Image unavailable
Rank: 1

University of California-Irvine

MONEY's No. 1 college for 2019-2020 is the University of California - Irvine, which is just over 50 years old. Irvine is one of the youngest campuses in the state's public university system, but it's already among the world's most respected research institutions -- three former faculty members have received Nobel Prizes. Undergraduates thrive: About 85% of freshmen go on to graduate within six years, which MONEY found is about 29% higher than the average for schools with similar student bodies. From there, the typical Anteater's early career earnings come in at about $57,700, according to PayScale, which is nearly 14% more than alums of comparable colleges. Irvine is one of the most diverse schools in the country -- 32% of the roughly 29,000 undergrads are Asian, and 24% are Hispanic. The school also has a sweet location in the sunny suburbs, just miles from the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland. UCI doesn't field a football team, but its baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball programs are strong. In one of the more quaint college cheers, the "Antourage," as fans are called, cheer "Zot! Zot! Zot!" to mimic the sound of an anteater sucking up ants.
costs
Est. Full Price 2019-2020
$35,400
% of students who get any grants
66%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$14,900
Average price for low-income students
$8,550
admissions
Acceptance rate
37%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1260/29
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
29,295
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
96%
% of need met
81%
% of students who get merit* grants
2%
Average merit grant
$7,783
student success
Graduation rate
85%
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Average student debt
$16,500
Average salary within 3 years
$57,700
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
55%
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.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Sign up to receive the latest updates and smartest advice from the editors of MONEY

SUBSCRIBE