Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt


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

Northwestern Comparison

Northwestern University vs. Vanderbilt University comparison
Northwestern Vanderbilt
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Location Evanston, IL Nashville, TN
Setting Small City Large City
Students 22,127 12,824
Type Private 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $54,120 $48,600
Tuition (Out of State) $54,120 $48,600
Room & Board $16,626 $16,234
Avg Net Price $26,099 $23,295
Avg Grant Aid $44,247 $41,359
% Receiving Grant Aid 54% 65%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 8.5% 9.6%
Avg High School GPA 3.92 3.76
Admissions Standards Elite Elite
Applicant Competition Extreme Very High
ACT Range 33/35 33/35
SAT Range 1430/1550 1450/1560
Application Deadline Jan 1, 2020 Jan 1, 2020


Graduation Rate 94% 92%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $89,800 $83,100
Making Student Loan Payments 87% 83%
Median Student Loan Debt $19,378 $14,000
Median Loan Payment $200 $144
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Comparable Facts

  • Northwestern University is larger than than Vanderbilt based on total student enrollment (22,127 students vs. 12,824 students)

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, Northwestern or Vanderbilt?

  • Northwestern University is 11.4% more expensive to attend than Vanderbilt for in-state tuition ($54,120.00 vs. $48,600.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 11.4% higher at Northwestern than Vanderbilt University ($54,120.00 vs. $48,600.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Vanderbilt University than Northwestern ($23,295 vs. $26,099)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at Vanderbilt University are 2.4% lower than costs at Northwestern University ($16,234 vs. $16,626)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at Vanderbilt University than Northwestern University (65% vs. 54%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Northwestern University students is 7% larger than aid received Vanderbilt University ($44,247 vs. $41,359)

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Admissions Difficulty Comparison

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

  • The average SAT score at Vanderbilt University (1498) is 38 points higher than at Northwestern (1460)
  • Incoming Vanderbilt students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (34) than students at Northwestern (33)
  • Vanderbilt has a higher acceptance rate (9.6%) than Northwestern (8.5%)

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, Northwestern 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 Northwestern.

  • The graduation rate at Northwestern is higher that Vanderbilt University (94% vs. 92%)
  • Graduates from Northwestern University earn on average $6,700 more per year than Vanderbilt graduates after ten years. ($89,800 vs. $83,100)
  • Vanderbilt University students graduate with a $5,378 lower median federal student loan debt than Northwestern graduates. ($14,000 vs. $19,378)
  • Vanderbilt graduates are paying $56 less per month on federal student loans than Northwestern graduates. ($144 vs. $200)
  • More Northwestern graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former Vanderbilt students, three years after graduation. (87% vs. 83%)

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