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Rank: 49

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, VAwww.vmi.edu
The Virginia Military Institute, often referred to as the West Point of the South, is the oldest state-supported military college in the country. Student life shares some similarities with Army service, like the fact that cadets live in modestly furnished barracks with up to five others, not in dorms. They wear uniforms to class, must keep shoes polished, and march in formation. Unlike West Point, however, VMI charges tuition and does not require students to serve in the military after graduation. VMI offers bachelor's degrees in subjects like civil engineering, physics, and modern languages. Despite the institute's solid graduation rate of 95%, the first semester is notoriously challenging. So-called "rats," aka freshmen, must keep themselves spotless, stand at attention, and perform school songs or yells at the behest of upperclass cadets. After a six-year legal battle that landed in the Supreme Court, the school started admitting women in 1997. Today, women make up 11% of the 1,700-person student body. Alumni report annual earnings averaging about $62,300 within three years of graduation, according to PayScale. Every student is encouraged to play a sport, whether on a club or a team, and offerings include lacrosse, water polo, ice hockey, and paintball wrestling. The Keydets play in Division I, and have an unusual mascot: Moe the kangaroo.
costs
Est. Full Price 2019-2020
$32,000
% of students who get any grants
72%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$17,200
Average price for low-income students
$5,410
admissions
Acceptance rate
53%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1190/26
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
1,722
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
76%
% of need met
85%
% of students who get merit* grants
3%
Average merit grant
$4,284
student success
Graduation rate
77%
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Average student debt
$23,900
Average salary within 3 years
$63,900
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
43%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Nov 15
Regular application
Feb 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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