The University of Southern California's highly regarded academic programs and research opportunities draw people from all over the world; nearly a quarter of its students are international. USC has some 49,500 students, and about 20,000 of them are undergraduates.

The university has a reputation as an expensive school — and it has one of the highest estimated degree prices in Money's rankings — but it also boasts a high graduation rate of 92%. Students go on to earn a median of $89,600 in their early careers.

Some of the most popular majors include communications, cinematic arts, architecture, music and law. The university's Los Angeles location gives students access to one of the country's major business centers and its entertainment capital. Perhaps unsurprisingly, generations of USC alumni have gone on to careers in the film and TV industries. Alumni include the creators of both Star Wars (George Lucas) and Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry).

Sports are a big part of campus life, too. Trojan football is practically a religion, and on game days, undergraduates, grad students and alumni come together to tailgate, schmooze and cheer on the Cardinal and Gold.