To identify the Best Colleges in Kansas for 2021 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in Kansas anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
If you’re interested in online-based schools, check out our ranking of the Best Online Colleges in Kansas. You can also find out more about college financial aid with our list of the Top Kansas Scholarships.
University of KansasLawrence, KS
In American culture, Kansas may be best known for what it’s not – the magical Land of Oz, where Dorothy learned there’s no place like home. And there really is no place like Kansas. The Sunflower State has had a history of struggle and triumph, born out of the Civil War and grown in boom times and depressions, and the best colleges in Kansas carry the torch for Kansas’ uniquely steadfast, resilient character. In recent years, Kansas has seen flight from its rural areas, as young people move to the cities and out of state looking for work opportunities, and economic struggles have seen the once progressive state falter.
But there are clear signs that things are changing in Kansas, as the state learns to balance all of its many sides. While Kansas made its reputation on agriculture, fossil fuels, and flight (as a major aviation manufacturing center), the Kansas of the 21st century faces challenges that Kansans are ready to take on headfirst. Kansas was once called “The Free State,” and Kansans love nothing more than their freedom. But with a transforming economy, political struggles, and the new world of work, Kansas will need to work together to find their way forward.
What the Best Colleges in Kansas Bring to the Table
That’s where Kansas’ top colleges and universities come in. The major public research universities, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, attract students from across the US and the world to their highly-ranked STEM, healthcare, and business programs. As one of the nation’s top STEM institutions, Kansas State University is an transformative public research university, while the University of Kansas has made outreach its priority, meeting people where they are with extension campuses, outreach programs, and a rapidly modernizing online education system. Both are solidly ranked alongside the nation’s top research universities, and the best public colleges in the US. Kansas has a spectacular system of regional public universities, as well, institutions like Wichita State University, ranked one of the most affordable colleges and one of the best in the US for veterans.
A number of well-respected Protestant and Catholic liberal arts colleges, some of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation, keep the western educational tradition alive and adapting to 21st century concerns. These top-notch liberal arts colleges, like Bethel College, Southwestern College, and Kansas Wesleyan University, provide students with a grounding in critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication that makes for valuable, transferable skills that can apply to any professional career path. Ranking among the best Catholic colleges and the best evangelical Christian colleges in the US, schools like Benedictine and MidAmerica Nazarene prove that the best regional colleges in the Midwest can also be some of the best in the nation.
Into the Future with the Best Colleges in Kansas
There is truly no place like home, and if home is Kansas, count yourself lucky. Frank L. Baum and DC’s Superman stories may use “Kansas” as shorthand for “boring and ordinary,” but what is happening in Kansas in the 21st century is anything but boring. What happens in Kansas, in a lot of ways, makes a ripple effect throughout the US, and today the best colleges in Kansas are working double time to ride those waves. Everything the higher education does, from distance education to outreach to the state’s urban populations, is part of making sure Kansas stays a symbol of the American Heartland.