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Overall Score: 82.21

University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, CA
One of the top research universities in the world, the University of California, San Diego is renowned for its science programs and stellar faculty. Hundreds of students flock to the university's gospel choir classes each year, thanks to the popularity of music professor Kenneth Anderson. Lin Chao, who teaches ecology, behavior and evolution, gets top student marks (and teaching awards) for describing complex science concepts through stories. Notable alumni include Mike Judge, creator of TV shows like King of the Hill, and Billy Beane, who put his UCSD economics coursework and statistical analysis training to use for the Oakland Athletics team – a feat immortalized in the book and movie Moneyball. Money found that 88% of students graduate within six years, and go on to make early career earnings around $75,000. UCSD's student body is diverse, with 33% of undergraduates identifying as Asian and 22% as Hispanic. Good news for Triton fans: As of July, UCSD has joined the Big West Conference as a Division I school. (It's technically in a reclassification period that goes through summer 2024.) Outside of sports, the college's annual Sun God Festival is one of the most popular events of the year, attracting performers like Vince Staples, Snoop Dogg and Hayley Kiyoko.


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.3 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

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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