Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 86.22

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC http://www.unc.edu/
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation's first public university, has long been known as one of the best bargains for a competitive school. Among the strongest departments at UNC are biology and other sciences, traditional liberal arts such as religious studies, and journalism. The school is tough to get into, only admitting about 25% of applicants to join its roughly 19,000-person undergraduate student body. (Out-of-state applicants face even longer odds.) UNC offers 74 bachelor's degree programs; it has a high graduation rate of 89%. Sports play a big role on campus: Basketball games are typically sold out, especially when the Tar Heels face Duke, their fiercest rival and the Tar Heels are regular contenders in the annual March Madness tournament. But basketball is hardly the university's most successful sport. The women's soccer team has more than 20 NCAA titles. When they aren't studying or cheering, students have access to hundreds of on-campus clubs as well as the college town's many nightclubs and restaurants – including Al's Burger Shack, home to what TripAdvisor once named the best cheeseburger in America. The student body loves tradition, like having a drink from the Old Well to ensure good grades or signing their names inside the bell tower. The campus is no stranger to bold-faced names. Former presidents like John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton have addressed students in the past. Professor Aziz Sancar, a researcher at the UNC School of Medicine, won the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Alumni include author Mary Pope Osborne (of Magic Tree House fame) and YouTuber Mamrie Hart.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$25,200
% of students who get any grants
53%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$10,600
Average price for low-income students
$3,750

Admissions

Acceptance rate
25%
Median SAT/ACT score
1410/26
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
19,010

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
90%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
5%
Average merit grant
$7,030

Student Success

Graduation rate
89%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$14,500
Early career earnings
$61,920
% earning more than a high school grad
78%

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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