10 Best “Hidden Gem” Universities in New England

New England is well-known for its active college scene, with over 100 institutions of higher education calling New England home.

Many of the world’s most well-known colleges are right here in New England – schools like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth are all synonymous with elite northeast education.

However, there are a number of excellent universities in New England outside these well-known Ivy League institutions.

A number of these universities have significant research expenditures, contribute to the local economy, and even have employment rates just as high as nearly any other school.

Today, we outline 10 amazing “hidden gem” universities in New England.

What qualifies a school as a hidden gem?

One, the school has to have demonstrated excellence over the last decade in the form of research, rankings, employment rating of graduates, student satisfaction, and more.

Secondly, the school cannot yet be in the top 200 in the US News national universities ranking list.

Third, the school must have the status of a university. While there are many excellent, hidden-gem liberal arts colleges in New England, for this article we are focusing on university-based programs.

Finally, the schools listed here are unique from the colleges listed in another “hidden gem” list we published recently.

Here are the 10 best “hidden gem” universities in New England.

10. Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT)

photo by Wshyam via Wikimedia Commons

This hidden gem of a university is home to many of New England’s top specialty programs, including teaching as well as nursing. SCSU has an annual NCLEX (licensing exam for nurses) pass rating between 90% and 100%, significantly higher than the average of 73% nationwide.

SCSU is one of New England’s best universities for study-abroad opportunity; SCSU students can explore over 100 destinations through the school’s International Education programs.

SCSU is constantly innovating its curriculum to meet the demands of the 21st century. One recent addition to their curriculum is a program in Data Science, one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country with an annual starting salary of approximately $130k.

Alumni of SCSU include New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman as well as Wonder Years actor Dan Lauria. 


9. Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI)

photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons

Roger Williams University (RWU) is among New England’s best schools for career outcomes; incredibly, students have a 95% rate of employment within two years of graduating. Interestingly, RWU is home to Rhode Island’s only law school.

Roger Williams is hardly just a New England school; this university has a strong presence throughout the world, having established campuses in London and Florence, as well as several sister institutions in countries including France, Brazil, and Vietman.

RWU is paving the way for increased access to higher education. Included in RWU’s financial accessibility initiatives are: increasing scholarship value of merit-based and need-based financial aid, removing GPA requirements for merit-based scholarships (which means those scholarships will not be revoked based on academic performance), reducing room and board cost by $800, and efforts to eliminate lab fees altogether.

RWU sets a golden standard for queer and trans student inclusion via inclusive policies and actions. Nestled in the heart of RWU campus is the Queer and Trans Advocacy Center, which oversees campus-wide inclusion initiatives, policies, and procedures.

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