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Rank: 63

Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, VAwww.vmi.edu
The Virginia Military Institute, often referred to as the West Point of the South, is the oldest state-supported military college in the country. Student life shares some similarities with army service; cadets live in modestly furnished barracks with up to five others, not in dorms. They wear uniforms to class, must keep shoes polished, and march in formation. Unlike West Point, however, VMI charges tuition and does not require students to serve in the military after graduation (which is why it is on MONEY's Best Colleges list, while other schools with a service requirement are not). VMI offers bachelor's degrees in engineering, the sciences, and the liberal arts. Despite the institute's solid graduation rate of 78%, the first semester is notoriously challenging. So-called rats, aka freshmen, must keep themselves spotless, stand at attention, and perform school songs or yells at the behest of upperclass cadets. After a six-year legal battle that landed in the Supreme Court, the school started admitting women in 1997. Today, they make up 11% of the student body. Alumni report annual earnings averaging about $62,200 within three years, roughly 27% more than schools with similar student profiles. Every student is encouraged to play a sport, whether on a club or a team. The Keydets play in Division I. Theirs is an unusual mascot: Moe the kangaroo.
costs
Est. Full Price 2018-2019
$31,300
% of students who get any grants
66%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$17,400
Average price for low-income students
$4,700
admissions
Acceptance rate
51%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1150/26
SAT/ACT required?
Yes
Enrollment
1,766
Financial Aid
% of students with need who get grants
81%
% of need met
85%
% of students who get merit* grants
5%
Average merit grant
$2,791
student success
Graduation rate
78%
Average time to a degree
5.6 years
Average student debt
$25,000
Average salary within 3 years
$62,200
% of low-income students who become upper middle class
43%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Nov 15
Regular application
Feb 1

* 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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