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Rank: 80

Amherst College

Amherst, a traditionally top-ranked liberal arts school, has many qualities that set it apart among small elite colleges. Its graduation rate of 93% is 3% higher than expected for students with similar test scores and economic backgrounds, according to Money's analysis. Unlike most top schools, which dictate a variety of basic classes that lower classmen must take, Amherst has no required courses, except for a first-year seminar emphasizing writing and critical thinking. A consortium with nearby schools University of Massachusetts, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith allows students to cross-register for courses for no additional fee. The college is recognized for its commitment to teaching and close interaction between professors and students and boasts an 7:1 student-faculty ratio. Amherst is one of a small group of schools that pledge to meet 100% of every student's demonstrated financial need. As a result, the majority of students in the class of 2018 -- approximately 70% -- graduated without student loan debt. With fewer than 2,000 students, Amherst's campus offers an intimate experience; 43% of its students also take part in study abroad programs in places like Paris, Athens, and Cairo. In addition to its attractive and nearly 200-year-old campus, Amherst maintains a 500-acre wildlife sanctuary with wetlands and woodlands. Sports have always been popular on campus, especially competitions between Amherst and friendly rival Williams College. The annual football game between the two Division III schools is known as the Biggest Little Game in America, a hat tip to the "Big Game" played annually by rivals Stanford and UC-Berkeley.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
FALL 2020 PLAN: Amherst College has plans to have all students on campus for at least one semester -- and some in-person instruction -- during the 2020-2021 school year.
costs
Est. Full Price 2020-2021
$75,700
% of students who get any grants
60%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$20,100
Average price for low-income students
$7,600
admissions
Acceptance rate
13%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1430/33
SAT/ACT Required for Fall 2021?
no
Enrollment
1,860
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
93%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Average student debt
$12,900
Average salary within 5 years
$57,000
% earning more than $28,000
81%
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.

* Full price of attendance includes on-campus room & board fees, which may not be applicable to all colleges' reopening plans this year.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, Money/American Institutes for Research calculations, Opportunity Insights.

coronavirus update

FALL 2020 PLAN: Amherst College has plans to have all students on campus for at least one semester -- and some in-person instruction -- during the 2020-2021 school year.

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

* Full price of attendance includes on-campus room & board fees, which may not be applicable to all colleges' reopening plans this year.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, Money/American Institutes for Research calculations, Opportunity Insights.

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