Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 84.13

Cornell University

An unusual public-private hybrid, Cornell has a unique position in the Ivy League. New York State residents can enroll in its colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Industrial and Labor Relations, or Human Ecology, and pay about $20,000 a year less than the tuition charged by the rest of the university. Cornell is also the largest and typically the least selective of the Ivies, accepting about 11% of applicants into its 15,000-person undergraduate population. Cornell's private side includes a highly respected College of Arts & Sciences, as well as architecture and hotel administration programs that are considered leaders in their respective fields. Recent grads tend to find high-paying jobs and the median salary 10 years after enrolling is about $91,000, slightly higher than graduates of similar colleges, according to Money's calculations. Cornell celebrates a variety of campus traditions, one of the most beloved of which is Slope Day, a celebration of the end of winter that includes a "strolling competition" and musical performances by the likes of Steve Aoki and Kendrick Lamar. The university is located in one of the country's top college towns, Ithaca, and thanks partly to nearby Ithaca College, college-aged students comprise a large portion of the local population. There are numerous bars and restaurants, a good music scene and many opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$81,200
% of students who get any grants
47%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$29,100
Average price for low-income students
$5,240

Admissions

Acceptance rate
11%
Median SAT/ACT score
1480/30
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
14,980

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
97%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
N/A
Average merit grant
N/A

Student Success

Graduation rate
95%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$14,500
Early career earnings
$91,180
% earning more than a high school grad
87%

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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