state of Virginia include the Virginia Beach city, Arlington National Cemetery, Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Monticello and Charlottesville, the Luray Caverns, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Natural Bridge of Virginia, and a lot more. Food lovers should definitely try out iconic foods from the state such as the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab, Southern Fried Chicken, Fresh Oysters, BBQ and ham, Appalachian food, Apple Pie, etc. The best time to visit the Old Dominion is around April or May, before spring ends, or in October.

Universities & Colleges in Virginia

University (city) Total StudentsUG (in) / UG (out)G (in) / G (out)
University of Virginia-Main Campus (Charlottesville) 28593$18818 / $54363$20908 / $33454
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg) 9765$24045 / $49136$17772 / $36590
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg) 36882$14636 / $34499$16727 / $32408
Washington and Lee University (Lexington) 2172$49136 / $49136$49136 / $49136
George Mason University (Fairfax) 48678$13590 / $38681$16727 / $38681
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond) 33462$15681 / $37636$16727 / $31363
Old Dominion University (Norfolk) 28046$11499 / $32408$14636 / $35545
University of Richmond (University of Richmo) 4181$51227 / $51227$25090 / $25090
James Madison University (Harrisonburg) 24152$13590 / $31363$12545 / $31363
Christopher Newport University (Newport News) 5117$15681 / $29272$13590 / $22999
Virginia Military Institute (Lexington) 1717$17772 / $41817$N/A / $N/A
University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg) 5171$14636 / $31363$12545 / $21954
Liberty University (Lynchburg) 111084$17772 / $17772$9409 / $9409
Hollins University (Roanoke) 948$42863 / $42863$18818 / $18818
Randolph-Macon College (Ashland) 1418$39727 / $39727$N/A / $N/A
Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney) 1087$43908 / $43908$N/A / $N/A
Shenandoah University (Winchester) 4879$35545 / $35545$24045 / $24045
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg) 1866$40772 / $40772$15681 / $15681
Roanoke College (Salem) 2001$41817 / $41817$N/A / $N/A
Randolph College (Lynchburg) 655$43908 / $43908$13590 / $13590
Emory & Henry College (Emory) 1340$37636 / $37636$28227 / $28227
Bridgewater College (Bridgewater) 1922$38681 / $38681$21954 / $21954
Regent University (Virginia Beach) 12748$19863 / $19863$17772 / $17772
Longwood University (Farmville) 5864$14636 / $31363$9409 / $21954
Jefferson College of Health Sciences (Roanoke) 1258$12545 / $25090$13590 / $22999
Lynchburg College (Lynchburg) 3477$42863 / $42863$12545 / $12545
Marymount University (Arlington) 4055$34499 / $34499$20908 / $20908
Mary Baldwin College (Staunton) 2253$33454 / $33454$14636 / $14636
Bluefield College (Bluefield) 1426$29272 / $29272$10454 / $10454
Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar) 320$36590 / $36590$16727 / $16727
Southern Virginia University (Buena Vista) 732$15681 / $15681$N/A / $N/A
Virginia Wesleyan College (Norfolk) 1441$36590 / $36590$N/A / $N/A
The University of Virginia's College at Wise (Wise) 2027$10454 / $27181$N/A / $N/A
Norfolk State University (Norfolk) 5806$10454 / $21954$13590 / $26136
Virginia State University (Petersburg) 4836$10454 / $21954$12545 / $24045
Averett University (Danville) 878$32408 / $32408$9409 / $9409
Ferrum College (Ferrum) 1334$32408 / $32408$N/A / $N/A
Virginia Union University (Richmond) 1707$18818 / $18818$12545 / $12545
University of the Potomac-VA Campus (Vienna) 458$10454 / $10454$9409 / $9409
The Art Institute of Washington (Arlington) 888$18818 / $18818$N/A / $N/A
Eastern Virginia Medical School (Norfolk) 1096$N/A / $N/A$20908 / $25090
Skyline College-Roanoke (Roanoke) 13$15681 / $15681$N/A / $N/A
Radford University (Radford) 11085$12545 / $25090$13590 / $22999
Hampton University (Hampton) 4802$30318 / $30318$13590 / $13590
Centura College-Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach) 164$17772 / $17772$N/A / $N/A
American National University (Salem) 1207$12545 / $12545$10454 / $10454
Westwood College-Arlington Ballston (Arlington) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
ECPI University (Virginia Beach) 11735$15681 / $15681$13590 / $13590
Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach) 530$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond) 184$N/A / $N/A$14636 / $14636
Westwood College-Annandale (Annandale) 0$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Argosy University-Washington DC (Arlington) 634$14636 / $14636$14636 / $14636
Appalachian College of Pharmacy (Oakwood) 202$N/A / $N/A$N/A / $N/A
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs (Danville) 870$12545 / $12545$13590 / $13590
Bryant & Stratton College-Richmond (North Chesterfield) 488$16727 / $16727$N/A / $N/A
Virginia University of Lynchburg (Lynchburg) 402$8363 / $8363$7318 / $7318
Institute for the Psychological Sciences (Arlington) 150$N/A / $N/A$33454 / $33454
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (Blacksburg) 1637$N/A / $N/A$17772 / $17772
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Henrico) 70$N/A / $N/A$14636 / $14636
Appalachian School of Law (Grundy) 109$N/A / $N/A$33454 / $33454
Stratford University (Fairfax) 4172$16727 / $16727$14636 / $14636

*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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