20 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 20 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.
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University of the People
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.
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Location: Harrisburg, 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.
Institute of Production and Recording
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.
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.
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.
Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago
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.
The Universities at Shady Grove
Location: Rockville, MD
Have a passion for game design, fighting crime, or social work? If you live in or near Maryland’s Montgomery County, you may want to set your sights on The Universities at Shady Grove. A unique partnership of nine universities all under the umbrella of the University System of Maryland, the commuter campus offers undergraduate and graduate degrees from schools around the state without having to relocate. Tuition varies by institution.
American Heritage University of Southern California
Location: Ontario, CA
American Heritage University, based in Southern California, is part of the growing wave of online universities. AHU offers a bachelor of business administration degree program as well as an MBA program delivered through an efficient cyberplatform—all for less than $10,000 per year. AHUSC offers monthly payments with no interest, noting that its tuition is something the average working professional can afford.
Pima Medical Institute
Location: Las Vegas, 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.
College of the Muscogee Nation
Location: Okmulgee, OK
One of 32 fully accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities in the U.S., 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.2018 All rights reserved.