James Madison University

James Madison University Enrollment and Financial Aid Information

Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, James Madison University is a public university that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Is James Madison University the School for You?

James Madison University (JMU) offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in a number of areas, such as computer science, economics, biotechnology, communications, political science, statistics and biology, among many others. This public school also offers distance learning opportunities.


  • Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the second best public school in the country
  • The 4-year graduation rate for students beginning their degrees in 2005 was 65%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 40%
  • Students graduate with an average debt of $22,128, which is lower than the national average debt of $26,660
  • Endowment grew 19% between 2010 and 2011, as reported by the National Association of College and University Business Officers


  • Located more than 50 miles from a major airport
  • The acceptance rate of 58% is significantly lower than the national average of 65.5%

Rankings & School Analysis

In addition to its #2 spot among public schools, James Madison University was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the 6th best university in the South overall in 2012. The Princeton Review also named the school as one of the nation's top 50 best values for education. Additional accolades for James Madison University include its ranking among 81 schools designated as 'Colleges with a Conscience,' which praised schools that that had outstanding levels of community involvement.

Students who begin classes at James Madison University usually stay on after their freshman year. From 2010-2011, JMU had a retention rate of 91% for full-time students, per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Colleges and schools at James Madison University include the College of Arts and Letters, College of Visual and Performing Arts, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Integrated Science and Technology, College of Business, College of Education and the Graduate School. With over 70 undergraduate programs and more than 40 graduate programs to choose from, students have ample variety in academic options. Popular majors at the university include business, communication, health professions and social sciences.

Getting In & Financial Aid

JMU is a competitive university, and applicants have a better chance of admission if they've completed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum in high school. Prospective students can apply using early action or regular admission. Both methods require completing and submitting an application with a registration fee, transcripts, SAT or ACT scores and a listing of extracurricular activities. Transfer students must provide college transcripts. Upon acceptance, students pay a deposit and complete their financial aid information.

Students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they can obtain federal, state or school aid, such as scholarships, loans, grants and work-study programs. Incoming freshmen also can apply for merit-based scholarships, in addition to departmental, foundation and private scholarships.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2012-2013) January 15***
Admission Notification Date (2013) Early April**
Application Fee (2013) $50**
Acceptance Rate (2012) 58%**
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $8,808 (in-state), $22,796 (out-of-state)***
Average Financial Aid Package (2012-2013) $6,910***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 60.8%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012-2013) $22,128*
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 2.6%*

Life at James Madison University

James Madison University offers career and academic advising to students and alumni, in addition to providing information to employers. Services include helping students choose majors through academic advising or by using FOCUS, a program available online for self-assessment. James Madison University offers students opportunities for experiential learning through hands-on research and internships. The university assists students with searching for internships and jobs by providing counseling and access to job listing and career fair information. Students can also participate in the 'Recruit-A-Duke' program, an on-campus recruitment program. According to the school website, James Madison University was named as one of the greenest colleges in the country by the Princeton Review. There are over 300 student organizations available for you to join.

JMU has traditional residence halls, learning communities and sorority housing that students can live in on-campus. There are also several meal plans and dining facilities on campus, including Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Small city***
Student Population (2011) 18,633 undergraduate students, 1,822 graduate students*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 41% to 59%*
% of Full Time Students (2011) 95% undergraduates, 59% graduate*
% of In-State Students (Fall 2010) 70%*
% of International Students (Fall 2010) 1% *
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 91% full-time students, 100% part-time students*
Campus Housing Available Yes**
% of Students Living on Campus 36%***
Extracurricular Activities Over 300 student clubs and organizations**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **James Madison University, ***U.S. News & World Report.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 800 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
  • Phone: (540) 568-6211