2016 Ranking of Best National Research Universities
Our 2016 Ranking of the Best National Research Universities are based exclusively on factors actual college freshmen said were most important to their college decision. According to the most recent nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, these factors include academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost, and success of graduates in the post-college job market. Each of these factors were weighted equally in our ranking and data was derived from a variety of publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.

50
Texas A&M University—College Station
Miami

Image Source

Located on 5,200 acres in College Station, TX lies Texas A&M University. Originally a men’s agricultural and mechanical college, A&M today is home to 44,315 coed undergraduates. A&M offers over 800 clubs and organizations to its students. A&M has a student/faculty ratio of 21:1 and with 20.8 percent of its classes having less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Texas A&M University total $26,356 per year and 36.4 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. Graduates of A&M averaged $54,300 per year at their first jobs.

Academic reputation score: 55
Average financial aid: $10,034
Average net price: $11,323
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
49
Purdue University
Purdue

Image Source
Located in Greenville, SC, on a picturesque campus with its own lake, Furman is home to 2,798 students. Furman boasts a student/faculty ratio of 11:1, 53.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 89.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Furman University total $44,668 and the average starting pay for graduates is $44,400.

Academic reputation score: 56
Average financial aid: $10,902
Average net price: $13,541
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
48
Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens

Image Source
Stevens Institute of Technology places a premium on innovation and entrepreneurship. The private school in Hoboken, NJ is home to 2,691 students who primarily study in the fields of engineering, science, and management. Located just across from New York City, Stevens offers more than 120 student associations. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, 38.2 percent have less than 20 students, and Stevens has an 93.8 percent freshman retention rate. Stevens accepts 38.2 percent of its applicants, its tuition and fees total $44,490 per year, and graduates earn on average $65,300 a year in their first jobs.

Academic reputation score: 50
Average financial aid: $26,825
Average net price: $32,797
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
47
New York University
New York University

Image Source

New York University is the largest private university in the United States. NYU is home to 22,615 undergraduate students divided between seventeen schools and divisions. Located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, NYU boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1 and has rather small class sizes with 61.6 percent having less than 20 students. NYU has a 92 percent freshman retention rate and only accepts 32.4 percent of its applicants. Its tuition and fees total $46,170 per year and the average starting salary for graduates is $50,000.

Academic reputation score: 68
Average financial aid: $25,619
Average net price: $34,268
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
46
Northeastern University
Northeastern_University

Image Source
Located in Boston, MA, Northeastern offers a distinctive approach to education and research built on the values of experiential learning, innovation, and entrepreneurship.. Northeastern has a student/faculty ratio of 13:1, and 66.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 13,204 students, 95 percent returned for their second year. Northeastern University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $43,440 per year and the average starting salary for students from Northeastern University is $54,100.

Academic reputation score: 62
Average financial aid: $25,544
Average net price: $30,376
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
45
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
RPI

Image Source
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1824, and sits on 296 acres southwest of Troy, NY. Rensselaer prides itself on its highly ranked engineering program. Rensselaer is home to 5,452 students, who are encouraged to work in interdisciplinary programs that allow them to combine scholarly work from several departments. The student/faculty ratio at Rensselaer is 15:1. Rensselaer only accepts a 41.2 percent of its applicants, 92.8 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute total $47,908 per year and graduates earn on average $62,300 their first year out of school.

Academic reputation score: 62
Average financial aid: $23,427
Average net price: $36,043
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
44
University of Rochester
Rochester

Image Source
University of Rochester has zero curriculum requirements and all course decisions are driven by student interests. Located in the small town of Rochester, NY, University of Rochester is home to 6,177 students. University of Rochester boasts a student/faculty ratio of 10:1, 70.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 95.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at University of Rochester total $46,960 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $48,600.

Academic reputation score: 67
Average financial aid: $27,657
Average net price: $31,499
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
43
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Illinois

Image Source
Located on 1,783 acres in Champaign, IL, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is home to 32,695 students. The most popular areas of study at the university are Engineering, Business Management, Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Social Sciences, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. UIUC has a student/faculty ratio of 18:1 and 41.7 percent of its classes have less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at UIUC total $30,228 per year, though only 11 percent of students had their financial needs met in full through financial aid. The average first-year pay for graduates is $55,000.

Academic reputation score: 62
Average financial aid: $12,505
Average net price: $16,490
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
42
University of California Santa Barbara
3. University of California, Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, California

Image Source
University of California—Santa Barbara sits atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. UCSB has five schools and colleges, the largest of which is the College of Letters and Sciences. UCSB is home to 19,362 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is 17:1, 49.3 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and UCSB has a 91.5 percent freshman retention. The university accepts 39.8 percent of its applicants and its out-of-state tuition and fees total $36,624 per year.

Academic reputation score: 63
Average financial aid: $18,022
Average net price: $13,991
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
41
University of California Davis
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image Source
UC Davis has a total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees of $36,774 per year. Undergraduates at UC Davis can study in the College of Letters and Science, College of Engineering, College of Biological Sciences or College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. UC Davis has a student/faculty ratio of 17:1 and 39.8 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 26,663 students, 92.5 percent returned for their second year and 52 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from UC Davis is $50,800.

Academic reputation score: 65
Average financial aid: $16,235
Average net price: $14,877
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
40
Brandeis University
Brandeis

Image Source
Brandeis University was founded in 1948 and sits on 235 acres in Waltham, MA. Brandeis offers the personal attention and flexibility of a liberal arts college with the depth and opportunity of a research institution. Brandeis is home to 3,614 students, who enjoy small classes (60.4 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 10:1. Brandeis only accepts 37 percent of its applicants, 93.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Brandeis University total $47,833 per year, and 73.7 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 66
Average financial aid: $31,964
Average net price: $26,952
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
39
Wake Forest University
Wake

Image Source
An education at Wake Forest University is distinguished by its challenging liberal arts curriculum. Located in the city of Winston-Salem, NC, Wake Forest is home to 4,823 students. Wake Forest boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 11:1, 56.7 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 93.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Wake Forest University total $46,200 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $53,300.

Academic reputation score: 73
Average financial aid: $24,188
Average net price: $34,072
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
38
College of William and Mary
WilliamMary

Image Source
Located on 1,200 acres in Williamsburg, VA, College of William and Mary is home to 6,271 students. The most popular areas of study at the college are Social Sciences, Business, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Psychology, and English Language and Literature. William and Mary has a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and with 48.3 percent of its class having less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at College of William and Mary total $39,360 per year and 30.1 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 67
Average financial aid: $16,744
Average net price: $11,534
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
37
University of California San Diego
univ-california-san-diego-price_center

Image Source
University of California—San Diego is a young school—founded in 1960—but has quickly become one of the top research universities in the nation. Over 45,000 freshman applications are sent to UCSD each year, and only 36.8 percent of them are accepted. Located along the coast in San Diego, the university is home to 1,675 students. The student/faculty ratio is 19:1 with 39.7 percent having less than 20 students. UCSD has a 94.8 percent freshman retention. Out-of-state tuition and fees total $36,180 per year and graduates earn an average of $50,600 a year.

Academic reputation score: 65
Average financial aid: $15,654
Average net price: $14,329
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
36
Pepperdine University
Pepperdine

Image Source
Pepperdine University is a private university located overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, CA. It has a total cost for tuition and fees of $46,692 per year. Pepperdine is at the forefront of international learning, having campuses in Heidelberg, Germany; London, England; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lausanne, Switzerland; Florence, Italy and Shanghai, China. Pepperdine has a student/faculty ratio of 13:1, and 67.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 3,538 students, 91.3 percent returned for their second year and 70 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Pepperdine University is $47,700.

Academic reputation score: 58
Average financial aid: $34,999
Average net price: $23,773
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
35
University of California Irvine
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image Source
University of California—Irvine was founded in 1965 and sits on 1,474 acres in suburban portion of Irvine, CA. It is home to 23,530 students, most of whom commute to school. UC—Irvine specializes in areas such as cancer and neuroscience studies. UC—Irvine only accepts41.1 percent of its applicants, 93.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at UC—Irvine total $37,635 per year and first year graduates earn an average of $49,300 per year.

Academic reputation score: 62
Average financial aid: $17,214
Average net price: $11,569
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
34
University of Washington
Washington

Image Source
University of Washington is noted for its exceptionally strong programs in Medicine, Business, and Engineering. Located in Seattle, WA, University of Washington is home to 29,754 undergraduate students. UW boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 11:1, though only 33.5 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. UW accepts 55.5 percent of its applicants, 93 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Washington total $33,513 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $52,400.

Academic reputation score: 60
Average financial aid: $14,970
Average net price: $9,559
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
33
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina

Image Source
Located on 729 acres in Chapel Hill, NC, the University of North Carolina is home to 18,370 undergraduate students. The most popular areas of study at the university are Communication and Media Studies, Psychology, Biology, Business Administration, and Economics. UNC has a student/faculty ratio of 13:1 and 38.9 percent of its class having less than 20 students. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at UNC total $33,624 per year and 86.5 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. The average starting salary for UNC graduates is $46,100.

Academic reputation score: 71
Average financial aid: $13,381
Average net price: $11,994
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
32
Lehigh University
Lehigh

Image Source
Lehigh University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $44,890 per year, and 62.8 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Lehigh is comprised of four colleges and offers numerous areas of concentration to its 4,931 undergraduate students. Lehigh has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1, and 48.3 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Only 30.8 percent of applicants are accepted into Lehigh, 94 percent of whom returned for their second year and 73 percent of whom graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Lehigh University is $60,400.

Academic reputation score: 63
Average financial aid: $28,274
Average net price: $27,153
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
31
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech

Image Source
Georgia Institute of Technology was founded in 1885 and sits upon 400 acres in Atlanta, GA. It is home to 14,558 students, who can choose among the school’s six colleges, including the highly ranked graduate schools which include the College of Engineering and Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business. Georgia Tech only accepts 41.1 percent of its applicants, 95 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Out-of-state tuition and fees at Georgia Tech total $30,698 per year and on average graduates make $61,700 a year their first year out of school.

Academic reputation score: 66
Average financial aid: $9,740
Average net price: $11,864
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
30
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon

Image Source
Known for its programs in science and technology, Carnegie Mellon University has seven schools and colleges including College of Fine Arts and College of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in Pittsburgh in 1900, it is now home to 6,306 students. Carnegie Mellon has a student/faculty ratio of 13:1, 67.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 95.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Carnegie Mellon University total $48,786 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $62,300.

Academic reputation score: 75
Average financial aid: $24,246
Average net price: $35,464
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
29
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
University of Michigan

Image Source
On 3,245 acres on Ann Arbor, MI lies the University of Michigan. UM’s 28,283 undergraduate students can choose among over 900 student clubs and associations. The most popular areas of study at the university are Experimental Psychology, Economics, Business Administration, Political Science, and English Language and Literature. Michigan’s student/faculty ratio is 15:1 and 47.1 percent of its classes having less than 20 students. The four-year graduation rate is 76 percent and 33.3 percent of applicants are admitted into the university. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at University of Michigan total $41,811 per year and 80.3 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 72
Average financial aid: $13,575
Average net price: $15,939
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
28
University of Southern California
USC

Image Source
University of Southern California is made up of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and 17 graduate and professional schools. There are more graduate than undergraduate students at USC. Located in Los Angeles’s Downtown Arts and Education Corridor, USC is home to 18,445 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 9:1, class sizes are quite small, with 57.1 percent having less than 20 students, and USC has a 96.8 percent freshman retention. The university only accepts 19.8 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $48,280 per year.

Academic reputation score: 75
Average financial aid: $29,928
Average net price: $29,889
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
27
Case Western Reserve University
Case

Image Source
Case Western Reserve University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $43,158 per year, and 74.9 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Case Western students are able to co-op at Fortune 500 firms, intern in highly rated medical facilities, and perform with renowned artists and musicians. Case Western has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1, and 62.7 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 4,661 students, 92.8 percent returned for their second year and 65 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Case Western University is $58,000.

Academic reputation score: 64
Average financial aid: $30,734
Average net price: $25,116
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
26
Boston College
BC

Image Source
Boston College was founded in 1863 and sits upon 338 acres in Chestnut Hill, MA, just outside of downtown Boston. It is home to 9,049 students, who enjoy small classes (51.4 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 13:1. Boston College only accepts 32.2 percent of its applicants, 95.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Boston College total $47,436 per year, and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 69
Average financial aid: $33,072
Average net price: $25,564
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
25
Tufts University
Tufts University

Image Source
Tufts University pushes students towards interdisciplinary thought. Located on 150 acres in the city of Medford, MA, it is home to 5,180 students who can choose between the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Tufts boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 9:1, 67.5 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 96.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Tufts University total $48,643 per year and the average starting pay for graduates is $51,900.

Academic reputation score: 73
Average financial aid: $31,658
Average net price: $27,096
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
24
University of California Los Angeles
UCLA

Image Source
UCLA is one of the two flagship universities of the University of California system (along with Cal Berkeley) and has the largest student population of any school in the state of California (28,674 undergraduate students). UCLA has more than 800 student organizations, including around 60 Greek chapters. The acceptance rate at UCLA is 20.4 percent, 96.5 of whom return after their freshman year. Classes sizes are fairly small for a state university (50.3 percent have fewer than 20 students and the student/faculty ratio is 17:1) and 69 percent of students graduate in four years. The total out-of-state cost for tuition and fees is $35,580 and the average starting pay for graduates of UCLA is $50,300.

Academic reputation score: 76
Average financial aid: $17,703
Average net price: $13,686
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
23
Emory University
Emory

Image Source
Located on 630 acres in the Atlanta suburb of Druid Hills, Emory University is home to 7,836 students. Emory is comprised of 9 colleges and schools, and The most popular areas of study at the university are Business Administration, Biology/Biological Sciences, Economics, Psychology, and Nursing. With a student/faculty ratio of 8:1 and with 58.6 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at Emory enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Emory University total $45,008 per year and 92 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 77
Average financial aid: $30,768
Average net price: $27,412
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
22
University of Virginia
University of Virginia

Image Source
The University of Virginia offers both the intellectual resources of a major research university and the intimacy and community of a liberal arts college. Located in Charlottesville, VA, Virginia is home to 16,087 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 16:1, 55.4 percent of classes have less than 20 students, and the freshman retention rate is 96.8 percent. Only 30.8 percent of applicants to UVA are admitted, and its out-of-state tuition and fees total $42,184 per year.

Academic reputation score: 76
Average financial aid: $18,236
Average net price: $13,463
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
21
Georgetown University
Georgetown

Image Source
Georgetown University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $46,744 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic University. Georgetown has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1, and 60.2 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 7,636 students, 96 percent returned for their second year and 88 percent graduated within four years. The average starting salary for students from Georgetown University is $51,000.

Academic reputation score: 77
Average financial aid: $34,086
Average net price: $25,814
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
20
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Image Source
Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853 and sits upon 169 acres in St. Louis, MO. It is home to 7,336 students, who enjoy small classes (65.2 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 8:1. Washington University only accepts 15.6 percent of its applicants, 96.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Washington University total $46,467 per year, and 98.9 percent of students had their financial needs met in full. The average salary for graduates of Washington University in St. Louis is $55,000.

Academic reputation score: 86
Average financial aid: $29,638
Average net price: $32,956
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
19
University of California Berkeley
UC Berkeley

Image Source
Overlooking San Francisco bay, University of California at Berkeley is home to 25,951 students. Cal has a long reputation of student activism and is recognized for its support of free speech. Cal has a student/faculty ratio of 17:1 and with 60 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at Cal enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for out-of-state tuition and fees at Cal Berkeley total $25,064 per year and 96.4 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 79
Average financial aid: $16,619
Average net price: $16,614
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
18
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago

Image Source
Located on 215 acres in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the University of Chicago is home to 5,659 students, who are drawn from all across the nation. The most popular areas of study at the university are Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Mathematics, English Language and Literature, and Public Administration. With a student/faculty ratio of 6:1 and with 75.8 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at University of Chicago enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at University of Chicago total $48,253 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 95
Average financial aid: $30,490
Average net price: $31,935
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
17
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame University

Image Source
University of Notre Dame is the nation’s premiere research university rooted in the Catholic faith. Located in South Bend, IN, Notre Dame is home to 8,477 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 10:1, class sizes are quite small, with 60.3 percent having less than 20 students, and Notre Dame has a 97.8 percent freshman retention rate. The university only accepts 22.3 percent of its applicants and its tuition and fees total $46,237 per year.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $31,717
Average net price: $26,088
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
16
Northwestern University
Northwestern

Image Source
Northwestern University is comprised of a dozen schools, nine of which house undergraduate students. Located in Evanston, IL, the total undergraduate enrollment is 8,688 students. At Northwestern it is easy to get involved in one of the school’s many student organizations. Eighty-six percent of students graduate in four years, 96.8 percent of freshman return for their second year, and only 14 percent of applicants are admitted to Northwestern. The average starting salary is for graduates is $54,200.

Academic reputation score: 88
Average financial aid: $32,094
Average net price: $28,601
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
15
Cornell University
Cornell

Image Source
Cornell University was founded in 1865, sits upon 745 acres in Ithaca, NY. Cornell houses 14 colleges and schools that each admit their own students. It is home to 14,393 students who enjoy very small classes (55.6 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a low student/faculty ratio of 9:1. Cornell only accepts 15.6 percent of its applicants, 96.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Cornell total $47,286 per year, and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 85
Average financial aid: $33,923
Average net price: $25,652
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
14
Brown University
Brown University

Image Source
Brown University places strong emphasis upon intellectual exploration and risk taking, as students are the architects of their own course of study. Brown is located on 146 acres in Providence, RI and is home to 6,455 students. Brown boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 8:1, 69.1 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 97.5 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Tuition and fees at Brown total $47,434 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $55,100.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $35,771
Average net price: $22,369
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
13
Rice University
Rice University

Image Source
Rice is located on 285 acres in the center of Houston’s museum district. Rice is home to 3,965 students, who choose from 8 different college and schools. The most popular areas of study at the university are Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Psychology, Economics, and Electrical and Electronics Engineering. With a student/faculty ratio of 6:1 and with 67.6 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Rice enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Rice University total $40,566 per year and 99.9 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 82
Average financial aid: $33,815
Average net price: $18,427
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
12
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt

Image Source
Vanderbilt University is made up of 10 schools and colleges covering disciplines from the humanities to music to engineering. Located in Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt is home to 6,835 undergraduate students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 8:1, class sizes are quite small, with 64.9 percent having less than 20 students, and Vanderbilt has a 96.5 percent freshman retention rate. The university only accepts 12.7 percent of its applicants, making it one of the more selective universities in the nation. Vanderbilt’s tuition and fees total $43,838 per year, and 99.8 percent of its students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 84
Average financial aid: $39,339
Average net price: $20,551
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
11
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University

Image Source
Johns Hopkins University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $47,060 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Johns Hopkins University is divided into nine schools across four campuses within the city of Baltimore. The Homewood Campus houses most of the undergraduate students. Johns Hopkins has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1, and 71.5 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 6,251 students, 96.8 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Johns Hopkins University is $58,700.

Academic reputation score: 89
Average financial aid: $37,652
Average net price: $21,308
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
10
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College

Image Source
Dartmouth College has a total cost for tuition and fees of $48,108 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Nearly 60 percent of Dartmouth students are involved in the Greek system, and the college offers many student organizations, including The Outing Club—the oldest and largest collegiate outing club in the country. Dartmouth has a student/faculty ratio of 8:1, and 61.8 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Of its 4,276 students, 97.8 percent returned for their second year. The average starting salary for students from Dartmouth College is $55,500.

Academic reputation score: 90
Average financial aid: $40,498
Average net price: $20,900
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
9
University of Pennsylvania
Penn

Image Source
The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and now offers a compelling mixture of world-class liberal arts coursework and pre-professional education. Located on 302 acres in downtown Philadelphia, Penn is home to 9,712 students. The student/faculty ratio is a small 6:1, class sizes are quite small, with 68.3 percent having less than 20 students, and Penn has a 97.8 percent freshman retention. The university only accepts 12.2 percent of its applicants and tuition and fees total $47,668 per year.

Academic reputation score: 92
Average financial aid: $37,606
Average net price: $21,994
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
8
Duke University
Duke

Image Source
Located on 8,709 acres in Durham, NC, Duke University is comprised of 10 schools and colleges. Duke accepts 12.4 percent of its applicants, and its 6,646 students are drawn from all across the nation. With a student/faculty ratio of 7:1 and with 71.1 percent of its class having less than 20 students, students at Duke enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at Duke University total $47,488 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 92
Average financial aid: $40,412
Average net price: $19,116
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
7
Princeton University
Princeton University

Image Source
Ranked as the number one nation university by US News and World Report, Princeton University is home to 5,323 students. Located in the picturesque town of Princeton, NJ, the university boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 6:1, with 70.9 percent of its classes having fewer than twenty students, and 98.3 percent of freshmen returning for their second year. Tuition and fees at Princeton University total $41,820 per year, and the average starting pay for graduates is $60,000.

Academic reputation score: 100
Average financial aid: $34,199
Average net price: $21,231
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
6
California Institute of Technology
Caltech

Image Source
California Institute of Technology was founded in 1891 on 124 acres in Pasadena, CA, 11 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. It is home to only 977 students, who enjoy very small classes (62.7 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a very low student/faculty ratio of 3:1. Cal Tech only accepts 10.6 percent of its applicants, 97.3 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Cal Tech total $43,362 per year, and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full and the average graduate pay is $74,800 a year.

Academic reputation score: 91
Average financial aid: $32,074
Average net price: $24,308
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

 

5
Columbia University
Columbia

Image Source
Columbia University has a total cost for tuition and fees of $51,008 per year, but 100 percent of its students had their financial needs fully met. Columbia is home to 6,084 students who enter into one of the university’s three undergraduate colleges: Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the School of General Studies. Columbia has a student/faculty ratio of 6:1, and 81.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students. Ninety-nine percent of students returned for their second year and 88 percent graduate in fours years. The average starting salary for students is $59,200.

Academic reputation score: 95
Average financial aid: $40,800
Average net price: $20,740
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
4
Stanford University
Stanford University

Image Source
Stanford University is the elite research university of the western United States. Located in Palo Alto, California, Stanford is home to 7,061 students who are able to learn in one of the nation’s most dynamic entrepreneurial environments. The student/faculty ratio is a very small 5:1, class sizes are quite small, with 68.8 percent having less than 20 students, and Stanford has a 98.3 percent freshman retention. The university only accepts 5.7 percent of its applicants and tuition and fees total $44,757 per year.

Academic reputation score: 95
Average financial aid: $39,299
Average net price: $19,109
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
3
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT

Image Source
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the world’s leading institution for education and research in the theoretical and applied sciences. MIT admits 8.2 percent of its applicants, 97.5 percent of whom return for their sophomore year, and 84 percent of whom graduate in four years. The most popular areas of study at the institute are Engineering, Computer Science, Physical Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Mathematics. With a student/faculty ratio of 8:1 and with 68.9 percent of its classes having less than 20 students, students at MIT enjoy a very personalized academic environment. The cost for tuition and fees at MIT total $45,016 per year and 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

 

Academic reputation score: 93
Average financial aid: $36,284
Average net price: $20,726
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
2
Harvard University
Harvard

Image Source
One of the oldest schools in the country, Harvard University is home to 6,722 students. Harvard’s extensive library system houses the oldest collection in the United States and the largest private collection in the world. Harvard boasts an intimate student/faculty ratio of 7:1, 75.6 percent of its classes have fewer than twenty students, and 97.3 percent of freshmen return for their second year. Only the best of the best are accepted into Harvard University, as it has a most selective admission rate of 5.8 percent, 86 percent of whom graduate in four years. The average starting salary for students is $57,700.

Academic reputation score: 99
Average financial aid: $41,505
Average net price: $16,445
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website
1
Yale University
Yale University

Image Source
Yale University was founded in 1701 along 342 acres in New Haven, CT. It is home to 5,430 students. Yale’s curriculum encourages students to study both widely and in depth across several disciplines. In addition to probing a major field in depth, students are expected to explore the humanities and arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students at Yale enjoy very small classes (76.8 percent have fewer than 20 students) and a very low student/faculty ratio of 6:1. Yale only accepts a very elite 6.9 percent of its applicants, 99 percent of whom return for their sophomore year. Tuition and fees at Yale University total $45,800, but 100 percent of students had their financial needs met in full.

Academic reputation score: 98
Average financial aid: $42,792
Average net price: $16,528
Average starting salary: PayScale.com
Admissions website

Degree Finder

1
2
3