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Rank: 3

Princeton University

Princeton, NJwww.princeton.edu
Everybody knows Princeton University is elite, but did you know it's also affordable? The school gives out such large grants to the six in 10 families who qualify (households earning less than $250,000 generally get some aid; those making less than $65,000 get a free ride) that more than 80% of students graduate without any debt. And that's on top of the fact that, while at the university, undergrads have access to some of the country's best-known intellectual figures, such as Angus Deaton, who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2015, and novelist-turned-professor Joyce Carol Oates. Once students leave school, their Princeton diplomas clearly help them in the job market: Recent graduates report earning an average of $72,700 per year to PayScale, a premium over comparable schools. Princeton alumni make 15% more than their peers at schools who offer a similar mix of majors. (These outcomes partially contributed to Princeton's No. 1 ranking on MONEY's 2018-2019 list of best colleges.) Princeton's park-like campus with ivy-covered Gothic-style buildings is widely considered one of the country's most beautiful. While there's little Greek life, most juniors and seniors belong to exclusive "eating clubs," some of which only admit students who pass through a secretive selection process. The Tigers compete in NCAA Division I athletics. Sports events tend to draw small crowds, but if the football team defeats both Yale and Harvard, it holds a ceremonial bonfire on Cannon Green.
costs
Est. Full Price 2019-2020
$69,100
% of students who get any grants
58%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$17,400
Average price for low-income students
$1,950
admissions
Acceptance rate
6%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1500/33
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
5,246
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
100%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit* grants
N/A
Average merit grant
N/A
student success
Graduation rate
97%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Average student debt
$7,500
Average salary within 3 years
$72,700
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
66%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Nov 1
Regular application
Jan 1

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Opportunity Insights.

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Opportunity Insights.

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