Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 76.35

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA http://www.ucsb.edu/
Students come to the University of California, Santa Barbara with many expectations: to be challenged academically, to enjoy the beautiful Pacific coast scenery and to party their socks off. From day one, students say, UCSB doesn't disappoint. Lectures can be large but professors expect students – of whom there are about 26,000 – to quickly catch on to material. The campus is constantly abuzz, with clubs tabling outside the University Center, student protests and vendors lined up along the miles of bike racks. The neighboring town of Isla Vista houses a majority of the students, as well as local restaurants (the most famous being late-night burrito stop Freebirds), copy shops, grocery co-ops and every other service a college student could need. It's not uncommon for students to stay within the "I.V. Bubble", venturing out only to party downtown or perhaps catch a movie. UCSB has a solid graduation rate of about 84%, and students go on to earn median salaries around $66,000 in their first several years after school.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$38,000
% of students who get any grants
63%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$18,200
Average price for low-income students
$10,570

Admissions

Acceptance rate
30%
Median SAT/ACT score
1360/31
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
23,340

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
95%
% of need met
76%
% of students who get merit grants
2%
Average merit grant
$8,320

Student Success

Graduation rate
82%
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Median student debt
$14,500
Early career earnings
$66,490
% earning more than a high school grad
76%

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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