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Rank: 64

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CAcalpoly.edu
Since its founding in 1903 as a vocational high school with an emphasis on learning by doing, Cal Poly has evolved into a skills-focused university with more than 60 majors, including several within its well-known engineering school. The population is diverse, with 16% of students Hispanic and 13% Asian. Cal Poly covers a sprawling 9,700 acres spread over five parcels. It uses the various canyons, ranches, beaches, and even a farm, to teach students hands-on lessons in agriculture, biology, and forestry. Students will also find hiking and biking trails located throughout the properties. The university's graduation rate is 80%, and graduates report starting salaries of around $61,000, which is 17% higher than their peers who graduated from similar universities. In recent years, the school has been the beneficiary of formidable alumni largesse. This spring it opened a 60,000 equestrian pavilion, made possible by a $20 million gift from a former Apple executive and his wife. Another alum who pursued a career in chemical manufacturing made a $110 million gift last year to the College of Science and Mathematics to support undergraduate research. That gift also designates $3.6 million annually to go to scholarships. Cal Poly's home is in sunny San Luis Obispo, located on the California coast about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco; it's surrounded by vineyards and farm-to-table restaurants and minutes from the beach. It's also close to Hearst Castle, a magical site from a bygone era.
costs
Est. Full Price 2018-2019
$27,800
% of students who get any grants
53%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$19,900
Average price for low-income students
$11,100
admissions
Acceptance rate
29%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1260/29
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
21,098
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
88%
% of need met
57%
% of students who get merit* grants
13%
Average merit grant
$1,890
student success
Graduation rate
80%
Average time to a degree
4.5 years
Average student debt
$18,700
Average salary within 3 years
$61,100
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
54%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Oct 31
Regular application
Nov 30

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Equality of Oppourtunity Project.

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations, Equality of Oppourtunity Project.

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