The United States Air Force Academy is located on a tract of land that borders Colorado Springs, Colorado. The academy campus is a beautiful setting, with its chapel’s soaring spires dominating the view. USAF Academy is a public, four-year university, offering bachelor’s degrees to its graduates. Every graduate also accepts a commission into the US Air Force as a second lieutenant, where they serve for a specified number of years to pay off the cost of their education. All academy students/cadets are undergraduate students—there are no graduate programs available.
Overview of United States Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs itself is a large city about an hour south of Colorado’s capital of Denver. When students/cadets at the academy have some free time, they are able to drive into Colorado Springs, where they can enjoy some time away from the rigors of education. One area students might particularly enjoy is the hiking trails in Garden of the Gods; with its unique, red-rock formations that tower over the hiking trails, anyone who visits comes away with an appreciation of the area. Pikes Peak is also just west of Colorado Springs and its snow-capped peaks are easy to spot from the city.
USAF Academy’s Carnegie classification is focused on baccalaureate colleges, Arts & Sciences focus. Students who are accepted to the academy with advanced placement exam credits may convert those into class credits.
|Campus Setting||Town: Fringe|
|Student Faculty Ratio||8:1|
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|High School GPA||Required|
|High School Rank||Required|
|High School Transcripts||Required|
|College Prep Courses||Recommended|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||-|
|Application Deadline||December 31|
|Common Application Accepted||No|
Tuition Cost & Financial Aid
Because the United States Air Force Academy is a military service academy which is federally funded, students/cadets and their families are not charged tuition, fees, or room and board. Students/cadets also don’t have to pay application fees.
Also, due to its federal funding, cadets and their families do not have to worry about finding financial aid (federal or private) or obtaining scholarships, grants, or fellowships.
|Average net price||2017-2018|
|Average Total Aid||-|
|Students Receiving Financial Aid||-|
|Room & Board||-|
- Tuition In-State - NA
- Tuition Out-of-State - NA
- Books and Supplies - NA
- Room & Board - NA
- Other - NA
The retention rate of first-time students at the academy is 95%; this means that 95 out of 100 students return to the campus for their second year of college. The student population is small, enrolling only 4,336 undergraduate students/cadets. However, this is part of what creates the low student-to-faculty ratio of 8 to 1. Students/cadets are easily able to request some time and assistance from their instructors.
Given that the academy has such a strong military focus, there are few majors for students to choose between. Degrees are awarded for biological and biomedical sciences; business, management, marketing, and related support activities; computer and information sciences and support services; engineering—with aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical/space engineering; systems engineering; civil engineering; mechanical engineering; electrical and electronics engineering and computer engineering; engineering chemistry; English language and literature; legal professions and studies; liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities; mathematics and statistics; military technologies and applied sciences; multi/interdisciplinary studies; philosophy and religious studies; physical sciences; and social sciences.
Student Population Total
Most Popular Programs & Majors
(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)
|All Engineering Majors||255 Total Graduates / 25%|
|Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering||72 Graduates|
|Systems Engineering||68 Graduates|
|Civil Engineering, General||42 Graduates|
|Operations Research||26 Graduates|
|Mechanical Engineering||21 Graduates|
|All Business Majors||228 Total Graduates / 22%|
|Business Administration and Management, General||228 Graduates|
|All Social Science Majors||135 Total Graduates / 13%|
|Economics, General||66 Graduates|
|Political Science and Government, General||35 Graduates|
|Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies||118 Total Graduates / 12%|
|Behavioral Sciences||82 Graduates|
|International/Global Studies||36 Graduates|
|All Biological & Biomedical Majors||66 Total Graduates / 6%|
|Biology/Biological Sciences, General||62 Graduates|
|All Other Diplomas||21%|
Outcome & Salary
After the cadets graduate and begin their military obligations or careers, they will still benefit from a return on investment (ROI) from their education. The average salary of an Air Force Academy graduate is $110,000; their early career salary is $77,800 and their mid-career salary is $146,500.
For an even more complete picture, their 10-year salary earnings potential is $1,100,000 and their 20-year salary earnings potential is $1,465,000. Because they pay nothing for their training and degree program, all of that is money earned, with no loss of income from paying off school loans. This is the return on a $0 investment.
On the other hand, high school graduates who do not go to college earn a national average salary of $37,960; their 10-year projected income is $379,600 and their 20-year projected income is $759,200.
|College Grads Early Career Salary||$77,800|
|College Grads Average Salary||$110,000|
|College Grads Mid Career Salary||$146,500|
|Return on Investment (ROI)|
|10 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$1,100,000|
|20 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$1,465,000|
|Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year||-|
|10 Year Projected ROI||-|
|20 Year Projected ROI||-|
|No Colleage Education Salary Comparison|
|National Average Salary||$37,960|
|10 Year Projected Income||$379,600|
|20 Year Projected Income||$759,200|
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