Villanova, the oldest Augustinian Catholic university in the U.S., is located about 12 miles outside of Philadelphia. The school enjoys a solid academic reputation, and its business department is a particular point of pride: Graduates of the Villanova Business School, which offers seven degree programs, have a 99.7% job placement success rate. (Other popular programs include nursing, communications and mechanical engineering.)

Overall, the university has an outstanding graduation rate, and students report earnings of over $96,000 a decade after enrolling. And while the estimated price of a ’Nova degree ($236,601) is quite high, about 65% of full-time undergrads received financial assistance last year, according to the school. On campus, students can be found congregating in the Connelly Center, St. Mary's Hall and around the Oreo (an abstract black-and-white sculpture on the quad).

Restaurants and bars in the area are also popular, and Philadelphia's attractions are just a short train ride away. Community service is a powerful force at Villanova; many students participate in immersive “Service and Justice Experiences'' for local grassroots organizations engaged in community revitalization, immigrant justice and homeless outreach. So is the Catholic faith: As part of the curriculum, every incoming freshman must take at least two scripture-driven seminars.