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American University (AU) is a private, non-profit university locate in the nation's capital, Washington, DC. The urban campus is mid-sized, with around 8,500 undergraduates and over 6,000 graduate degree candidates. Students at AU are engaged in degree programs in schools such as arts & sciences, business, communication, education, international service, and public affairs. Given that AU is smack-dab in the heart of DC, students may be able to land internships with top federal agencies and politicians.

Overview of American University (AU)

Despite, or perhaps as a consequence of, the intense academic environment, AU students take advantage of their campus' extraordinary extracurricular opportunities. After class, students are known to head to the University Center where they find friends, food, and fellowship. They can also seek out sporting opportunities at the varsity, club, or intramural level.

Most students will look to get their competitive edge on at the club or intramural level. AU supports teams and leagues in a wide range of sports. There are 25 club-level sports teams who take on other colleges in rugby, sailing, soccer, and ultimate frisbee, to name a few. For the less competitive, intramural leagues offer a way to face off against fellow AU students in sports including beach volleyball, basketball, innertube water polo, and softball.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 11 : 1
Graduation Rate 79%
Year Founded 1893

Student Enrollment

Total Students14,001


Undergraduate Student

Male 3,022
Female 4,931

Graduate Student

Male 2,298
Female 3,750

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AU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 7,125
Female 12,911


Male 2,636
Female 5,164

Acceptance Rate39%

Male 37%
Female 40%

Enrollment 1,641

Male 555
Female 1,086
Application Fee $75
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts REQUIRED
College Prep Courses REQUIRED
Recommendations REQUIRED
Formal demonstration of competencies RECOMMENDED
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) REQUIRED
Application Deadline January 15
Common Application Accepted Yes

AU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

American University is a private, not-for-profit institution. As such, it may cost a bit more to attend, regardless of where a student comes from. Indeed, the gross price tag is rather steep, with students seeing their tuition and other academic costs rising to over $54,000. When all the other expenses including room, board, entertainment, and other living costs are tallied, AU students pay nearly $72,000 for a year of living and learning. However, this is before the financial aid office works their magic.

The financial aid office applies grants and scholarships to each student’s bill and can often ameliorate the price quite significantly. The average net price for a year at AU is only $29,000, including all living costs. However, the lowest income students see their costs fall to under $11,000 and the highest earning households still only face an average net cost of $40,000 per year. The median is then only $15,000. Given the academic quality AU delivers, this is a tremendous value in higher education.

Average net price Current Year
Net Price $37,319
Average Total Aid $29,117
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Room & Board $16,196

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $51,361
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $51,361
  • Books and Supplies - $800
  • Room & Board - $16,196
  • Other - $1,009

Popular Academic Programs at AU

American University students are well-known to be a brainy bunch. They often graduate and then kick off brilliant careers in government or industry. Our researchers wanted to get to the nitty gritty and verify AU's reputation with hard data. To do so, they investigated the retention rate and graduation rates, among other metrics.

The retention rate at AU was terrific. This figure reflects the number of first-time, full-time AU students who return to campus for a second year. A high retention rate indicates that both the students and their families are impressed with the school's academic programs, faculty, and campus resources. AU posts a retention rate of 90%, a stellar figure from any school.

This figure is bolstered by the graduation rate. AU posts a graduation rate of 79%. This means that there's a high likelihood that a first-year student could graduate with the friends they meet in those first-year dormitories.

Our researchers attributed much of this academic success to AU's dedication to ensuring a nurturing academic environment. The 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio is evidence that AU students enjoy close attention from their instructors. Even those large introductory courses that every student must take aren't too jam-packed and students can have their questions addressed by top academic professionals.

Student Population Total

Student Population 14,001

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Social Sciences 660 Total Graduates / 37%
International Relations and Affairs 426 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 153 Graduates
Economics, General 48 Graduates
Anthropology, General 14 Graduates
Sociology, General 14 Graduates
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 293 Total Graduates / 16%
Business Administration and Management, General 180 Graduates
Finance, General 64 Graduates
Accounting 25 Graduates
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other 24 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 172 Total Graduates / 10%
Public Relations/Image Management 101 Graduates
Journalism 42 Graduates
Mass Communication/Media Studies 29 Graduates
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 114 Total Graduates / 6%
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 114 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 99 Total Graduates / 5%
Film/Cinema/Media Studies 45 Graduates
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 14 Graduates
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 11 Graduates
Musical Theatre 11 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 26%

Outcome & Salary

Researchers have found that the highest earning students from most schools fall into certain categories. For instance, most of the top-five earning degrees include technology, nursing, and engineering students. American University is somewhat of an exception in this respect. In fact, AU's top-earning graduates studied accounting during their time in DC. AU accountants start their careers earning over $87,000. Other top-earning degrees include public relations, finance, and business administration. The fifth highest earning graduates from AU were the economics students, who report a median salary of $70,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $59,900
College Grads Average Salary $70,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $113,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $700,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,836,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $149,276
10 Year Projected ROI $550,724
20 Year Projected ROI $1,686,724
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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