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Named for the founding father and fourth president, this public research university in the Shenandoah Valley in Harrisonburg, Virginia has approximately 20,000 undergraduate students and 1,900 graduate students. JMU features 130+ degree programs, and 1,575 instructors. This diverse university includes 22% minority enrollment. In-state students make up roughly 77% of the student body, with out-of-state students making up the other 23%. Many international students attend JMU.

Overview of James Madison University

The 721-acre campus features 148 major buildings. JMU’s facilities offer cutting-edge research, study abroad programs, and distance and online learning options. JMU’s seven colleges consist of the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Health and Behavioral Studies, the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, the College of Science and Mathematics, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and a Graduate School. Graduate degree programs include art and music; business; communications, humanities, and social sciences; education; health and behavioral studies; and science, technology, engineering, and math. It also offers professional and continuing education for various licensure and other requirements.

As of Fall 2019, 77 percent of applicants were accepted by JMU.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 84%
Year Founded 1908

Student Enrollment

Total Students21,751


Undergraduate Student

Male 8,368
Female 11,555

Graduate Student

Male 768
Female 1,060

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JMU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 9,473
Female 14,106


Male 6,726
Female 11,285

Acceptance Rate77%

Male 71%
Female 80%

Enrollment 4,539

Male 1,879
Female 2,660
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Recommended
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline January 15
Common Application Accepted No

JMU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

For a recent academic year, tuition at JMU was $12,206 for in-state students and $29,106 for out-of-state residents. On-campus room and board cost $10,938. Total expenses for in-state students paying room and board was $28,182 and $45,082 for out-of-state residents.

In the same year, 62% of undergraduates received some form of financial aid. The average amount of grant or scholarship aid received was $7,507, while the average Pell Grant was $4,455 and the average amount of federal student loan aid was $6,210. The average net price (the cost students were still responsible for after financial aid had been applied) was around $18,708. However, if your family is on the lower end of the spectrum of annual income, say $48,000 or below, you can expect to pay less than those who make more or significantly more annually. This is because financial aid is awarded first to those who have need, those who make less. So, those with more need will have a lower average net price after their financial aid has been applied.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $18,708
Average Total Aid $8,413
Students Receiving Financial Aid 62%
Room & Board $10,938

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $12,206
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $29,106
  • Books and Supplies - $1,056
  • Room & Board - $10,938
  • Other - $3,982


When considering colleges or universities, you can look at particular metrics to help you make your decision. Retention rates are a critical indicator, as they reveal the number of first-time students returning to the institution the next year. Low retention rates can definitely be a negative factor. A good student-to-faculty ratio means students have more opportunity to interact with professors. The graduation rate measures the percentage of first-time students completing their degrees within 150% of the standard program time, generally six years. Low graduation rates are often indicative of issues with the school.

JMU’s student-to-faculty ratio is 16 to 1, which is somewhat high but still within the range that you shouldn’t have trouble setting up office time with your professors, you just might not be able to stop them after class to ask questions. The school’s retention rate for first-time students pursuing a bachelor’s degree is solid at 89% of full-time students and a whopping 100% of part-time students. The overall graduation rate is well above the national average at 84%.

Student Population Total

Student Population 21,751

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 878 Total Graduates / 20%
Community Health Services/Liaison/Counseling 467 Graduates
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 228 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 91 Graduates
Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist 73 Graduates
All Business Majors 738 Total Graduates / 16%
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 166 Graduates
Finance, General 150 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 142 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 120 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Program 394 Total Graduates / 9%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 394 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 377 Total Graduates / 8%
International Relations and Affairs 99 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 78 Graduates
Economics, General 70 Graduates
Geography 65 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 239 Total Graduates / 5%
Sport and Fitness Administration/Management 126 Graduates
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 113 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 42%

Outcome & Salary

College graduates will earn considerably more than non-college graduates over their careers. Graduates can expect to earn around $58,000 annually in their early career and as their pay increases, around the middle of their career, their salary will average around $108,000.

For the average net education price of $74,000, the ROI for 10 years of salary earnings potential is $656,170, while the ROI for 20 years of salary earnings potential is $1,745,170. That makes their 10-year projected income $581,338 and their 20-year projected income $1,670,338.

Compare that to the national average salary of $38,792 for someone without a college education. Their 10-year projected income is $387,920 and their 20-year projected income is $775,840.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $58,000
College Grads Average Salary $65,617
College Grads Mid Career Salary $108,900
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $656,170
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,745,170
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $74,832
10 Year Projected ROI $581,338
20 Year Projected ROI $1,670,338
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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