Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 82.21

University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, CA http://www.ucsd.edu/
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.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$36,300
% of students who get any grants
59%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$16,100
Average price for low-income students
$9,820

Admissions

Acceptance rate
31%
Median SAT/ACT score
1370/30
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
30,790

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
96%
% of need met
83%
% of students who get merit grants
1%
Average merit grant
$10,300

Student Success

Graduation rate
86%
Average time to a degree
4.3 years
Median student debt
$16,500
Early career earnings
$74,770
% earning more than a high school grad
79%

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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