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Rank: 5

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. Though 38% of the student body is considered low-income, the university still has a six-year graduation rate of about 85%, well above the average for schools with a comparable population of students. (On top of that, grads report early-career salaries of $59,400, according to PayScale.) 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 opened aquatic center, complete with a sand volleyball court and two pools.
costs
Est. Full Price 2019-2020
$37,300
% of students who get any grants
67%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$17,600
Average price for low-income students
$10,320
admissions
Acceptance rate
43%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1250/29
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
30,046
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
97%
% of need met
81%
% of students who get merit* grants
4%
Average merit grant
$6,623
student success
Graduation rate
85%
Average time to a degree
4.4 years
Average student debt
$14,000
Average salary within 3 years
$59,400
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
52%
key deadlines
Early decision application
N/A
Regular application
Nov 30

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Opportunity Insights.

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Opportunity Insights.

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