James Madison University (JMU) Tuition and Fees

James Madison University (JMU) Tuition and Fees

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    By Kelly Boyer Sagert

    (Last Updated – 05/2023)

    James Madison University is a four-year public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university as the third best college in the South. Here’s pertinent information about the school’s admission requirements, the JMU acceptance rate, tuition, financial aid, and more.

    Total Cost of Attendance

    In 2022-23, James Madison University tuition and other expenses are as follows:

    •  Tuition in-state: $13,092, a 3.6% increase over the previous year

    •  Tuition out-of-state: $30,152, a 2% increase over the previous year

    •  Books and supplies: $1,176, a 7.1% increase over the previous year

    •  On campus room and board: $12,040, a 4.2% increase over the previous year

    •  Other fees: $4,200, a 4.9% decrease from the previous year

    Total costs, then, are as follows:

    •  Total for in-state, on campus: $30,508, a 4.2% increase over the previous year

    •  Total for out-of-state, on campus: $47,568, a 2.9% increase over the previous year

    Financial Aid

    JMU is need blind, which means that the university doesn’t base admission decisions on a student’s ability to pay. This can help applicants from lower and middle class families who may not be able to afford college costs without financial aid.

    In 2021-22, 58% of first-time, full-time undergraduates received financial aid. More specifically:

    •  Grants or scholarship aid: 31% received this type of aid with an average award of $9,594

    •  Federal grants: 15% received this type of aid with an average award of $5,114

    •  Pell grants: 14% received this type of aid with an average award of $4,630

    •  Other federal: 5% received this type of aid with an average award of $1,964

    •  State/local: 11% received this type of aid with an average award of $5,371

    •  Institutional: 21% received this type of aid with an average award of $7,908

    •  Student financial aid: 36% received this type of aid with an average amount of $9,063

    •  Federal student loans: 33% received this type of aid with an average amount of $5,199

    •  Other student loans: 8% received this type of aid with an average amount of $18,776

    Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.

    Recommended: Scholarship Search – College Scholarships Finder Tool

    The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:

    •  Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.

    •  Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.

    •  Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.

    •  Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.

    Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.

    You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:

    •  US Department of Education – Search for grants from colleges and universities by state

    •  College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS) – A global college scholarship application used by select institutions to award financial aid

    Recommended: The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

    Private Student Loans

    In 2021-22, 8% of JMU students received private student loans with an average amount of $18,776.

    Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.

    What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.

    Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.

    If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.

    Recommended: Guide to Private Student Loans

    Projected 4-Year-Degree Price

    In 2022-23, JMU cost was $30,508 for in-state students. At that price, the cost for four years would be $122,032. (It is worth noting that the cost increased 4.2% from the previous year). Out-of-state cost was $47,568 in total. At that price, four years of tuition would total $190,272. (However, there was a 2.9% increase in tuition from the previous year).

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    Undergraduate Tuition and Fees

    In 2022-23, James Madison University tuition was:

    •  In-state: $13,092, a 3.6% increase over the previous year

    •  Out-of-state: $30,152, a 2% increase over the previous year

    •  Total for in-state, on campus: $30,508, a 4.2% increase over the previous year

    •  Total for out-of-state, on campus: $47,568, a 2.9% increase over the previous year

    How does that compare to other colleges? In 2022-23, the average total costs for four-year public universities in the U.S. was $27,940, making JMU’s total cost higher for both in-state and out-of-state students.

    Graduate Tuition and Fees

    In 2022-23, JMU tuition for graduate students was:

    •  In-state tuition: $11,520

    •  In-state fees: $1,176

    •  In-state total: $12,696

    •  Out-of-state tuition: $28,320

    •  Out-of-state fees: $1,176

    •  Out-of-state total: $29,496

    The average graduate student spends $23,130 on school each year in the U.S.

    Cost per Credit Hour

    In 2022-23, in-state undergraduate students who take one to 11 credit hours will pay $450 per credit hour. Out-of-state students will pay $1,024.

    Campus Housing Expenses

    In 2022-23, housing costs were as follows:

    •  On campus room and board: $12,040

    •  Off campus housing: $900+/mo* for a one-bedroom

    *JMU lists off-campus housing rentals here.

    James Madison University Acceptance Rate

    In fall 2022, 30,727 students applied to the university. The JMU acceptance rate was 78%.

    Admission Requirements

    JMU looks for applicants who took rigorous high school coursework in core academic areas and reviews grades in core areas rather than the student’s GPA. Transcripts are required with the following being optional:

    •  SAT/ACT Scores

    •  Lists of extracurricular activities

    •  One letter of recommendation

    •  Personal statement

    Deadlines are:

    •  November 1 of the prior year for early action, non-binding

    •  January 15 of the academic year for regular decisions

    SAT and ACT Scores

    JMU no longer requires SAT/ACT scores. Students who do not submit them are not penalized. In fall 2022, 23% of applicants submitted an SAT score and 3% submitted an ACT score. The 25th and 75th percentile numbers of those who submitted were:


    25th Percentile

    75th Percentile

    SAT Evidence-Based



    SAT Math



    ACT Composite



    JMU Graduation Rate

    Graduation rate at JMU is as follows for the Fall 2016 cohort:

    •  6 years: 81%

    Post-Graduation Median Earnings

    Graduates of James Madison University earn a median annual salary of $65,172. Compared to the average annual earnings of college grads in the U.S of $55,260, the salary of JMU graduates is 18% higher.

    Bottom Line

    JMU is a respected research university that offers degrees in a number of programs. The school’s acceptance rate is high, and the admissions process is need blind, which can benefit students. Graduates of James Madison University go on to earn a good salary, and the school has been named the university in Virginia with the highest employment rate post-college.

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    Photo credit: iStock/Rebecca Todd

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