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Rank: 9

University of California-San Diego

One of the top research universities in the world, the University of California-San Diego is renowned for its science programs and its stellar teachers. Hundreds of students flock to the university's gospel choir classes each year thanks to the popularity of music professor Kenneth Anderson. And 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, who earned a bachelor's in physics before going on to create TV shows like King of the Hill, and Billy Beane, who put his UCSD economics coursework and statistical analysis training to use in building a competitive Oakland Athletics team on the cheap -- a feat immortalized in the book and movie Moneyball. MONEY found that 85% of students graduate within six years, a rate that's about 15% higher than what is typical for colleges with similar student populations. UCSD's student body is highly diverse: As of fall 2016, 71% of the more than 28,000 undergrads were students of color. Most of the Triton teams currently compete in the NCAA's Division II, but UCSD is in the process of becoming a Division I school in the Big West Conference. The college's annual Sun God Festival is one of the most popular events of the year, attracting performers like Drake, My Chemical Romance, and Sara Bareilles.
costs
Est. Full Price 2019-2020
$33,600
% of students who get any grants
58%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$15,600
Average price for low-income students
$8,690
admissions
Acceptance rate
34%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1310/30
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
28,577
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
94%
% of need met
88%
% of students who get merit* grants
2%
Average merit grant
$11,855
student success
Graduation rate
85%
Average time to a degree
4.4 years
Average student debt
$17,500
Average salary within 3 years
$61,300
% 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.

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