Grinnell College

2014 Quick Stats
Grinnell, IA 50112-1690

Phone: (641) 269-4000
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 15
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#17 Overall Score: 84 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Grinnell College is a private institution that was founded in 1846. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,674, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 120 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Grinnell College's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 17. Its tuition and fees are $43,656 (2013-14).

Grinnell College is located in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Despite its somewhat remote location, this "Little School on the Prairie" has a lot to offer. From the G-Tones a cappella group for music lovers to the environmental group Free the Plant for tree huggers, Grinnell’s 100-plus student organizations appeal to a variety of interests. Grinnell’s busy social scene makes up for its lack of Greek life with an array of cultural activities and concerts occurring weekly on campus, from big-name acts to small student groups. A well-known, annual event is the Titular Head Film Festival, which showcases student films. The Grinnell Pioneers compete in the NCAA Division III Midwest Conference. In fact, the Pioneers played some of the first intercollegiate football and baseball games west of the Mississippi. All students are required to live on campus in residence halls located on South, North or East campuses.

The school is known for its strong social activism, ranking top among schools of its size in sending volunteers to the Peace Corps. Grinnell’s social consciousness stems back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, when several Grinnell graduates became influential New Deal administrators. Between 55 and 60 percent of students participate in study abroad programs during their time at Grinnell. Notable alumni include jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, nicknamed "Mayor of Silicon Valley."

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

When Grinnell College framed its charter in the Iowa Territory of the United States in 1846, it set forth a mission to educate its students "for the different professions and for the honorable discharge of the duties of life." The College pursues that mission by educating young men and women in the liberal arts through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas. As a teaching and learning community, the College holds that knowledge is a good to be pursued both for its own sake and for the intellectual, moral, and physical well-being of individuals and of society at large. The College exists to provide a lively academic community of students and teachers of high scholarly qualifications from diverse social and cultural circumstances. The College aims to graduate women and men who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1846
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar semester
Setting rural
2012 Endowment $1,383,856,000


When applying to Grinnell College, it's important to note the application deadline is January 15, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 15. The application fee at Grinnell College is $30. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 36.3 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity most selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 36.3%
Application deadline January 15
SAT/ACT scores must be received by January 15

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Grinnell College is 9:1, and the school has 64.8 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Grinnell College include: Social Sciences, General; Foreign Languages and Literatures, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; and Physical Sciences. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 94 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 9:1
4-year graduation rate 86%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Social Sciences, General 28%
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General 12%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 11%
Physical Sciences 8%

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Student Life

Grinnell College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,674, with a gender distribution of 45.6 percent male students and 54.4 percent female students. At this school, 82 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 18 percent of students live off campus. Grinnell College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 1,674
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Grinnell College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, health service, and health insurance. Grinnell College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Grinnell College.

Students who have cars on campus N/A
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Grinnell College, 72.2 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $32,984.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $43,656 (2013-14)
Room and board $9,998 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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