Should I go to James Madison University or Virginia Military Institute? Compare the two schools' costs, SAT, ACT, GPA, admissions criteria and outcomes to help you determine if JMU or VMI is the better college for you.

JMU Comparison

James Madison University vs. Virginia Military Institute comparison
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Location Harrisonburg, VA Lexington, VA
Setting Small City Distant Rural
Students 21,751 1,685
Type Public 4 Year Public 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $7,250 $9,284
Tuition (Out of State) $23,064 $36,128
Room & Board $10,512 $9,482
Avg Net Price $16,154 $16,085
Avg Grant Aid $8,556 $14,434
% Receiving Grant Aid 28% 69%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 71.1% 51.3%
Avg High School GPA 3.57 3.61
Admissions Standards Difficult Very High
Applicant Competition Low Low
ACT Range 23/28 24/30
SAT Range 1120/1290 1100/1310
Application Deadline Jan 15, 2020 Feb 1, 2020


Graduation Rate 81% 69%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $60,300 $62,100
Making Student Loan Payments 83% 84%
Median Student Loan Debt $20,899 $25,000
Median Loan Payment $216 $258
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Comparable Facts

  • James Madison University is larger than than VMI based on total student enrollment (21,751 students vs. 1,685 students)

JMU vs. VMI Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, JMU or VMI?

  • Virginia Military Institute is 28.1% more expensive to attend than JMU for in-state tuition ($9,284.00 vs. $7,250.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 56.6% higher at VMI than James Madison University ($36,128.00 vs. $23,064.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Virginia Military Institute than JMU ($16,085 vs. $16,154)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Virginia Military Institute are 10.9% lower than costs at James Madison University ($9,482 vs. $10,512)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Virginia Military Institute than James Madison University (69% vs. 28%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Virginia Military Institute students is 68.7% larger than aid received James Madison University ($14,434 vs. $8,556)

JMU vs. VMI Admissions Difficulty Comparison

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

  • The average SAT score at Virginia Military Institute (1139) is 5 points higher than at JMU (1134)
  • Incoming JMU students have at the same average ACT score (25) as students at VMI (25)
  • JMU has a higher acceptance rate (71.1%) than VMI (51.3%)

JMU vs. VMI Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, JMU or VMI? 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 VMI and JMU.

  • The graduation rate at JMU is higher that Virginia Military Institute (81% vs. 69%)
  • Graduates from Virginia Military Institute earn on average $1,800 more per year than JMU graduates after ten years. ($62,100 vs. $60,300)
  • James Madison University students graduate with a $4,101 lower median federal student loan debt than VMI graduates. ($20,899 vs. $25,000)
  • JMU graduates are paying $42 less per month on federal student loans than VMI graduates. ($216 vs. $258)
  • More VMI graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former JMU students, three years after graduation. (84% vs. 83%)

Sources: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS and College Scorecard