Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 83.13

University of California, Davis

One of several highly ranked public universities in the Golden State, the University of California, Davis has made a name for itself as an affordable school that produces results. Although 32% of the student body is considered low-income, the university still has a six-year graduation rate of about 88%, above the average for schools with a comparable population of students. Students can earn undergraduate degrees in about 100 majors, but UC Davis is best known for its specialties in agriculture and animal sciences. The university is home to a dairy center, meat-processing lab and 100-acre arboretum; its department of enology and viticulture offers a major, as well as an online winemaking certificate program. Perhaps unsurprisingly, UC Davis was practicing sustainable techniques – such as using local produce, promoting biking and creating energy-efficient buildings – long before such efforts became common on college campuses. When they're not hard at work, many students are cheering along with the Aggie Pack, the biggest student-run college spirit group in the country (perks include free T-shirts, sunglasses and In-N-Out meals). Students can also hang out at the recently renovated aquatic center, complete with a sand volleyball court and two pools.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$38,700
% of students who get any grants
69%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$18,000
Average price for low-income students
$10,010

Admissions

Acceptance rate
39%
Median SAT/ACT score
1290/28
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
30,960

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
97%
% of need met
79%
% of students who get merit grants
4%
Average merit grant
$6,600

Student Success

Graduation rate
86%
Average time to a degree
4.3 years
Median student debt
$13,199
Early career earnings
$69,770
% earning more than a high school grad
78%

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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