Two key numbers that applicants should consider are a school's freshman retention rate and its graduation rate. The average freshman retention rate tells you the average proportion of the freshmen who started in 2004 through 2007 who returned the following fall. The graduation rates show the proportion starting college in 2002who earned a degree in four years and in five years. We also show the average proportion of graduates who earned a degree in six years or less for classes starting in 1999 through 2002. You can see which degrees or certificates (and how many) were awarded between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. And you can see the proportion of students who pursue further study immediately upon graduation, within one year, and within five years. In addition, there is a breakdown of the proportion of graduates who pursue further study in business, law, medicine, dentistry, engineering, theology (or the seminary), education, arts and sciences, and veterinary medicine.
Academics Degrees offered are noted, and you can see lists of both the five most popular majors among 2008 graduates (with the percentage of students who majored in them) and all majors offered that lead to a degree. Majors are arranged by category and listed alphabetically within categories. The availability of other types of academic programs, including preprofessional, teaching certification and cooperative education programs, ROTC, learning communities, and study abroad, are also noted. If specific courses are required for graduation, they'll appear here.
Tuition and Financial Aid One statistic you will surely want to know is the sticker price: tuition, room, board, and required fees. We give figures for the 2009-2010 academic year. For public schools, we list both in-state and out-of-state tuition. If data for the 2009-2010 academic year are not available, we show figures for 2008-2009 or, in some cases, the school's estimate for 2009-2010.We also provide estimates of the cost of books and supplies, transportation, and personal needs.
Anyone planning to apply for financial aid for the fall of 2010 will find a rundown of the necessary forms and deadlines. Which types of need-based scholarships and grants are available to students? What are the criteria used in awarding institutional need-based aid? What criteria are used in awarding institutional non-need-based aid? What loan programs are available? What tuition payment plans are open to undergraduates?
The data on financial aid packages given out to undergraduates during the 2008-2009 school year include the percentage of undergraduates who applied for aid, the percentage determined by the school to have financial need, and what percentage had their need fully met by an aid package that excluded parent or other private loans. In addition, we give the average financial aid package (including grants, loans, and jobs) and the proportion of students receiving a package, the average amount of gift aid (scholarships or grants) and the proportion receiving such aid, the average amount of self-help aid (work study or loans) and the proportion receiving such aid, and the average need-based student loan. Among students who received need-based aid, what percentage of their need was met, on average? We also include information on merit awards and the average debt burden of 2008 graduates with debt.
Rank A school's rank indicates where it sits among its peers in the 2010 ranking of colleges and universities published by U.S. News in its annual guide, "America's Best Colleges." You'll see a description that indicates which category of institution the school falls into, followed by its rank within the group. The categories: National University, Liberal Arts College, University-Master's, and Baccalaureate College. The master's and baccalaureate schools further subdivide by location: North, South, West, and Midwest. Colleges and universities at the top half of their categories are ranked numerically. Others are placed in either the third or fourth tier. You cannot compare the ranks of institutions in different categories because schools are compared only with their peers. Schools that specialize in business, engineering, and art, as well as international schools, are labeled as such but are not ranked. In addition, schools with fewer than 200 students; schools with a high percentage of older, part-time students; those institutions that have indicated that they don't use the SAT or ACT in admissions decisions for first-time, first-year, degree-seeking applicants; and some schools that did not receive enough responses on the peer assessment survey to allow us to use their peer score as part of the overall ranking are not ranked.