Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 81.41

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI
Unsurprisingly for a school with nearly 48,000 students – 33,000 of them undergraduates – opportunities abound at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Eclectic arts scene? Check. Grade-A athletics? Badger faithful get pumped on game days. Charming college town? Affirmative – people bike along Lake Mendota. Strong Greek community? Got it. Impassioned political activism? The university is steps from the state capitol, where protestors often gather. Great academics? You'd better believe it. Students have more than 9,000 courses and 230 majors and certificates to pick from. The business and engineering programs are notably prestigious. The downsides are that the school's size can be intimidating, and students say professors are sometimes more focused on research than teaching. Still, UW-Madison students come from all over the country to attend this esteemed public institution, and 87% of them graduate within six years of matriculating. Their early career earnings come in at about $65,000, according to the College Scorecard. Badger alums go on to do other big things, too, like starting The Onion and founding Earth Day.


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.3 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

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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