Duke vs. Vanderbilt


Should I go to Duke University or Vanderbilt University? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if Duke or Vanderbilt is the better college for you.

Duke Comparison

Duke University vs. Vanderbilt University comparison
Duke Vanderbilt
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Location Durham, NC Nashville, TN
Setting Midsize City Large City
Students 16,606 12,824
Type Private 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation United Methodist -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $53,760 $48,600
Tuition (Out of State) $53,760 $48,600
Room & Board $15,178 $16,234
Avg Net Price $22,011 $23,295
Avg Grant Aid $47,836 $41,359
% Receiving Grant Aid 49% 65%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 8.9% 9.6%
Avg High School GPA 3.94 3.76
Admissions Standards Elite Elite
Applicant Competition Extreme Very High
ACT Range 33/35 33/35
SAT Range 1450/1570 1450/1560
Application Deadline Jan 2, 2020 Jan 1, 2020


Graduation Rate 94% 92%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $108,900 $83,100
Making Student Loan Payments 89% 83%
Median Student Loan Debt $7,500 $14,000
Median Loan Payment $77 $144
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Comparable Facts

  • Duke University is larger than than Vanderbilt based on total student enrollment (16,606 students vs. 12,824 students)

Duke vs. Vanderbilt Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, Duke or Vanderbilt?

  • Duke University is 10.6% more expensive to attend than Vanderbilt for in-state tuition ($53,760.00 vs. $48,600.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 10.6% higher at Duke than Vanderbilt University ($53,760.00 vs. $48,600.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Duke University than Vanderbilt ($22,011 vs. $23,295)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Duke University are 7% lower than costs at Vanderbilt University ($15,178 vs. $16,234)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Vanderbilt University than Duke University (65% vs. 49%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Duke University students is 15.7% larger than aid received Vanderbilt University ($47,836 vs. $41,359)

Duke vs. Vanderbilt Admissions Difficulty Comparison

Which college is harder to get into, Duke or Vanderbilt? Average SAT and ACT scores plus acceptance rates offer good insight into the difficulty of admission between Vanderbilt or Duke .

  • The average SAT score at Vanderbilt University (1498) is 48 points higher than at Duke (1450)
  • Incoming Vanderbilt students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (34) than students at Duke (33)
  • Vanderbilt has a higher acceptance rate (9.6%) than Duke (8.9%)

Duke vs. Vanderbilt Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, Duke or Vanderbilt? Graduation rate, salary and amount of student loan debt are indicators of a college which offers better outcomes for its graduates. Compare the following outcomes facts between Vanderbilt and Duke.

  • The graduation rate at Duke is higher that Vanderbilt University (94% vs. 92%)
  • Graduates from Duke University earn on average $25,800 more per year than Vanderbilt graduates after ten years. ($108,900 vs. $83,100)
  • Duke University students graduate with a $6,500 lower median federal student loan debt than Vanderbilt graduates. ($7,500 vs. $14,000)
  • Duke graduates are paying $67 less per month on federal student loans than Vanderbilt graduates. ($77 vs. $144)
  • More Duke graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former Vanderbilt students, three years after graduation. (89% vs. 83%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov IPEDS and College Scorecard https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/