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2021 Best Bachelor's Degree Schools

983 Schools Ranked
$54,817 Avg Tuition & Fees*
$24,033 Avg Student Debt

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. Along with traditional schools that require in-person attendence, you can attend one of many reputable online schools. Some programs even offer a hybrid experience. Also, there are a number of trade schools and bootcamp with offerings that you might find attractive.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best Bachelor's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 983 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best bachelor's degree programs for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Bachelor's Degree Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire
$57,204 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,052 Avg Student Debt

Our analysis found Dartmouth College to be the best school for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the United States.

The average tuition and fees at Dartmouth is $57,204. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Dartmouth accumulate an average of $14,052 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

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#2

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts
$53,790 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,778 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree.

If you want to attend MIT, expect to pay an average of $53,790 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $13,778 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Full Massachusetts Institute of Technology Report

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#3

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts
$51,925 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,063 Avg Student Debt

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Harvard University. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $51,925 to cover tuition and fees at Harvard. The school does not offer an in-state discount. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Harvard accumulate an average of $13,063 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Harvard does offer online classes for certain degree levels. In fact, around 15% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#4

Stanford University

Stanford, California
$53,529 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,607 Avg Student Debt

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Stanford University. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $53,529 to cover tuition and fees at Stanford. The school does not offer an in-state discount. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $13,607 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Full Stanford University Report

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#5

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina
$57,931 Average Tuition & Fees
$11,556 Avg Student Debt

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Duke University helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the United States.

If you want to attend Duke, expect to pay an average of $57,931 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Duke accumulate an average of $11,556 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

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#6

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana
$55,553 Average Tuition & Fees
$17,788 Avg Student Debt

University of Notre Dame came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $55,553 to cover tuition and fees at Notre Dame. The school does not offer an in-state discount. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Notre Dame accumulate an average of $17,788 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Some students may be able to take online classes at Notre Dame. In fact, around 0% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#7

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island
$58,404 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,183 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #7, Brown University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working on their bachelor’s degree.

Brown does not offer a discount to in-state students, so the average tuition and fees for all undergraduates is $58,404. This amount may be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $14,183 in loans while pursuing their degree.

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#8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
$57,770 Average Tuition & Fees
$18,161 Avg Student Debt

University of Pennsylvania ranked #8 on this year’s Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

The average tuition and fees at UPenn is $57,770. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from UPenn accumulate an average of $18,161 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

One thing to take note of is that UPenn does offer online classes in some areas. Of all the undergraduates enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 1% took at least some of their classes online.

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#9

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut
$55,500 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,791 Avg Student Debt

Yale University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

If you want to attend Yale, expect to pay an average of $55,500 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $13,791 in student loans.

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#10

Williams College

Williamstown, Massachusetts
$57,280 Average Tuition & Fees
$12,462 Avg Student Debt

Williams College came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $57,280 to cover tuition and fees at Williams. The school does not offer an in-state discount. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Williams accumulate an average of $12,462 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Full Williams College Report

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#11

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York
$57,222 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,345 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #11, Cornell University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working on their bachelor’s degree.

Cornell does not offer a discount to in-state students, so the average tuition and fees for all undergraduates is $57,222. This amount may be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $13,345 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Some students may be able to take online classes at Cornell. Of all the undergraduates enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 1% took at least some of their classes online.

Full Cornell University Report

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#12

Rice University

Houston, Texas
$49,112 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,017 Avg Student Debt

Rice University came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

The average tuition and fees at Rice is $49,112. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $13,017 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Rice does have options available for those who want to take online classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. During the 2017-2018 year, about 2% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#13

Excelsior College

Albany, New York
$14,294 Avg Student Debt

Excelsior College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $14,294 in student loans.

Excelsior College is one of the schools on our list that is primarily online. Each undergraduate student at the school took at least one class online.

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#14

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York
$58,045 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,841 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #14, Colgate University did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working on their bachelor’s degree.

The average tuition and fees at Colgate is $58,045. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $14,841 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Read full report on Colgate University

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#15

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
$56,691 Average Tuition & Fees
$15,578 Avg Student Debt

Northwestern University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students to get a bachelor’s degree. It came in at #15 on the list.

If you want to attend Northwestern U, expect to pay an average of $56,691 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $15,578 in student loans.

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#16

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, Massachusetts
$54,740 Average Tuition & Fees
$23,114 Avg Student Debt

College of the Holy Cross came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $54,740 to cover tuition and fees at Holy Cross. The school does not offer an in-state discount. By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $23,114 in student loans.

Full College of the Holy Cross Report

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#17

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
$59,298 Average Tuition & Fees
$17,083 Avg Student Debt

University of Chicago landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree programs.

The average tuition and fees at UChicago is $59,298. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $17,083 in student loans.

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#18

Bentley University

Waltham, Massachusetts
$51,830 Average Tuition & Fees
$22,662 Avg Student Debt

Bentley University came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $51,830 to cover tuition and fees at Bentley. The school does not offer an in-state discount. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Bentley accumulate an average of $22,662 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Online courses are available at Bentley, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. Of all the undergraduates enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 1% took at least some of their classes online.

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#19

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
$57,910 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,960 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #19, Boston College did quite well on this year’s best schools for students working on their bachelor’s degree.

The average tuition and fees at Boston College is $57,910. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Boston College accumulate an average of $14,960 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

One thing to take note of is that Boston College does offer online classes in some areas. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 2% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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#20

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia
$56,058 Average Tuition & Fees
$15,193 Avg Student Debt

Georgetown University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

If you want to attend Georgetown, expect to pay an average of $56,058 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. Bachelor’s Degree recipients from Georgetown accumulate an average of $15,193 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

One thing to take note of is that Georgetown does offer online classes in some areas. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 1% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

Read full report on Georgetown University

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#21

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
$55,240 Average Tuition & Fees
$21,151 Avg Student Debt

Lehigh University came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

The average tuition and fees at Lehigh is $55,240. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $21,151 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Online courses are available at Lehigh, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 0% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

Full Lehigh University Report

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#22

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, California
$35,180 Average Tuition & Fees
$20,690 Avg Student Debt

Loma Linda University ranked #22 on this year’s Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools list.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $35,180 to cover tuition and fees at Loma Linda University. The school does not offer an in-state discount. By the time they get their bachelor’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $20,690 in student loans.

Online courses are available at Loma Linda University, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. During the 2017-2018 year, about 35% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#23

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
$57,119 Average Tuition & Fees
$22,190 Avg Student Debt

Carnegie Mellon University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools ranking.

The average tuition and fees at Carnegie Mellon is $57,119. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $22,190 in loans while pursuing their degree.

You may have the opportunity to take online classes at Carnegie Mellon. In fact, around 7% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#24

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee
$52,070 Average Tuition & Fees
$16,192 Avg Student Debt

Vanderbilt University landed the #24 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best bachelor’s degree programs.

If you want to attend Vanderbilt, expect to pay an average of $52,070 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $16,192 in loans while pursuing their degree.

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#25

Middlebury College

Middlebury, Vermont
$56,216 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,699 Avg Student Debt

Middlebury College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for students to get a bachelor’s degree. It came in at #25 on the list.

The average tuition and fees at Middlebury is $56,216. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, bachelor’s degree students take out $14,699 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Full Middlebury College Report

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Bachelor's Degree Schools in the United States

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#27

Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts
#28

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia
#29

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
#31

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
#32

Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri
#33

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania
#34

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland
#35

Lafayette College

Easton, Pennsylvania
#36

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, Massachusetts
#37

Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts
#39

Colorado State University - Global Campus

Greenwood Village, Colorado
#40

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California
#41

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
#42

DePauw University

Greencastle, Indiana
#43

Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts
#44

Union College New York

Schenectady, New York
#45

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, California
#46

Valley City State University

Valley City, North Dakota
#47

University of New Hampshire at Manchester

Manchester, New Hampshire
#48

Stonehill College

Easton, Massachusetts
#49

Providence College

Providence, Rhode Island
#50

Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut

Rest of the Top 15% Best Bachelor's Degree Schools in the United States

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank School Location
51 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
52 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
53 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
54 Bryant University Smithfield, RI
55 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
56 Northeastern University Boston, MA
57 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
58 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
59 Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC
60 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
61 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
62 University of Delaware Newark, DE
63 Emory University Atlanta, GA
64 Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston, MA
65 Lebanon Valley College Annville, PA
66 Elon University Elon, NC
67 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
68 Boston University Boston, MA
69 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
70 American Public University System Charles Town, WV
71 George Washington University Washington, DC
71 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
73 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
74 Drake University Des Moines, IA
75 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
76 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
77 Columbia Southern University Orange Beach, AL
78 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA
79 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
80 Assumption University Worcester, MA
81 Endicott College Beverly, MA
82 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
83 Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, PA
84 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
85 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
86 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI
87 University of Minnesota - Crookston Crookston, MN
88 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
89 Pennsylvania State University - World Campus University Park, PA
90 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
91 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
92 Clarkson University Potsdam, NY
93 North Central University Minneapolis, MN
94 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
95 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
96 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
97 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
98 Iowa State University Ames, IA
99 New York University New York, NY
100 Simpson College Indianola, IA
101 Trinity University San Antonio, TX
102 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
103 Martin Luther College New Ulm, MN
104 Anna Maria College Paxton, MA
105 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
106 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
107 Carleton College Northfield, MN
108 Emmanuel College Massachusetts Boston, MA
109 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
110 Emerson College Boston, MA
111 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
112 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, MO
113 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
114 Connecticut College New London, CT
115 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
116 Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls, OR
117 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
118 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
119 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
120 University of the Pacific Stockton, CA
121 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
122 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
123 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
124 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
125 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
126 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI
127 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
128 Northwood University Midland, MI
129 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI
130 Dickinson College Carlisle, PA
131 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
132 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN
133 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
134 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
135 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
136 University of St Thomas Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
137 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
138 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
139 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
140 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
141 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA
142 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
143 Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network Boston, MA
144 Concordia College at Moorhead Moorhead, MN
145 Furman University Greenville, SC
146 University of Wisconsin - River Falls River Falls, WI
147 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
148 Augustana University Sioux Falls, SD

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our best schools ranking:

Rank School Location
149 Winona State University Winona, MN
150 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
151 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
152 Rutgers University - Newark Newark, NJ
153 University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD
154 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
155 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
156 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
157 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
158 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
159 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
160 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
161 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX
162 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
163 Creighton University Omaha, NE
164 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
165 Southwestern College Winfield, KS
166 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
167 University of Georgia Athens, GA
168 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
169 Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global Marion, IN
170 Denison University Granville, OH
171 National University La Jolla, CA
172 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO
173 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
174 American University Washington, DC
175 Central College Pella, IA
176 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
177 Washington State University Pullman, WA
178 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
179 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
180 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI
181 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
182 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
183 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
184 Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI
185 Illinois State University Normal, IL
186 Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY
187 University of Washington - Tacoma Campus Tacoma, WA
188 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
189 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
190 Minot State University Minot, ND
191 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
192 Westfield State University Westfield, MA
193 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA
194 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
195 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
196 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
197 Clemson University Clemson, SC

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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