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Overall Score: 74.06

California State University, San Marcos

San Marcos, CA
California State University, San Marcos is relatively new to the academic arena, opening in 1990 in North San Diego County. However, the college has continued to grow in recent years, now encompassing 304 acres of the idyllic San Marcos foothills. The university, which is minutes from the beach and about an hour from the desert and mountains, is comprised of four colleges, with the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences boasting the highest enrollment. The most popular major is business administration, followed by nursing, psychology, human development, criminology and sociology. The student body has more than 700 international and exchange students. In addition to the natural outdoor wonders at the students’ fingertips, there are also more than 100 organizations to pick from, including a finance society, a powerlifting group and a League of Legends club. Students can also play on or simply support the San Marcos teams in sports like baseball, golf and soccer.


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.9 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

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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