Vassar College

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School Overview

Vassar College, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, is a privately owned and operated four-year liberal arts college that awards undergraduate bachelor’s degrees in various subjects. Vassar was founded in 1861 as a strictly women’s college. However, in 1969 the college became coeducational–opening its doors to both men and women. The decision to become a coeducational institution was made during a time of consolidation when colleges across the country were merging to increase enrollment and promote growth.

Vassar College is situated on a 1,000-acre campus that is home to over one hundred buildings, many of which have been designed by well-known architects such as Marcel Breuer, James Renwick Jr., César Pelli, and Eero Saarinen. Vassar’s architectural styles and genres range from Collegiate Gothic to International and its campus is marked by both period and modern buildings. Two of Vassar’s buildings are officially recognized as National Historic Landmarks. Vassar’s campus is beautifully manicured and landscaped with over 200 types of trees, as well as various plants and bushes. The campus includes a native plant preserve—a 400-acre ecological preserve—and a unique arboretum.

Vassar has a total annual enrollment of roughly 2,400 undergraduate students, almost all of which (98%) live on campus. About two thirds of entering freshmen come from public high schools and about one third from private schools. While Vassar is a coeducational institution, its student body still has more women than men—a ratio of about 3:2. The college employs about 300 faculty and staff, and almost all professors have doctorate or Ph.D. degrees. The average class size at Vassar ranges from 15 to 18 students.

In 2007, Vassar reinstituted its long-standing policy of need-blind admissions where student applicants are evaluated based on academic and extracurricular performance without regard to their ability to pay for school. The student body at Vassar is comprised of students from across the United States and around the world. Currently, about 10% of the student population at Vassar is made up of international students, which come from over 50 foreign countries.

Academics and Rankings

Vassar awards the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree in over 50 fields of study. It also offers several multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary majors, as well as a self-designed major where students can choose the courses and programs they want to take. A very popular and unique program offered at Vassar is the Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP) that offers courses in some common languages such as Korean, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish, as well as some not-so-common languages such as Swahili, Hindi, Irish/Gaelic, and Yiddish.

The curriculum at Vassar is intentionally designed with utmost flexibility in mind in order to motivate students to participate in a large array of study programs and courses. In order to graduate, all students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, take a freshman writing course, and an interdisciplinary course—but that’s where the universal graduation requirements end; each student must also complete the requirements of his or her own major.

Vassar has a well-developed study abroad program and the college encourages its students to take advantage of it. Study abroad opportunities sponsored through Vassar include one or two semesters in England, Italy, China, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, France, Spain or Russia. In addition to study abroad programs at Vassar College, students may participate in programs approved by Vassar but sponsored by other U.S. colleges and universities.

One thing that most students at Vassar appreciate is that all of the classes are taught by actual professors, not graduate students or assistants. Currently, the most popular fields of study (based on number of enrollees) include English, psychology, economics, political science and biology. For those students who want to gain more in depth understanding of their area of study, Vassar offers minors and correlated sequences which allow students to delve deeper into the subject matter of their major.

National Rankings

In 2013, U.S. News and World Report categorized Vassar as one of the “most selective” colleges and ranked it 10th in the nation among all liberal arts colleges. It also said that Vassar provides students the 3rd “Best Value” of any liberal arts college nationwide. Forbes ranked Vassar 20th on its list of America’s Best Colleges and Kiplinger ranked Vassar the 9th best value among U.S. liberal arts colleges.


For its size, Vassar has a very impressive library system. The main library building is the Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library. In addition to the main library building, Vassar has 7 other libraries. When Vassar was founded in 1865, the college’s library system consisted of just one room and a small collection of 3,000 books. Today Vassar houses one of the largest literary collections of any undergraduate library in the United States. The library is home to over one million volumes (including 7,500 periodicals) and a large collection of microfiche and microfilm. Since 1943, Vassar’s Thompson Library has been a Federal depository library for many important U.S. Government documents. For the last 25 years, Vassar’s library has been a Reference Center for the State of New York.

In 2001, the Thompson Memorial Library underwent a major renovation. In an attempt to restore its original design and appeal, between 2008 and 2009, the Van Ingen Art Library also underwent a major renovation to both its interior and exterior. The renovation to the Van Ingen Art Library was the largest renovation the library has undergone since it was constructed in 1937.

General Information

Admission Office

Box 10, 124 Raymond Avenue

Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0077

(845) 437-7300

(800) 827-7270

Fax: (845) 437-7063

Contact: David Borus

Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
Main Address

124 Raymond Avenue

Poughkeepsie, NY 12604

(845) 437-7000

Total undergrads: 2,389

First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 638

Degree-seeking undergrads: 2,343


Suburban setting

Small city (50,000 – 249,999)

Residential campus

Degrees offered:

Admissions Information

Application Fee

College has an application fee: Yes

Regular application fee: $60

Online application fee: $60
Enrollment Rates

Percent applicants admitted: 25%

Percent students who return for sophomore year: 96%

College Majors

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies

African Studies B
American Studies B
Asian Studies B
Latin American Studies B
Women’s Studies B

Arts, Visual & Performing

Art – General B
Drama/Theater Arts B
Film Studies B
Music – General B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Biochemistry B
Biology B

Communications & Journalism

Mass Communications/Media Studies B

Computer & Information Sciences

Computer/Information Sciences – General B

English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature – General B

Foreign Language & Literature

Chinese B
French B
German B
Greek, Ancient B
Italian B
Japanese B
Latin B
Russian B
Spanish B


History – General B

Liberal Arts & Sciences

Liberal Arts & Sciences B


Mathematics – General B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Ancient Studies/Civilization B
Cognitive Science B
Medieval/Renaissance Studies B
Neuroscience B
Science, Technology & Society B

Natural Resources & Conservation

Environmental Studies B

Philosophy & Religion

Jewish/Judaic Studies B
Philosophy B
Religion/Religious Studies B

Physical Sciences

Astronomy B
Chemistry B
Geology B
Physics B


Psychology – General B

Social Sciences

Anthropology B
Economics B
Geography B
International Relations B
Political Science/Government B
Sociology B
Urban Studies B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:

    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor’s degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

Vassar College Highlights

School Information

Phone Number:(845) 437-7000
Type of School:4-year, Private non-profit
Address:124 Raymond Ave, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
Campus Housing:Yes

Students & Programs

Student Population:2,424
6-yr Graduation Rate (Bachelor's):94%
Student-to-faculty Ratio:8 to 1
Distance Learning Programs:
Distance Learning Students*:2,424 (100% of total students)
Degree Levels Offered:Bachelor's, Master's

* Students taking at least 1 distance learning course

Tuition & Financial Aid*

In-state Tuition:$53,090
Out-of-state Tuition:$53,090
% of Students Receiving Financial Aid:77%
Avg. Amount of Grant or Scholarship Aid Awarded:$43,547

* Full-time beginning undergraduate students

Vassar College Programs

See the degree programs that are offered at Vassar College.

Degree NameCertAssocBachMastDoct
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies5
Biological and Biomedical Sciences31
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs1
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services1
English Language and Literature/Letters1
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics7
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities1
Mathematics and Statistics1
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies5
Natural Resources and Conservation1
Philosophy and Religious Studies3
Physical Sciences4
Social Sciences8
Visual and Performing Arts4
Grand total481

* Based on programs that produced 2016-2017 graduates

Online Programs & Distance Learning

See the distance education degree programs that are offered at Vassar College.

Degree NameCertAssocBachMastDoct

* Based on programs that produced 2016-2017 graduates

Tuition & Financial Aid

See what it costs to enroll at Vassar College and how many students are receiving scholarships, grants, or loans as financial aid to help cover the costs of tuition.

Undergraduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees2016-2017
Books and supplies$900

Graduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees2016-2017

Undergraduate Student Financial Aid, 2015-2016

Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students

Type of AidNumber Receiving Aid% Receiving AidAvg. Amt. of Aid
Any student financial aid51277%
Grant or scholarship aid43365%$43,547
Student loan aid26740%$4,900

All Undergraduate Students

Type of AidNumber Receiving Aid% Receiving AidAvg. Amt. of Aid
Grant or scholarship aid1,61866%$42,993
Federal student loans92838%$4,938

Admissions & Enrollment

See the admission requirements for Vassar College. Find out how many students apply and how many are accepted. View a graphical breakdown of the gender, age, and ethnicity of currently enrolled Vassar College students.

Undergraduate Admissions, Fall 2017

Number of applicants7,3062,1205,186
Percent admitted100%38%23%
Percent admitted who enrolled9%13%7%

Admissions Considerations

Secondary school GPA
Secondary school rank
Secondary school record
Completion of college-preparatory program
Formal demonstration of competencies
Admission test scores
Other Test (Wonderlic, WISC-III, etc.)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language

Vassar College Enrollment, Fall 2017

Total Enrollment2,424
Undergraduate enrollment2,424
Graduate enrollment0

Undergraduate Attendance

Undergraduate Gender

Undergraduate Age

Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity

Undergraduate Distance Education

Undergraduates taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Graduate Distance Education

Graduate students taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Vassar College Accreditation

This institution is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Specialized institution accreditations:

    *General information for this school has been gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, a service provided by the U.S. Department of Education. does not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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