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Rank: 3

Princeton University

Everybody knows Princeton University is elite, but did you know it's also affordable? The school gives out such large grants to the six in 10 families who qualify (households earning less than $250,000 generally get some aid; those making less than $65,000 get a free ride) that more than 80% of students graduate without any debt. And that's on top of the fact that, while at the university, undergrads have access to some of the country's best-known intellectual figures, such as Angus Deaton, who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2015, and novelist-turned-professor Joyce Carol Oates. Once students leave school, their Princeton diplomas clearly help them in the job market: Recent graduates report earning an average of $70,200 per year to PayScale, a premium over comparable schools. Princeton alumni make 8% more than their peers at schools who offer a similar mix of majors. (These outcomes partially contributed to Princeton's No. 1 ranking on Money's 2018-2019 list of best colleges.) Princeton's park-like campus with ivy-covered Gothic-style buildings is widely considered one of the country's most beautiful. While there's little Greek life, most juniors and seniors belong to exclusive "eating clubs," some of which only admit students who pass through a secretive selection process. The Tigers compete in NCAA Division I athletics. Sports events tend to draw small crowds, but if the football team defeats both Yale and Harvard, it holds a ceremonial bonfire on Cannon Green.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
FALL 2020 PLAN: Princeton will be entirely remote during the fall semester, having reversed its previous plans to bring first-years and juniors back to campus. Princeton is offering a 10% discount on tuition.
costs
Est. Full Price 2020-2021
$65,800
% of students who get any grants
59%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$16,900
Average price for low-income students
$2,700
admissions
Acceptance rate
5%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1510/34
SAT/ACT Required for Fall 2021?
no
Enrollment
5,300
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
96%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Average student debt
$9,850
Average salary within 5 years
$70,200
% earning more than $28,000
89%
key deadlines
Early decision application
N/A
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: Princeton will be entirely remote during the fall semester, having reversed its previous plans to bring first-years and juniors back to campus. Princeton is offering a 10% discount on tuition.

* 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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