USC vs. Stanford

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

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University of Southern California vs. Stanford University comparison
University of Southern California Stanford University College 3 College 4
University of Southern California Stanford University
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Location Los Angeles, CA Stanford, CA
Setting Large City Large Suburban
Students 47,310 17,381
Type Private 4 Year Private 4 Year
Religious Affiliation - - - -
Status Non-profit Non-profit


Tuition (In State) $57,256 $52,857
Tuition (Out of State) $57,256 $52,857
Room & Board $15,912 $16,433
Avg Net Price $37,521 $16,779
Avg Grant Aid $37,217 $54,808
% Receiving Grant Aid 65% 56%

Admission and Academics

Acceptance Rate 11.4% 4.3%
Avg High School GPA 3.73 4.18
Admissions Standards Elite Elite
Applicant Competition Very High Extreme
ACT Range 31/34 32/35
SAT Range 1360/1530 1440/1570
Application Deadline Jan 10, 2020 Jan 1, 2020


Graduation Rate 90% 96%
Median Earnings (After 10 years) $85,500 $122,900
Making Student Loan Payments 81% 88%
Median Student Loan Debt $22,375 $12,475
Median Loan Payment $231 $128
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Comparable Facts

  • University of Southern California is larger than than Stanford based on total student enrollment (47,310 students vs. 17,381 students)

USC vs. Stanford Cost Comparison

Which college is more expensive, USC or Stanford?

  • University of Southern California is 8.3% more expensive to attend than Stanford for in-state tuition ($57,256.00 vs. $52,857.00)
  • Out of state tuition is 8.3% higher at USC than Stanford University ($57,256.00 vs. $52,857.00)
  • The typical actual cost that students pay to attend (average net price) is less at Stanford University than USC ($16,779 vs. $37,521)
  • Living costs (room and board or off-campus housing budget) at University of Southern California are 3.3% lower than costs at Stanford University ($15,912 vs. $16,433)
  • More students receive financial grant aid at University of Southern California than Stanford University (65% vs. 56%)
  • The average total grant financial aid received by Stanford University students is 47.3% larger than aid received University of Southern California ($54,808 vs. $37,217)

USC vs. Stanford Admissions Difficulty Comparison

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

  • The average SAT score at Stanford University (1479) is 88 points higher than at USC (1391)
  • Incoming Stanford students have a 1 point higher average ACT score (33) than students at USC (32)
  • USC has a higher acceptance rate (11.4%) than Stanford (4.3%)

USC vs. Stanford Graduation Outcomes Comparison

Which is better, USC or Stanford? 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 Stanford and USC.

  • The graduation rate at Stanford is higher that University of Southern California (96% vs. 90%)
  • Graduates from Stanford University earn on average $37,400 more per year than USC graduates after ten years. ($122,900 vs. $85,500)
  • Stanford University students graduate with a $9,900 lower median federal student loan debt than USC graduates. ($12,475 vs. $22,375)
  • Stanford graduates are paying $103 less per month on federal student loans than USC graduates. ($128 vs. $231)
  • More Stanford graduates are actively paying back their federal student loan debt than former USC students, three years after graduation. (88% vs. 81%)

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