Harvard University

How can you tell which college is right for you? How do you know you’re getting the best value for your tuition money? Using data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics and Wintergreen Orchard House from the 2014-15 school year, StartClass — an education site part of the Graphiq network — has ranked the 100 best American universities.

Colleges are sorted according to their StartClass Rank, which is comprised of the following factors:

  • Academic Excellence (30 percent): This includes the institution’s four-year graduation rate, full-time retention rate, student-faculty ratio and endowment per student, among other things.
  • Expert Opinion (20 percent): StartClass compiled the latest college rankings from several publications, such as Forbes and U.S. News.
  • Admissions Selectivity (18.6 percent): This takes into account the college’s acceptance rate, average ACT and SAT scores as well as the percent of freshmen in the top half of their high school graduating class.
  • Career Readiness (18.6 percent): This is largely determined by the post-graduation salaries of the school’s alumni.
  • Financial Affordability (12.9 percent): Determined by the university’s average net price, financial aid and other factors.

It’s important to keep in mind that these data points don’t measure all the many factors that can impact a person’s college experience. Our list aims to show which universities provide the most academic value, and ranks schools based on the quality of their statistical makeup. For students evaluating their collegiate options, this should serve as a helpful starting point.

#100. Smith College

Smith College

Location: Northampton, MA

In-state tuition: $44,724
Out-of-state tuition: $44,724

Acceptance rate: 42.2 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,563

Smith College is a private women’s liberal arts college founded in 1871. It is named after its founder, Sophia Smith, who, at age 65, used her inheritance money to create an institution of higher education for women.

#99. DePauw University

DePauw University

Location: Greencastle, IN

In-state tuition: $42,746
Out-of-state tuition: $42,746

Acceptance rate: 56.6 percent
Average SAT score: 1770
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,215

DePauw University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1837. It has Methodist heritage and was originally known as Indiana Asbury University.

#98. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University

Location: Malibu, CA

In-state tuition: $46,692
Out-of-state tuition: $46,692

Acceptance rate: 35.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1835
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,451

Pepperdine University is a private research university founded in 1937. The school has an average ACT score of 27.

#97. University of Georgia

University of Georgia

Location: Athens, GA

In-state tuition: $10,836
Out-of-state tuition: $29,046

Acceptance rate: 55.7 percent
Average SAT score: 1850
Undergraduate enrollment: 26,882

The University of Georgia is a public research university founded in 1785, making it the first state-chartered college in Georgia.

#96. Union College

Union College

Location: Schenectady, NY

In-state tuition: $48,384
Out-of-state tuition: $48,384

Acceptance rate: 41.1 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,242

Union College is a private liberal arts university founded in 1795. Three well-known fraternities — Kappa Alpha Society, Sigma Phi and Delta Phi — were founded at Union College, earning the school the nickname “The Mother of Fraternities.”

#95. George Washington University

George Washington University

Location: Washington, D.C.

In-state tuition: $48,760
Out-of-state tuition: $48,760

Acceptance rate: 43.8 percent
Average SAT score: 1950
Undergraduate enrollment: 10,740

George Washington University is a private research university founded in 1821. Before 1904, it was called the Columbian College in the District of Columbia.

#94. Brigham Young University-Provo

Brigham Young University-Provo

Location: Provo, UT

In-state tuition: $5,000*
Out-of-state tuition: $5,000

Acceptance rate: 47 percent
Average SAT score: 1890
Undergraduate enrollment: 27,163

Brigham Young University is a private research university that is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The school was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, the former president of the LDS Church.

*Note: BYU charges different tuition fees for LDS and non-LDS students. The tuition listed here represents the price for LDS students for the 2014-15 school year.

#93. University of Rochester

University of Rochester

Location: Rochester, NY

In-state tuition: $46,960
Out-of-state tuition: $46,960

Acceptance rate: 36.4 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,266

The University of Rochester is a private research university founded in 1850. The college is well known for its Eastman School of Music, which was founded in 1921 and is considered among the best music schools in the world.

#92. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Location: Needham, MA

In-state tuition: $46,681
Out-of-state tuition: $46,681

Acceptance rate: 12 percent
Average SAT score: 2202
Undergraduate enrollment: 350

The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is a private engineering college founded in 1997. Its namesake was an engineer, entrepreneur and professional baseball player who founded the Olin Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company.

#91. Boston University

Boston University

Location: Boston, MA

In-state tuition: $46,664
Out-of-state tuition: $46,664

Acceptance rate: 34.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1945
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,017

Boston University is a private research university founded in 1839. It has historically been affiliated with the United Methodist Church but is now nonsectarian.

#90. Skidmore College

Skidmore College

Location: Saratoga Springs, NY

In-state tuition: $47,464
Out-of-state tuition: $47,464

Acceptance rate: 37.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1861
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,632

Skidmore College is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1903. It was originally a women’s school but began admitting men to its regular undergraduate program in 1971.

#89. Babson College

Babson College

Location: Wellesley, MA

In-state tuition: $45,120
Out-of-state tuition: $45,120

Acceptance rate: 26.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1900
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,107

Babson College is a private business school that was founded in 1919. It was originally created as an all-male institute by Roger W. Babson, a successful entrepreneur and economist in the early 20th century.

#88. Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University

Location:Winston-Salem, NC

In-state tuition: $46,200
Out-of-state tuition: $46,200

Acceptance rate: 34.4 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,867

Wake Forest University is a private research university founded in 1834. It was originally called the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute but was renamed Wake Forest College in 1839.

#87. Soka University of America

Soka University of America

Location: Aliso Viejo, CA

In-state tuition: $30,214
Out-of-state tuition: $30,214

Acceptance rate: 43.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1820
Undergraduate enrollment: 411

Soka University of America is a private liberal arts school founded in 2001. It has an average ACT score of 26.

#86. University of Washington-Seattle

Wikipedia

Location: Seattle, WA

In-state tuition: $12,394
Out-of-state tuition: $33,513

Acceptance rate: 55.2 percent
Average SAT score: 1810
Undergraduate enrollment: 30,672

The University of Washington-Seattle is a public flagship research university founded in 1861. Its median post-graduation salary is $49,900.

#85. Centre College

Centre College

Location: Danville, KY

In-state tuition: $37,100
Out-of-state tuition: $37,100

Acceptance rate: 71.6 percent
Average SAT score: 1830
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,387

Centre College is a private liberal arts school that was founded in 1819 by Presbyterian leaders. It has a relatively low 10:1 student-faculty ratio.

#84. Rhodes College

Rhodes College

Location: Memphis, TN

In-state tuition: $41,572
Out-of-state tuition: $41,572

Acceptance rate: 60 percent
Average SAT score: 1935
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,031

Rhodes College is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1848. Its most popular majors include biology, political science and business administration.

#83. University of California-Davis

UC Davis

Location: Davis, CA

In-state tuition: $13,896
Out-of-state tuition: $36,774

Acceptance rate: 40.4 percent
Average SAT score: 1805
Undergraduate enrollment: 27,565

UC Davis is a public research university and one of 10 schools in the University of California system. Founded in 1908, it is the third-oldest of all the UC schools.

#82. University of Maryland-College Park

University of Maryland-College Park

Location: College Park, MD

In-state tuition: $9,427
Out-of-state tuition: $29,720

Acceptance rate: 47.9 percent
Average SAT score: 1972
Undergraduate enrollment: 27,056

The University of Maryland-College Park is a public research university founded in 1856. It is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland.

#81. University of California-Irvine

UC Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA

In-state tuition: $13,179
Out-of-state tuition: $36,057

Acceptance rate: 37.4 percent
Average SAT score: 1725
Undergraduate enrollment: 24,489

UC Irvine is a public research university founded in 1965. The school has a median post-graduation salary of $48,000.

#80. St. Olaf College

St. Olaf College

Location: Northfield, MN

In-state tuition: $41,700
Out-of-state tuition: $41,700

Acceptance rate: 51.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1890
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,034

St. Olaf College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1874. It is named after the Patron Saint Olaf II of Norway and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

#79. Occidental College

Occidental College

Location: Los Angeles, CA

In-state tuition: $47,522
Out-of-state tuition: $47,522

Acceptance rate: 42 percent
Average SAT score: 1955
Undergraduate enrollment: 2040

Occidental College is a private liberal arts college established in 1887. It was founded by members of the Presbyterian Church and has an average ACT score of 29.

#78. University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, TX

In-state tuition: $9,830
Out-of-state tuition: $34,836

Acceptance rate: 39.7 percent
Average SAT score: 1915
Undergraduate enrollment: 39,523

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university and flagship institution of the University of Texas System. It was founded in 1881 and has over 51,000 total students.

#77. Colorado College

Colorado College

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

In-state tuition: $46,410
Out-of-state tuition: $46,410

Acceptance rate: 17.9 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 2050

Colorado College is a private liberal arts school located near the base of the Rocky Mountains. It was founded in 1874 and now offers 33 majors.

#76. Whitman College

Whitman College

Location: Walla Walla, WA

In-state tuition: $44,800
Out-of-state tuition: $44,800

Acceptance rate: 41 percent
Average SAT score: 1970
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,498

Whitman College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1882. Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and its average ACT score is 30.

#75. University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, WI

In-state tuition: $10,410
Out-of-state tuition: $26,660

Acceptance rate: 56.9 percent
Average SAT score: 1925
Undergraduate enrollment: 30,694

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public research university and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It was founded in 1848, the same year Wisconsin achieved statehood.

#74. Scripps College

Scripps College

Location: Claremont, CA

In-state tuition: $47,378
Out-of-state tuition: $47,378

Acceptance rate: 28.4 percent
Average SAT score: 2040
Undergraduate enrollment: 972

Scripps College is a private liberal arts women’s college founded in 1926. It is a member of the Claremont Colleges, a liberal arts consortium that also includes undergraduate schools Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College and Pitzer College.

#73. College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

Location: Worcester, MA

In-state tuition: $45,692
Out-of-state tuition: $45,692

Acceptance rate: 43.3 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,787

The College of the Holy Cross is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1843. It has a six-year graduation rate of 93 percent.

#72. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Wikipedia

Location: New York, NY

In-state tuition: $41,400
Out-of-state tuition: $41,400

Acceptance rate: 15.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2035
Undergraduate enrollment: 893

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a private college located in the East Village of Manhattan. Until 2014, the school offered free tuition to all its students, but has recently abandoned its full-scholarship model for the time being.

#71. University of California-Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

In-state tuition: $13,865
Out-of-state tuition: $36,743

Acceptance rate: 36.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1850
Undergraduate enrollment: 20,238

UC Santa Barbara is a public research university founded in 1909. It has a student-faculty ratio of 17:1 and an average ACT score of 28.

#70. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, IL

In-state tuition: $15,020
Out-of-state tuition: $29,646

Acceptance rate: 59 percent
Average SAT score: 2030
Undergraduate enrollment: 32,959

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university founded in 1867. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system, which consists of three campuses.

#69. Oberlin College

Oberlin College

Location: Oberlin, OH

In-state tuition: $48,682
Out-of-state tuition: $48,682

Acceptance rate: 32.7 percent
Average SAT score: 2040
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,961

Oberlin College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1833. It is the first college in the U.S. to accept both men and women as students.

#68. Bates College

Bates College

Location: Lewiston, ME

In-state tuition: $47,030
Out-of-state tuition: $47,030

Acceptance rate: 25.4 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,773

Bates College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1855. Its most popular majors include psychology, economics and history.

#67. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location: Troy, NY

In-state tuition: $47,908
Out-of-state tuition: $47,908

Acceptance rate: 37.5 percent
Average SAT score: 2092
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,618

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university. Founded in 1824, it is the oldest technological university in any English-speaking country.

#66. Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College

Location: Bryn Mawr, PA

In-state tuition: $45,540
Out-of-state tuition: $45,540

Acceptance rate: 40.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1995
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,308

Bryn Mawr College is a private women’s liberal arts school founded in 1885. It is one of the Seven Sisters colleges, a loose association of seven historically women’s liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern U.S., including Barnard College, Mount Holyoke College, Radcliffe College, Smith College, Vassar College and Wellesley College.

#65. Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, CT

In-state tuition: $48,272
Out-of-state tuition: $48,272

Acceptance rate: 23.9 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,928

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1831. It is named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

#64. Bucknell University

Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, PA

In-state tuition: $48,498
Out-of-state tuition: $48,498

Acceptance rate: 30.7 percent
Average SAT score: 1960
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,565

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1846. It has an average ACT score of 30.

#63. University of Florida

University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

In-state tuition: $6,313
Out-of-state tuition: $28,591

Acceptance rate: 45.6 percent
Average SAT score: 1890
Undergraduate enrollment: 32,829

The University of Florida is a public research university founded in 1853. It has nearly 50,000 total students and a high student-faculty ratio of 21:1.

#62. Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University

Location: Cleveland, OH

In-state tuition: $43,158
Out-of-state tuition: $43,158

Acceptance rate: 38.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2030
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,911

Case Western Reserve University is a private school founded in 1826. It was originally located in Hudson, Ohio, then moved to Cleveland in 1882.

#61. Macalester College

Macalester College

Location: St. Paul, MN

In-state tuition: $47,195
Out-of-state tuition: $47,195

Acceptance rate: 36.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2047
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,073

Macalester College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1874. Its founder, Rev. Edward Duffield Neill, was a chaplain in the Civil War and established Macalester as a Presbyterian-affiliated but nonsectarian school.

#60. University of Richmond

University of Richmond

Location: Richmond, VA

In-state tuition: $46,680
Out-of-state tuition: $46,680

Acceptance rate: 31.8 percent
Average SAT score: 1976
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,346

The University of Richmond is a private liberal arts college founded in 1830. Its most popular majors include business administration, leadership studies and psychology.

#59. Lehigh University

Lehigh University

Location: Bethlehem, PA

In-state tuition: $44,890
Out-of-state tuition: $44,890

Acceptance rate: 34.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1980
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,062

Lehigh University is a private research university founded in 1865. It has an average ACT score of 30.

#58. University of California-San Diego

UC San Diego

Location: La Jolla, CA

In-state tuition: $13,427
Out-of-state tuition: $36,305

Acceptance rate: 33.3 percent
Average SAT score: 1955
Undergraduate enrollment: 24,810

UC San Diego is a public research university founded in 1960. It has a median post-graduation salary of $50,000.

#57. Kenyon College

Kenyon College

Location: Gambier, OH

In-state tuition: $47,330
Out-of-state tuition: $47,330

Acceptance rate: 25.1 percent
Average SAT score: 1995
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,662

Kenyon College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1824. It is the oldest private college in Ohio.

#56. Brandeis University

Brandeis University

Location: Waltham, MA

In-state tuition: $47,558
Out-of-state tuition: $47,558

Acceptance rate: 35.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2040
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,729

Brandeis University is a private research university founded in 1948. It was named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

#55. United States Air Force Academy

United States Air Force Academy

Location: Usafa, CO

In-state tuition: Not reported
Out-of-state tuition: Not reported

Acceptance rate: 16.6 percent
Average SAT score: 1950
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,952

The United States Air Force Academy is a military academy for officer cadets of the U.S. Air Force. It was founded in 1954 and is the youngest of the five U.S. service academies.

#54. Lafayette College

Lafayette College

Location: Easton, PA

In-state tuition: $46,385
Out-of-state tuition: $46,385

Acceptance rate: 29.7 percent
Average SAT score: 1935
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,503

Lafayette College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1826. The school is named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who fought for the U.S. in the American Revolutionary War.

#53. Emory University

Mpspqr/Wikipedia

Location: Atlanta, GA

In-state tuition: $45,008
Out-of-state tuition: $45,008

Acceptance rate: 26.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2060
Undergraduate enrollment: 7,829

Emory University is a private research university founded in 1836. The school has a very small student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average ACT score of 30.

#52. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

In-state tuition: $49,022
Out-of-state tuition: $49,022

Acceptance rate: 24.6 percent
Average SAT score: 2150
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,888

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university founded in 1900. It was established by renowned industrialist Andrew Carnegie as the Carnegie Technical Schools, and merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in 1967.

#51. Boston College

Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, MA

In-state tuition: $47,436
Out-of-state tuition: $47,436

Acceptance rate: 33.9 percent
Average SAT score: 2050
Undergraduate enrollment: 9,856

Boston College is a private Jesuit Catholic research university founded in 1863 and located just outside of downtown Boston. It began as a liberal arts college but expanded as it added graduate programs and professional schools.

#50. United States Naval Academy

United State Naval Academy

Location: Annapolis, MD

In-state tuition: Not reported
Out-of-state tuition: Not reported

Acceptance rate: 7.9 percent
Average SAT score: 1927
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,511

The United States Naval Academy is a four-year federal service academy founded in 1845. It is the second oldest of the U.S. service academies, and educates officers primarily into the Navy and Marine Corps.

#49. University of Southern California

USC

Location: Los Angeles, CA

In-state tuition: $48,280
Out-of-state tuition: $48,280

Acceptance rate: 18 percent
Average SAT score: 2070
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,739

The University of Southern California is a private research university founded in 1880. The school was established by a group led by Judge Robert Maclay Widney, using land donated by prominent members of the community.

#48. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, GA

In-state tuition: $11,394
Out-of-state tuition: $30,698

Acceptance rate: 33.4 percent
Average SAT score: 2080
Undergraduate enrollment: 14,682

The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university founded in 1885. Its average ACT score is 31, and it offers 54 different undergraduate degrees.

#47. Barnard College

Barnard College

Location: New York, NY

In-state tuition: $46,040
Out-of-state tuition: $46,040

Acceptance rate: 23.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2035
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,573

Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts school founded in 1889. It was the first college in New York City that admitted women as students.

#46. United States Military Academy

United State Military Academy

Location: West Point, NY

In-state tuition: Not reported
Out-of-state tuition: Not reported

Acceptance rate: 9.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1880
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,414

The United States Military Academy is a federal service academy founded in 1802, making it the oldest service academy in the country. It is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

#45. Colby College

Colby College

Location: Waterville, ME

In-state tuition: $47,350
Out-of-state tuition: $47,350

Acceptance rate: 28 percent
Average SAT score: 2000
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,847

Colby College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1813. It began as an all-male school but admitted women in 1871, becoming the first all-male New England college to do so. In 1983, Colby became the first college to issue e-mail accounts to all students.

#44. Bowdoin College

Gwynfisher/Wikipedia

Location: Brunswick, ME

In-state tuition: $46,808
Out-of-state tuition: $46,808

Acceptance rate: 14.9 percent
Average SAT score: Not reported
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,805

Bowdoin College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1794. Its most popular majors include government, economics and mathematics.

#43. Colgate University

Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, NY

In-state tuition: $48,175
Out-of-state tuition: $48,175

Acceptance rate: 26.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2062
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,875

Colgate University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1819. It has a six-year graduation rate of 90 percent, and its median post-graduation salary is $51,500.

#42. Vassar College

Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY

In-state tuition: $49,570
Out-of-state tuition: $49,570

Acceptance rate: 23.5 percent
Average SAT score: 2110
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,421

Vassar College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1861. It was the first college to offer women courses in art history, physical education, geology, astronomy, music, mathematics and chemistry.

#41. Middlebury College

Middlebury College

Location: Middlebury, VT

In-state tuition: $46,044
Out-of-state tuition: $46,044

Acceptance rate: 17.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2065
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,526

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1800. In 1823, Alexander Twilight graduated from Middlebury, becoming the first African-American citizen to earn a baccalaureate degree at a U.S. college.

#40. University of Virginia

University of Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, VA

In-state tuition: $13,208
Out-of-state tuition: $42,394

Acceptance rate: 29 percent
Average SAT score: 2025
Undergraduate enrollment: 16,483

The University of Virginia is a public research university founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It has an average ACT score of 30 and a median post-graduation salary of $51,000.

#39. College of William & Mary

College of William and Mary

Location: Williamsburg, VA

In-state tuition: $17,656
Out-of-state tuition: $39,916

Acceptance rate: 33 percent
Average SAT score: 2040
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,299

The College of William & Mary is a public research university founded in 1693, making it the second-oldest university in the U.S. It was established by King William III and Queen Mary II and is the alma mater of U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler.

#38. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

In-state tuition: $8,336
Out-of-state tuition: $33,418

Acceptance rate: 28.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1965
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,350

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university founded in 1789, making it the first public institution of higher education in the state. The school offers 127 majors, and it has a student-faculty ratio of 13:1.

#37. Grinnell College

Grinnell College

Location: Grinnell, IA

In-state tuition: $8,336
Out-of-state tuition: $33,418

Acceptance rate: 28.5 percent
Average SAT score: 1965
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,350

Grinnell College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1846. It was originally located in Davenport, Iowa, under the name Iowa College.

#36. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

In-state tuition: $13,486
Out-of-state tuition: $41,906

Acceptance rate: 32.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2050
Undergraduate enrollment: 28,395

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a public research university founded in 1817, 20 years before Michigan achieved statehood. The school was originally located in Detroit and moved to Ann Arbor in 1837.

#35. Carleton College

Carleton College

Location: Northfield, MN

In-state tuition: $47,736
Out-of-state tuition: $47,736

Acceptance rate: 22.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2115
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,057

Carleton College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1866. It has a very high six-year graduation rate of 94 percent, and an average ACT score of 31.

#34. Hamilton College

Benjamin D. Esham/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Clinton, NY

In-state tuition: $47,820
Out-of-state tuition: $47,820

Acceptance rate: 26.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2085
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,904

Hamilton College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1793, making it the third-oldest college established in New York State. Originally an all-boys school, Hamilton became coeducational in 1978 when it merged with Kirkland College.

#33. University of California-Los Angeles

UCLA

Location: Los Angeles, CA

In-state tuition: $12,705
Out-of-state tuition: $35,583

Acceptance rate: 18.6 percent
Average SAT score: 1990
Undergraduate enrollment: 29,633

UCLA is a public research university founded in 1919. It has a median post-graduation salary of $50,000, and 73 percent of its students are in-state.

#32. Davidson College

Dacoslett/Wikipedia

Location: Davidson, NC

In-state tuition: $45,377
Out-of-state tuition: $45,377

Acceptance rate: 21.7 percent
Average SAT score: 2000
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,770

Davidson College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1837. Its average ACT score is 30 and its student-faculty ratio is 10:1.

#31. Wellesley College

Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, MA

In-state tuition: $45,078
Out-of-state tuition: $45,078

Acceptance rate: 30.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2095
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,323

Wellesley College is a private women’s liberal arts school founded in 1870. Its most popular majors include economics, political science and English.

#30. Haverford College

Haverford College

Location: Haverford, PA

In-state tuition: $47,214
Out-of-state tuition: $47,214

Acceptance rate: 24.7 percent
Average SAT score: 2115
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,194

Haverford College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1833. It was originally founded as an all-boys school and began admitting women in 1976.

#29. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College

Location: Claremont, CA

In-state tuition: $47,395
Out-of-state tuition: $47,395

Acceptance rate: 10.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2155
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,301

Claremont McKenna College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1946. It has a low student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a median post-graduation salary of $50,000.

#28. Tufts University

Tufts University

Location: Medford, MA

In-state tuition: $48,643
Out-of-state tuition: $48,643

Acceptance rate: 17.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2165
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,177

Tufts University is a private research university founded in 1852. The school was established by the Universalist Church and is named after Boston businessman Charles Tufts, who gave the church 20 acres of land on which to build the school.

#27. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

Location: St. Louis, MO

In-state tuition: $46,467
Out-of-state tuition: $46,467

Acceptance rate: 17.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2230
Undergraduate enrollment: 7,401

Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university founded in 1853. It was founded by St. Louis merchant Wayman Crow and his pastor, William Greenleaf Eliot Jr. The school is named after George Washington.

#26. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, PA

In-state tuition: $46,060
Out-of-state tuition: $46,060

Acceptance rate: 17 percent
Average SAT score: 2172
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,542

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college founded in 1864. Its most popular majors include political science, economics and biology.

#25. Georgetown University

Georgetown University

Location: Washington, D.C.

In-state tuition: $46,744
Out-of-state tuition: $46,744

Acceptance rate: 17.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2130
Undergraduate enrollment: 7,595

Georgetown University is a private research university founded in 1789. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit college in the country.

#24. University of California-Berkeley

Introvert/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Berkeley, CA

In-state tuition: $12,972
Out-of-state tuition: $35,850

Acceptance rate: 16 percent
Average SAT score: 2055
Undergraduate enrollment: 27,126

UC Berkeley is a public research university founded in 1868. The school’s average ACT score is 31, and it is StartClass’ highest-ranked public school.

#23. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD

In-state tuition: $47,060
Out-of-state tuition: $47,060

Acceptance rate: 16.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2150
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,357

Johns Hopkins University is a private research university founded in 1876. It was established by Baltimore-based railroad investor Johns Hopkins, who spent $7 million to form the university and a nearby hospital, each named after him.

#22. Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, IL

In-state tuition: $47,251
Out-of-state tuition: $47,251

Acceptance rate: 13.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2205
Undergraduate enrollment: 9,048

Northwestern University is a private research university founded in 1851. It was established by a group of nine men led by John Evans, for whom the city of Evanston is named.

#21. Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College

Location: Claremont, CA

In-state tuition: $48,594
Out-of-state tuition: $48,594

Acceptance rate:14.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2214
Undergraduate enrollment: 804

Harvey Mudd College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1955. It is named after Harvey Seeley Mudd, who was a mining engineer and founder of the Cyprus Mines Corporation. Its tuition is the highest among all colleges in California.

#20. Cornell University

Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, NY

In-state tuition: $47,286
Out-of-state tuition: $47,286

Acceptance rate: 14.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2130
Undergraduate enrollment: 14,282

Cornell University is a private research university founded in 1865. Its median post-graduation salary is $61,900, and it has a low student-faculty ratio of 9:1.

#19. Vanderbilt University

Mayur Phadtare/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Nashville, TN

In-state tuition: $43,838
Out-of-state tuition: $43,838

Acceptance rate: 13.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2230
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,851

Vanderbilt University is a private research university founded in 1873. Its founder, railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, gave $1 million to endow and build the school after being convinced by Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire.

#18. University of Notre Dame

Michael Fernandes/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Notre Dame, IN

In-state tuition: $46,237
Out-of-state tuition: $46,237

Acceptance rate: 21.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2145
Undergraduate enrollment: 8,448

The University of Notre Dame is a private research university founded in 1842. Its founder was a 28-year-old French priest, Rev. Edward Sorin, who named the school “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac,” meaning The University of Our Lady of the Lake.

#17. Brown University

Brown University

Location: Providence, RI

In-state tuition: $47,434
Out-of-state tuition: $47,434

Acceptance rate: 8.7 percent
Average SAT score: 2165
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,548

Brown University is a private research university founded in 1764. The school was the first Ivy League school to accept students from all religious affiliations, and women were first admitted to Brown in 1891.

#16. Rice University

Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Houston, TX

In-state tuition: $40,566
Out-of-state tuition: $40,566

Acceptance rate: 15.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2190
Undergraduate enrollment: 3,926

Rice University is a private research university founded in 1912. The origin of the school is a tale fit for the big screen: Businessman William Marsh Rice, who made his fortune in real estate, bequeathed his fortune to the creation of a university bearing his name, to be built upon his death. In 1900, he was murdered by his valet in a conspiracy conjured up by Rice’s lawyer, Albert T. Patrick. Patrick was convicted and sent to prison, and after the legal process ran its course, Rice University — then known as the Rice Institute — was given a $4.6 million endowment in 1904.

#15. University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

In-state tuition: $49,380
Out-of-state tuition: $49,380

Acceptance rate: 8.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2262
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,738

The University of Chicago is a private research university founded in 1890. Its median post-graduation salary is $45,000, and it has an extremely low student-faculty ratio of 6:1.

#14. Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Location: Lexington, VA

In-state tuition: $45,617
Out-of-state tuition: $45,617

Acceptance rate: 19.5 percent
Average SAT score: 2075
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,890

Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1749. The school was originally called Augusta Academy and was renamed Washington University after receiving a donation from George Washington. Robert E. Lee served as the university president for five years until his death in 1870, upon which the school was given its current name.

#13. Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

Location: Hanover, NH

In-state tuition: $48,108
Out-of-state tuition: $48,108

Acceptance rate: 11.5 percent
Average SAT score: 2195
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,289

Dartmouth College is a private research university founded in 1769. The school became coeducational in 1972.

#12. Pomona College

Pomona College

Location: Claremont, CA

In-state tuition: $45,832
Out-of-state tuition: $45,832

Acceptance rate: 12.2 percent
Average SAT score: 2195
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,650

Pomona College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1887. It is the founding member of the Claremont Colleges, which is a consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate schools located in Claremont, Calif.

#11. Duke University

Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

In-state tuition: $47,243
Out-of-state tuition: $47,243

Acceptance rate: 11.4 percent
Average SAT score: 2195
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,626

Duke University is a private research university founded in 1838. It has an average ACT score of 32 and a student-faculty ratio of 7:1.

#10. Amherst College

Amherst College

Location: Amherst, MA

In-state tuition: $48,526
Out-of-state tuition: $48,526

Acceptance rate: 13.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2169
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,792

Amherst College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1821. It was originally a men’s college and became coeducational in 1975. Amherst is a member of the “Little Three” colleges, an unofficial athletic conference of three elite New England liberal arts colleges, along with Wesleyan University and Williams College.

#9. University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA

In-state tuition: $47,668
Out-of-state tuition: $47,668

Acceptance rate: 10.4 percent
Average SAT score: 2190
Undergraduate enrollment: 11,548

The University of Pennsylvania is a private research university founded in 1740. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin with the goal of having a liberal arts-like curriculum, though this plan was never fully adopted. Instead, the school used a more traditional curriculum when it held its first classes in 1751, more than a decade after its initial founding.

#8. Columbia University in the City of New York

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Location: New York, NY

In-state tuition: $51,008
Out-of-state tuition: $51,008

Acceptance rate: 6.9 percent
Average SAT score: 2220
Undergraduate enrollment: 8,100

Columbia University is a private research university founded in 1754. It was established by royal charter of King George II as King’s College. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York State. The school was renamed Columbia University in 1896.

#7. California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA

In-state tuition: $43,362
Out-of-state tuition: $43,362

Acceptance rate: 8.8 percent
Average SAT score: 2310
Undergraduate enrollment: 983

The California Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1891. Its median post-graduation salary is $66,500, and it has a student-faculty ratio of 3:1.

#6. Williams College

Williams College

Location: Williamstown, MA

In-state tuition: $48,310
Out-of-state tuition: $48,310

Acceptance rate: 19.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2190
Undergraduate enrollment: 2,072

Williams College is a private liberal arts school founded in 1793. Its six-year graduation rate is 96 percent, and it has an average ACT score of 32.

#5. Yale University

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

In-state tuition: $45,800
Out-of-state tuition: $45,800

Acceptance rate: 6.3 percent
Average SAT score: 2255
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,477

Yale University is a private research university founded in 1701. It was originally located in Saybrook, Conn., as the Collegiate School. It moved to its current location in 1716 and was renamed Yale College in 1718.

#4. Stanford University

BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons

Location: Stanford, CA

In-state tuition: $45,195
Out-of-state tuition: $45,195

Acceptance rate: 5.1 percent
Average SAT score: 2215
Undergraduate enrollment: 7,019

Stanford University is a private research university founded in 1885. It has the lowest acceptance rate in the country, and its average ACT score is 34.

#3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, MA

In-state tuition: $45,016
Out-of-state tuition: $45,016

Acceptance rate: 7.9 percent
Average SAT score: 2230
Undergraduate enrollment: 4,512

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1861. Informally referred to as “Boston Tech” in its early stages, the school faced a long delay during its first years due to the Civil War. The first classes were held in 1865.

#2. Princeton University

Princeton University

Location: Princeton, NJ

In-state tuition: $41,820
Out-of-state tuition: $41,820

Acceptance rate: 7.4 percent
Average SAT score: 2250
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,391

Princeton University is a private research university founded in 1746. It was originally established as the College of New Jersey in Elizabeth, N.J. It moved to Newark in 1747, then to its current site in 1756. It was renamed Princeton University in 1896.

#1. Harvard University

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA

In-state tuition: $43,938
Out-of-state tuition: $43,938

Acceptance rate: 6 percent
Average SAT score: 2265
Undergraduate enrollment: 10,338

Harvard University is a private research university founded in 1636. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The school emerged as a national research university in the late 19th century under its president, Charles W. Eliot. Harvard has produced eight U.S. presidents and over 150 Nobel laureates.

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