Is Tulane University a Good School? (An IN-DEPTH Analysis)

There are over 40 colleges and universities in Louisiana. And even though this number may seem small, some students still have a hard time looking for the right option.

In particular, Tulane University has been one of the big names for years. But is it really that good? Let’s find out:

In short, Tulane meets the criteria to be considered a good school. It is Louisiana’s highest-ranked university and makes part of the Association of American Universities. Furthermore, it registers high student satisfaction levels and keeps improving its graduation rate.

However, there are many different factors that come into play when choosing a college. In order to determine if Tulane is a good fit for you, it is important to be well informed and carefully evaluate every single variable.

And that’s what we are about to do in this article. We’ll start off by taking a quick overview of this college. After that, we’ll analyze the 5 key factors that may influence your decision, which are reputation, student satisfaction, class size, student expenses, and even the salaries that graduates are likely to earn.

So if that sounds interesting to you, let’s dive right in!

Overview of Tulane University.

Tulane University

With almost 190 years of existence, Tulane is a private research university located in the Uptown area of New Orleans. Its foundation dates back to 1834, and it has quickly grown to become a well-regarded institution in Louisiana.

The university offers over 75 undergraduate programs across the following schools:

  • School of Science and Engineering.
  • School of Liberal Arts.
  • A.B. Freeman School of Business.
  • School of Architecture.
  • School of Public Health.

Nowadays Tulane is a member of the Association of American Universities, an elite organization dedicated to maintaining a strong system of academic research.

If you are looking to pursue graduate studies, Tulane University offers the option to receive your undergraduate degree along with a Master’s degree in a condensed 5-year period. These accelerated degree programs are available in areas like Accounting, Computational Science, Psychology, and Physics, just to name a few.

Tulane is also the first research university to establish community service as a requirement for graduation. This is a way of providing students with real-world experience before they finish their program. As a result, graduates can be more competitive when applying for their first job.

Prestige and Rankings.

When it comes to reputation, we can get an idea of how Tulane University has performed by checking out the latest college rankings, which are published on a yearly basis.

Rankings are a useful tool if you want to take a glance at a school’s prestige. And while your choice shouldn’t be based entirely on these numbers, they are still a good starting point in the decision-making process.

In the following table you can see which position Tulane holds in 2022, according to the most reliable publications:

U.S. News42
Times Higher Education71

However, looking at these simple numbers is not really that helpful. They only show you the school’s performance at this moment, causing you to miss the forest for the trees.

Besides, rankings tend to vary depending on the methodology used by the company, meaning that a school that does well in one ranking may have a very different result in another one.

In fact, that’s exactly the problem here. There is a difference of almost 30 spots between both rankings!

So in order to address this issue, we’ll take the average of the last years and visualize the historical trend. The main goal is to evaluate the school from a more unbiased point of view.

Below is a graph with the average rank for Tulane University over time:

Tulane University average national rankings
Average rankings calculated with data from US News and Times Higher Education

Now you have a wider view of what’s going on. Every chart tells you a story. And what we can see here is that Tulane University has been struggling to keep its position in the national rankings.

Back in 2017, this university was standing at an average position of 47.5. However, three years later it went down to spot 62. Finally, it showed some recovery and climbed to an average position of 56.5 in 2022.

In summary, it is a fact that Tulane has been losing positions to other colleges in recent years. Nonetheless, it is still ranking among the top 100 universities in the United States.

By tracking Tulane’s position in the national rankings we were able to see how it has performed as the years go by. And even though U.S. News and Times Higher Education give very different ratings, we managed to get a more accurate view by plotting the average position and analyzing it.

What we just did is a more effective approach to evaluating a school’s performance over a given period.

In the next part of the post, we’ll use a similar method to assess how satisfied students are at Tulane University. So keep reading because this will be important.

Student Satisfaction.

If you’ve been doing your research for a while, chances are you’ve visited other sites to read reviews from other students. And while internet reviews may be useful at first glance, the truth is that they are often contradictory and you might end up more confused after reading many of them.

Besides, there are several disadvantages to this approach. Just to name a few:

  1. There is no way to verify that online reviews were written by actual students.
  2. Fake reviews are a common practice and they are often hard to detect.
  3. Star ratings can be easily manipulated to artificially improve or damage a school’s reputation.

The above mentioned are just some of the reasons why you should take reviews with a big grain of salt.

But don’t worry. If you’re wondering if there is a more reliable way to gauge student satisfaction, the answer is yes. We achieve that by analyzing retention rates, and that’s what we are going to do in this section!

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let me give you some context on retention rates and their importance.

Retention Rates: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

A retention rate is simply the percentage of first-time students who remained at the same school for their sophomore year. It is one of the most accurate parameters to measure student satisfaction because of the following reasons:

  1. It’s calculated with actual data from real students.
  2. The data is reported to the National Center for Education Statistics and it’s hard to manipulate. Any attempt to falsify this information could have serious consequences for the school.

Even if this is the first time you hear about this concept, there are solid arguments why you should pay close attention to it.

A student will be more encouraged to keep studying at the same university if his freshman experience was positive. Accordingly, the higher the retention rate is, the better expectations you can have for your first college year.

On the other hand, a bad first-year experience will induce more students to drop out or transfer to another college, causing the retention rate to decrease. Therefore, this is something to keep in mind before you make your final decision.

There are, of course, other factors that may lead students to drop out, such as personal problems or lack of money. However, colleges that take good care of their freshmen indeed hold high retention rates throughout the years.

Retention Rate at Tulane University.

As of 2020, Tulane University reported a retention rate of 91.98%.

The following chart illustrates how retention rates have varied over the years at this institution. I want you to take a look at it carefully. What can you notice?

Tulane University retention rate line graph
Retention rates calculated with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

First of all, it is a fact that this parameter has remained incredibly high. And maintaining a retention rate above 90% is not an easy task.

In 2013, Tulane had a 90.49% retention rate. A few years later, it reached its maximum at 94.22%. And now it is standing at 91.98%, which is still a pretty high value.

The data for 2021 has not been released yet, but it is expected to be above 90% once again.

This is a clear and undeniable indicator that new undergraduate students are highly satisfied with their experience at Tulane University. The odds of dropping out after the first year are low, and freshmen find a good environment to keep studying at this university.

Graduation Rates: What You Need to Know.

In the previous section, we analyzed how satisfied students are after their freshman year.

But now it’s time to answer an equally important question: how many undergrads actually finish their studies?

We can find the answer to that question by simply looking at the graduation rate of the school, which is the percentage of students who completed their program.

A high graduation rate is a very positive signal, as it reveals that all the time, effort, and resources you spend at this school will be probably worth it.

On the contrary, low graduation rates may suggest that students don’t get academic support along the way or they just feel disappointed over time. So this is also something that you’ll want to take into account.

Graduation Rate at Tulane University.

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Tulane University registered the following graduation rates:

TimeGraduation rate
6 years85.25%
4 years74.83%
Graduation rates calculated with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

In the following plot you’ll visualize the 6-year graduation rate over time. In other words, the proportion of students who completed their program within 6 years after enrolling:

Tulane University graduation rate line graph
Graduation rates calculated with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

This graph clearly illustrates how this parameter is going up over time.

As of 2015, Tulane had a 75.17% graduation rate. Some years later, it showed consistent growth before hitting a plateau around 83%. Nowadays it’s standing at 85.25%, which is the highest value it registered.

In summary, the 6-year graduation rate at Tulane increased by 10.08 percent points between 2015 and 2020. And it will probably keep going up in 2022.

This dramatic change in a relatively short period indicates that Tulane University provides the right conditions for students to advance and graduate within a reasonable time.

Outcomes 8 Years After Attending.

We can dive a little bit deeper and find out the proportion of students that dropped out or transferred from Tulane. For this purpose, take a look at the following doughnut chart:

From this chart, you can tell that within 8 years of entry, 84% of the students had already graduated, while 13% transferred to another college. Probably the most interesting fact is that only 3% of the students dropped out, which is a very small proportion of the entering class.

Note: College Scorecard usually reports older data. For this reason, you might see a slightly different graduation rate in this chart. Nonetheless the information is still reliable since it comes from the U.S. Department of Education.

Class Size / Student-to-Faculty-Ratio.

Class size is another factor that could define whether or not this school is a good fit for you. If you prioritize being able to interact with your professors regularly and receiving more personal attention, you’ll want to find a college with a low student-to-faculty ratio.

This parameter tells you how many students there are at a college for every faculty member. Thus, a lower value typically indicates that classes are more reduced and personalized.

On the other hand, a higher student-to-faculty ratio isn’t necessarily something negative. It all boils down to the type of experience you are looking for. Some people feel comfortable in larger classes, while some others don’t.

What Is the Student-to-Faculty Ratio at Tulane?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Tulane University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, meaning that there are 8 students for every faculty member.

This number has not changed at all in recent years, as shown in the following table:

CycleStudent-to-faculty Ratio
2020 – 20218:1
2019 – 20208:1
2018 – 20198:1
2017 – 20188:1
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

It is important to point out that you should not take this parameter literally. In other words, a 8:1 ratio doesn’t mean that every single class at Tulane will have exactly 8 students.

In fact, Tulane University reports an average class size of 21 students. The reason for this difference is that a great part of the faculty members dedicate their time to non-teaching duties. And this is quite common at colleges with high research activity.

Keep in mind that class size is not set in stone, and it does vary across different courses and majors.

Estimated Student Expenses.

Paying for college is one of the main concerns that will have an impact on your final choice. So in order to make an informed decision, the first step is to get familiar with the expenses you’ll have to cover.

The following table contains the reported Cost of attendance (COA) for Tulane University. The COA is a quick estimation of the amounts you would spend annually without receiving any kind of aid. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses:

Tuition and fees$56,800
Room and board $15,774
Books and supplies $1,200
Other expenses $1,110
Total cost of attendance $74,884
Source: College Navigator. National Center for Education Statistics

This cost can be significantly lower if you are awarded financial aid. For that reason, we’ll dedicate this whole section to take an in-depth look into the questions that matter to you.

Is the school getting more expensive? What’s the average amount that students receive in grants or scholarships?

These are some of the key questions that we will respond in the next paragraphs. So stay tuned.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid.

In this part of the post, we will see how the amount of aid compares to the cost of attendance. Ideally, if the cost of attendance is going up, we want the amount of aid to be growing at the same or even at a higher rate.

But before we get in more detail, I want to make something clear:

This section is only intended to provide a general picture of how the cost and the amount of aid have performed.

All of the numbers presented here are estimates reported by the school. However, every person has a different background, and in case you are eligible for financial aid, the amount will strongly vary depending on your circumstances.

If you need a more accurate estimation based on your personal case, please refer to Tulane’s net price calculator.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the chart:

Tulane University cost of attendance and financial aid line graph
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

As the graph shows, the cost of attendance is going up steadily. If you take a look carefully, you’ll see that it’s very similar to a straight line.

Part of this increase is already expectable, as inflation consistently drives up prices. Nonetheless, there are many factors that define the cost of attendance. Consequently, the change in price from one year to another can easily be above inflation.

During the period we are analyzing, the cost of attendance grew by 18.65%, going from $63,110 to $74,884 in 5 years.

On the other hand, the average amount of grant aid for freshmen experienced a slight decline. In 2014-2015 it was standing at $30,819, and after five years it went down to $28,202, which is an 8.49% reduction.

Even though the amount of aid didn’t show any growth, we still need to know more details before we can draw any conclusion. And that’s the topic of our next section.

Percentage of First-Year Students Receiving Grant or Scholarship Aid.

So far, we know how the annual cost and financial aid have varied over the last years at Tulane University. But now it’s time to find out if there are enough freshmen receiving this benefit.

In the chart below, you’ll see the percentage of new students that have been awarded aid during the last cycles. What can you notice?

Tulane University percent of first-time students receiving grant or scholarship aid
Percentages calculated with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

The graph shows an upward trajectory. In other words, the percentage of students receiving aid is reaching higher values over time.

Back in the 2013-2014 cycle, 70.48% of the entering class at Tulane received grant or scholarship aid. And after a short time it decreased to 68.94%.

However, this variable showed some important changes in the next years, when it rose dramatically and started to hit new values above 75%.

As of 2019-2020, which is the last cycle reported, 78.97% of new students received grant or scholarship aid. This is an increase of 8.49 points over a 6-year period.

This could also indicate that the odds of being awarded aid as a new student are now higher than ever. But remember, if you need an estimation based on your situation, head over to Tulane’s net price calculator.

Bottom Line.

To summarize, in this section we analyzed the environment that students face when it comes to paying for college. Our key findings are listed below:

  • The cost of attendance at Tulane is going up steadily.
  • The average amount of grant or scholarship aid has seen some decrease.
  • However, the percentage of students receiving this type of aid has been rising consistently.

This probably reveals that the school is achieving a more equal distribution of financial aid.

Expected Salaries.

Now we are getting to the final part of our analysis. And we cannot end this post without talking about about salaries. Even though people usually find it hard to bring up this topic, it is something you are probably interested in.

Hence the next question is, how much can you expect to earn after graduation?

The answer to this question is variable, as it depends on the major you selected, as well as the job offers available when you graduate. But the good news is that the U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of the typical salaries that graduates earn in the third year after graduation.

This piece of information is highly valuable for the following reasons:

  • It is calculated using data from actual Tulane graduates.
  • It corresponds to the early stage of their career. At this point, you probably care more about your starting salary than you do about your late career income.

There are other sites like Payscale or Glassdoor that upload their own estimates. And while that information may be reliable as well, it is not as in-depth as the data that the government provides.

Salary Table.

The table below contains the median annual income for Tulane alumni 3 years within graduation, according to the U.S. Department of Education:

ProgramMedian earnings
Chemical Engineering$75,677
Computer Science Coordinate Major$50,733
Economics $55,819
Finance $76,254
Homeland Security$52,736
Political Science$45,607
Political Science / International Relations$38,854
Psychology $43,810
Sociology $51,304
Median salaries three years after graduation. To see the full list visit: College Scorecard. US Department of Education.

As the table shows, Finance graduates are the top earners during the first stage of their career, with a median income of $76,254.

Chemical Engineers are also among the highest-payed professionals from Tulane. Their median salary is $75,677.

Other disciplines like Marketing, Economics, and Homeland Security have also seen competitive annual earnings.

If your program doesn’t appear on the list, you can visit Tulane’s page on College Scorecard to check if the information is available.


So there you have it. Needless to say, this post was meant to be strongly data-driven. Rather than relying on other people’s opinions, we took a logical approach intended to provide a more accurate picture of the school.

After analyzing the most important variables, a story emerged from the data and we managed to evaluate the school’s performance from different angles.

The following are some of our key takeaways:

  • Tulane University has struggled to maintain its position in the national rankings.
  • First-year students are highly satisfied, as we could tell by tracking the retention rate over time.
  • The university keeps improving its graduation rate. Meaning that more students are finding the right environment to advance and complete their program.
  • Only 3% of the students dropped out.
  • The cost of attendance is increasing, while the average amount of aid is going down.
  • However, the proportion of students reveiving financial aid is reaching new peaks.
  • Overall Tulane satisfied the criteria to be considered a good university.

Frequently Asked Questions.

What is Tulane University known for?

Tulane is known for being a prominent member of the Association of American Universities. It was the first research university to establish community service as a requirement for graduation. In addition, Tulane is regarded as the wealthiest university in Louisiana, with an endowment of 1.1 billion.

Is Tulane University a party school?

Tulane University has been regarded as one of the main party schools in the United States, topping the list many times. Despite its reputation as a party school, it does deliver high-quality education in a wide range of disciplines.

What are the most popular majors at Tulane University?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the most popular majors by the number of graduates are Finance (245), Psychology (148), Communication (131), Marketing (130), Neuroscience (129), Political Science (107), and Economics (95)

How many students does Tulane University have?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Tulane University has a population of 13,927 students, out of which 8,537 are undergrads, while 5,390 are pursuing graduate studies.

Is Tulane a D1 school?

Tulane is NCAA Division I and competes in the American Athletic Conference. The Tulane Green Wave are the teams that represent the school in a wide variety of D-I sports, including baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, football, and others.