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Rating: Yellow

Furman University

Introduction: Lapsing Baptists?

Founded in 1826 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the school takes its name from the prominent preacher and southern independence activist Richard Furman. When Furman broke formal ties with the Baptist convention 166 years later, some alumni and professors feared that this move would mark the beginning of the school's secularization—sending it down the worldly path to prestige already trod by once-devout Duke, Vanderbilt, and Emory.

Indeed, over the past two decades, Furman has risen steadily in reputation; once an excellent regional university, Furman is now one of the top liberal arts schools in the nation. Happily, it still maintains many of the things that have made it venerable, such as a close faculty-student interaction and a fairly strong liberal arts curriculum. Students now hail from forty-six states and thirty-one foreign countries, but the college draws a little less than one-third of its students from the state of South Carolina and around 75 percent from the Southeast. Perhaps that is one reason Furman has retained a unique atmosphere and fairly traditional orientation. In fact, if the reports of students and professors here can be trusted, Furman is one of the friendliest schools included in this guide. But the question remains: does Furman's Baptist heritage define the school any longer? The answer, as one professor puts it, is "not much."

Vital Statistics

Religious affiliationNone
Total enrollment2,964
Total undergraduates2,754
SAT CR/Verbal Midrange580–690
SAT Math Midrange600–680
ACT Midrange25–30
Applicants accepted68%
Accepted applicants who enrolled21%
Tuition (general/out of state)$36,296
Tuition (in state)Not Applicable
Room and board$9,170
Freshman retention rate92%
Graduation rate (4 yrs.)81%
Graduation rate (6 yrs.)86%
Courses with fewer than 20 students57%
Student-faculty ratio11:1
Courses taught by graduate studentsNot Provided
Students living on campus96%
Students in fraternities40%
Students in sororities47%
Students receiving need-based financial aid85%
Avg student loan debt of a recent graduating class$27,373
Most popular majorsBusiness/Marketing, History, Social Sciences
Guaranteed housing for 4 years?Yes
Last updated: July 2011

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School Criteria

Click a link below to see other schools that match a particular criterion.

South Carolina
Religious affiliation
Total enrollment
2,500 – 7,499
SAT CR/Verbal Midrange
> 550
SAT Math Midrange
> 550
ACT Midrange
> 23
2,500 – 7,499
Applicants accepted
65% – 79%
Tuition (general/out of state)
$35,000 – $39,999
Room and board
$8,000 – $11,999
Student-faculty ratio
< 13:1
Most popular majors
Business/Marketing, History, Social Sciences
Campus Politics
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