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Rank: 5

Duke University

One of the most selective colleges in the South, Duke accepted only about 6% of regular-decision applicants in 2020. Though a major research institution, Duke offers its nearly 7,000 undergrads an extraordinary amount of direct interaction with professors. The student-faculty ratio -- 6:1 -- is one of the lowest in Money's rankings, and about half of students work on research projects with faculty members. The most popular majors include computer science, economics, and public policy. Many professors are at the top of their fields, including the economist Dan Ariely, Nobel-winning chemist Robert Lefkowitz, and -- we are not making this up -- scientists who spent several years developing an invisibility cloak. (To be fair, scientists at the universities of Rochester and Central Florida have also contributed to the advancement of the science behind invisibility cloaks.) All of these advantages are wrapped in quintessential collegiate trappings. Duke's towering architecture has earned its almost 9,000-acre campus in Durham, North Carolina, the nickname "Gothic Wonderland." Undergrad social life, meanwhile, tends to revolve around fraternities and athletics. As any sports fan knows, the Blue Devils men's basketball team is a perennial winner with a passionate national following. Students from Duke, which has a 96% graduation rate, also tend to do well outside academia: Recent graduates report making $68,700 annually within five years, according to PayScale data.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
FALL 2020 PLAN: Duke revised its academic calendar in an attempt to minimize travel, eliminating fall break and ending finals by Thanksgiving. Courses have a mix of online and in-person instruction.
costs
Est. Full Price 2020-2021
$76,000
% of students who get any grants
56%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$20,700
Average price for low-income students
N/A
admissions
Acceptance rate
9%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1510/34
SAT/ACT Required for Fall 2021?
no
Enrollment
6,600
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
95%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit* grants
3%
Average merit grant
N/A
student success
Graduation rate
96%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Average student debt
$11,500
Average salary within 5 years
$67,800
% earning more than $28,000
92%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Nov 1
Regular application
Jan 3

* 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: Duke revised its academic calendar in an attempt to minimize travel, eliminating fall break and ending finals by Thanksgiving. Courses have a mix of online and in-person instruction.

* 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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