Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 76.33

California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico traces its history to 1887, when a benefactor donated an eight-acre cherry orchard for the establishment of a school. Today, its main campus covers 119 acres, and the university also manages 800 acres of farmland, as well as more than 4,000 acres of ecological reserves. The school's eco-friendly spirit has thrust it into the national spotlight. Chico State is ranked by many organizations as one of the country's greenest campuses, thanks in large part to the undergraduates who host the country's largest student-run sustainability conference. Chico State has a six-year graduation rate of 72%, which Money calculates is 12% higher than expected based schools that serve students from similar backgrounds. The diverse student body (made up of about 14,000 undergrads) is a globally minded one; during the 2018-2019 academic year, 432 Chico students studied abroad. Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and the Czech Republic were the top choices from 39 possible destinations. The Division II athletics program also keeps students active. Some students complain that a party atmosphere can take over on the weekends, but classes held outside among the trees and lunches by the campus creek provide tranquility during the rest of the week. The campus, which is home to more than 200 species of plants, was officially dedicated as an arboretum in 1982.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$25,400
% of students who get any grants
64%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$17,000
Average price for low-income students
$11,750

Admissions

Acceptance rate
90%
Median SAT/ACT score
1090/17
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
16,040

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
92%
% of need met
59%
% of students who get merit grants
4%
Average merit grant
$2,200

Student Success

Graduation rate
72%
Average time to a degree
4.7 years
Median student debt
$16,931
Early career earnings
$56,270
% earning more than a high school grad
73%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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