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CaliforniaAs the nation’s most populous state, it’s not surprising that California also has one of the most extensive university and college systems in the country. There are over 140 four-year colleges in the state of California to choose from, some over a century old. If a higher education in The Golden State is in your future, here are the 50 safest colleges in California.

For the sake of this list, a “college” is considered any accredited public or private not-for-profit institution that offers four-year degree programs. Campus crime stats, graduation rates, and student retention rates were taken from U.S. Department of Education annual reports. Campus crime rates are based on the number of crimes per 1,000 residents.

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#1 Menlo College, Atherton, CA

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Located in the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley, Menlo College is a private four-year college that specializes in business.  The college sits on a 45-acre campus in the town of Atherton and is just 25 miles southeast of San Francisco.  The school was founded in 1927 and has an enrollment of just 750 students.  The school has a freshman retention rate of 82% and a graduation rate of 40.8%.  Menlo College is the safest college in the state of California with a campus crime rate of 0.

#2 Biola University, La Mirada, CA

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Biola University is a private non-denominational Christian university located in La Mirada, CA.  The 96-acre campus is just 16 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and the college has a total enrollment of over 5,300 students.  The university is divided into six schools and offers more than 40 fields of study at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.  The freshman retention rate here is 85%, and the graduation rate is 68.2%.  Another safe choice,  the campus crime rate at Biola University is also 0.

#3 The Master’s College & Seminary, Santa Clarita, CA

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Located in Santa Clarita, The Master’s College is a private non-denominational conservative liberal arts college.  The school offers degree programs in 58 areas of study from a biblical perspective and has an average enrollment of 1,100 students.   The Master’s College has a freshman retention rate of 81%, and its graduation rate is 53.6%.  The campus crime rate here is also 0.

#4 Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA

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Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is located on the oceanfront in San Diego’s Point Loma area.  The school is a private Christian liberal arts college that was founded in 1902 by the Church of the Nazarene.  PLNU has over 3.400 enrolled students and offers more than 60 areas of study for both undergraduates and graduates.  Freshmen here have an 89% retention rate, and the school has an impressive 72.1% graduation rate.  PNLU’s campus crime rate is 0.

#5 Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA

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Located in Pasadena, ArtCenter College of Design is a private specialized college that specializes in a variety of art and design fields.  The college was founded in 1930, owns a 175-acre campus, and has an enrollment of over 1,700 students.  The school has gained recognition for its programs in industrial design, media design, and film from several outlets.  The freshman retention rate here is 80%, and the graduation rate is 64.4%.  The crime rate on this school’s campus is 0.

#6 Woodbury University, Burbank, CA

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Woodbury University is private university located in Burbank.  The school was established in 1884 and has four schools that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees.  The schools are Liberal Arts, Business, Architecture, and Media, Culture & Design.  Woodbury has approximately 1,500 students on its 22.4-acre campus and has residence halls that can accommodate 225 residents.  The school retains 75% of freshmen, and its graduation rate is 44.7%.  The campus crime rate here is also 0.

#7 Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Beach, CA

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Located in Laguna Beach, Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) is a private fine arts college with an enrollment of just 500 students.  Founded in 1961, the school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in several areas including Animation, Design & Digital Media, and Illustration.   LCAD is considered by many leading companies to be one of the best design schools in the world.  The freshman retention rate here is 84%, and the graduation rate is 63.3%.  The campus crime rate at LCAD is 0.

#8 Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA

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Pepperdine University is private research university in Malibu that is affiliated with the Churches of Christ.  The school owns an 830-acre campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has a total enrollment of 7,600 students.  The school offers many undergraduate and graduate programs and is also home to a School of Law.  in 2016, Pepperdine was ranked 52nd among top “National Universities” and 25th on the list of Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report.  The freshman retention rate here is 92%, the graduation rate is 80.4%, and the campus crime rate is also 0.

#9 Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, CA

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A liberal arts college in Aliso Viejo, Soka University of America was established in 2001.  The school has an endowment of over $1 billion, serves just 400 undergraduates, and specializes in liberal arts studies with an emphasis on such areas as Humanities, International Studies, and Environmental Studies.  Class sizes here average 12 students, the freshman retention rate is 96%, and the graduation rate is 84.2%.  The campus crime rate at Soka University is 0.

#10 California Baptist University, Riverside, CA

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Located in Riverside, California Baptist University (CBU) is a private, Christian liberal arts university.  Founded in 1950, the school is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of more than 8,500 students.    The freshman retention rate at CBU is 77%, and the graduation is 58.1%.  The campus crime rate here is also 0.

#11 Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, CA

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A private Catholic liberal arts college, Mount Saint Mary’s University is located in Los Angeles.  The school is considered primarily a women’s college and has an enrollment of over 2,700 students.  Mount St. Mary’s University now has two urban campuses and is among the highest-ranking graduate universities in the western U.S.  The school’s freshman retention rate is 79%, its graduation rate is 63.8%, and its campus crime rate is 0.

#12 Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA

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Located in the Bay Area suburb of Moraga, Saint Mary’s College of California is a private college that is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church that serves over 4,100 students.  This suburban school sits on a 420-acre campus just 20 miles east of San Francisco and offers 40 academic majors through its four schools.  The school’s freshman retention rate is 90%, its graduation rate is 67.5%, and its campus crime rate is 0.

#13 Cogswell College, Sunnyvale, CA

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A private college in San Jose, Cogswell Polytechnical College has just 600 enrolled students.  Founded in 1887, the school has programs that range from Engineering to Digital Audio Technology to Game Design Art.  The student to faculty ratio at Cogswell is just 7:1.  The freshman retention rate here is 80%, and the graduation rate is 31.3%.  The campus crime rate at this school is 0.

#14 California State University – Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

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Located in Fullerton in Southern California, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) is a public research university that is part of the “CSU” system.  With over 38,900 students, the school has the second-largest student body in the CSU system, and it offers more than 240 degree programs.  The freshman retention rate at CSUF is 89%, and the graduation rate is 53.5%.  The campus crime rate here is 0.

#15 University of La Verne, La Verne, CA

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The University of La Verne is a private university located in the city of La Verne, just 35 miles east of Los Angeles.  Founded in 1891, the school has a total enrollment of 7,000 students in its four schools that includes a College of Law.  The school retains freshmen at a rate of 88%, has a graduation rate of 59.3%, and its campus crime rate is 0.

#16 Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

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Westmont College is located in Montecito in Santa Barbara County.  This private Christian liberal arts college was founded in 1937 and serves over 1,300 registered students.  The school offers 26 degree programs and has an average class size of just 18 students.  The freshman retention rate here is 85%, the graduation rate is 75.8%, and the crime rate on campus is 0.

#17 Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa, CA

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Located in Costa Mesa, Vanguard University of Southern California is a private Christian university that serves over 2,500 students.  The school’s programs specialize in liberal arts and professional studies through its more than 30 degree programs.  The retention rate of freshmen here is 76%, the graduation rate is 52.3%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#18 California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA

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A private liberal arts university, California Lutheran University (CLU) is located on a 225-acre campus in Thousand Oaks.  Founded in 1959 by the Evangelical Church in America, the school is now nonsectarian and has over 4,200 students.  CLU’s freshman retention rate is 85%, its graduation rate is 70.1%, and its campus crime rate is 0.

#19 University of California – Merced, Merced, CA

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Located in the San Joaquin Valley city of Merced, the University of California, Merced (UCM) is the newest of the state University of California campuses.  Founded in 2005, the school is a public research university that serves over 6.200 students, offering 21 degree programs through its three schools.  The freshman retention rate at UCM is 84%, the graduation rate here is 56.7%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#20 California State University – Stanislaus, Turlock, CA

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A campus in the California State University system, CSU Stanislaus is located in Turlock and serves over 9,200 students.  The school offers 170 degree programs and is the only school in the CSU system to offer a program in cognitive studies.  Stanislaus State’s freshman retention rate is 87%, its graduation rate is 52%, and the crime rate on campus here is 0.

#21 Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, CA

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Located in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, Otis College of Art and Design is a private art and design school that serves just over 1,000 undergraduates.  Founded in 1918, the school offers four-year degrees in such areas as graphic design, landscape design, illustration, and toy design.  The freshman retention rate here is 81%, the graduation rate is 57.3%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#22 California State University – Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

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CSU Long Beach is one of the campuses in the California State University system.  Located in the coastal city of Long Beach, the university serves 37,400 students and offers over 200 degree programs.  The school is the largest publicly funded university in the western U.S. and was included on Princeton Review’s list of “Best Value Colleges.”   The freshman retention rate at Long Beach State is 82%, the graduation rate is 64.9%, and the campus crime rate here is 0.

#23 Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

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Located in the San Gabriel Valley in Azusa near Los Angeles, Azusa Pacific University is a private evangelical Christian university that serves over 10,700 students.  Founded in 1899, the school offers a variety of degree programs as well as a seminary and Graduate School of Theology.  The freshman retention rate at Azusa Pacific University is 82%, the graduation rate is 64.9%, and the crime rate on campus is just 0.

#24 Simpson University, Redding, CA

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A private liberal arts college in Redding, Simpson University is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  The school has a 92-acre campus, serves over 1,300 students,  and offers over 300 degree programs.  The freshman retention rate at Simpson is 81%, the graduation rate is 47.2%, and the campus crime rate here is 0.

#25 San Diego Christian College, El Cajon, CA

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Located in the San Diego suburb of Santee, San Diego Christian College (SDCC) is a private non-denominational evangelical Christian college.  The school was founded in 1970, serves over 1,000 enrolled students, and offers a variety of Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees. SDCC’s freshman retention rate is 68%, its graduation rate is 41.3%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#26 California State University – Sacramento, Sacramento, CA

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California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) is a public space-grant university in the CSU system in the state’s capital city.  The school has over 30,200 enrolled students, offers more than 200 degree programs, and has a sprawling 300-acre campus.  Sac State retains freshmen at the rate of 83%, has a 42.9% graduation rate, and its on campus crime rate is 0.

#27 California State University – Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

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Located in Los Angeles, California State University, Los Angeles is another CSU school that sits in the University Hills district, just five miles from downtown.  Founded in 1947, the university has a 175-acre urban campus that serves over 27,600 students and offers more than 240 degree programs.  The freshman retention rate here is 82%, the graduation rate is 35.7%, and the crime rate on campus is 0.

#28 University of California – Davis, Davis, CA

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The University of California, Davis (UCD) is a public research university that is the third-largest in the UC system.  The 7,309-acre campus serves 36,100 students, and the school is known for its graduate and professional programs in medicine, law, education, business, and veterinary medicine.  Its  School of Veterinary Medicine is ranked number one in the country.  The freshman retention rate at UCD is 93%, the graduation rate here is 81.3%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#29 Life Pacific College, San Dimas, CA

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Located in San Dimas, Life Pacific College is a private college that is affiliated with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.   The school has an enrollment of approximately 500 students, is a center for missionary studies, and offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in several areas.  The freshman retention rate here is 63%, the graduation rate is 51.1%, and the crime rate on campus is 0.

#30 Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

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Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit university located in the Bay Area city of Santa Clara.  Founded in 1851, the school is the oldest college in the state and serves over 8,700 students.  Santa Clara University offers many areas of study, including a law school, and has been named one of the most beautiful colleges in the country.  The freshman retention rate here is 95%, the graduation rate is 84%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#31 California State University – San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA

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Located on a 441-acre campus in the Palm Desert area of San Bernardino, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is a public university in the CSU system.  The school was named best college in the western region by The Princeton Review, has over 200 degree programs, and serves more than 20,000 enrolled students.  The freshman retention rate at CSUSB is 89%, the graduation rate is 41.1%, and the crime rate on campus here is 0.

#32 California State University – Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA

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Another CSU school, California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is located in Carson in Los Angeles’ South Bay area.  Founded in 1960, the school doesn’t offer doctorate degrees but offers over 65 majors and serves more than 14,600 students.  The freshman retention rate here is 79%, the graduation rate is 29.4%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#33 Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA

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Located in San Rafael, Dominican University of California is a private college on an 80-acre campus at the base of San Pedro Mountain.  Founded in 1890, the schools is one of the oldest colleges in the state, has an enrollment of 2,200 students, and an average class size of 16.  The freshman retention rate at this school is 86%, the graduation rate is 53.9%, and the rate of crime on campus here is 0.

#34 Hope International University, Fullerton, CA

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Hope International University is a private non-denominational Christian university in the Orange County city of Fullerton.  The school was founded in1928, have five colleges that offer both graduate and undergraduate programs, and serves more than 2,000 enrolled students.  The freshman retention rate at Hope International University is 73%, the graduation rate is 45.1%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#35 Chapman University, Orange, CA

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Located in the city of Orange, Chapman University is a private university that is affiliated with the Christian Church, aka Disciples of Christ.  The school has eight colleges on its 75-acre campus and has a current enrollment of over 7,500 students.  The freshman retention rate here is 91%, the graduation rate is 76.1%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#36 California State University – Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA

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A public university in the CSU system, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) is located in the city of Bakersfield.  Founded in 1965, the school offers more than 110 degree programs, has an enrollment of over 9,200 students, and has the only public petroleum geology program west of the Rockies.  The freshman retention rate at CSUB is 74%, the graduation rate is 39.5%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#37 California State University – East Bay, Hayward, CA

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Located in the East Bay city of Hayward, California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) is a public university that is part of the CSU system.  Founded in 1957, the university still operates on the quarter system but will convert to semesters by 2020 and serves over 15,500 enrolled students.  The freshman retention rate at CSUEB is 78%, the graduation rate is 38.1%, and the on campus crime rate is 0.

#38 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

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Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a private university in both the Jesuit and Marymount traditions.  The school is located in the Westchester are of West Los Angeles, is considered one of the west coast’s largest Roman Catholic universities, and has an enrollment of over 9,000 students.  The freshman retention rate at LMU is 91%, the rate of graduation here is 75.8%, and the on campus crime rate is 0.

#39 California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Pomona, CA

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Located in Pomona, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly) is a public polytechnic university that is a part of the CSU system.  The school is the second-largest polytechnic university in the country, with over 23,700 enrolled students, and it offers more than 130 degree programs through its nine colleges.  The freshman retention rate at Cal Poly is 90%, the graduation rate is 52.4%, and the crime rate on campus is 0.

#40 University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

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The University of Southern California (USC) is a private research university located in Los Angeles.  Founded in 1880, the school’s is the state’s oldest private research university, has an endowment of over $4.7 billion, and serves more than 42,400 enrolled students.  Notable alumni include Neil Armstrong, Clint Eastwood, and George Lucas.  The freshman retention rate at USC is 96%, the school’s graduation rate is 91.2%, and the rate of crime on campus here is 0.

#41 University of California – Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

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Located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university that is part of the state’s UC system.  The school offers over 300 degree programs, has more than 43,300 enrolled students, and has several professional schools including a medical school and a law school.  UCLA retains freshman at a rate of 96%, has a graduation rate of 90.3%, and has an on-campus crime rate of 0.

#42 California State University – San Marcos, San Marcos, CA

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A public university in the CSU system, California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) is located in north San Diego County.  Founded in 1989, the school offers over 70 degree programs in its four colleges and has an enrollment of more than 12,700 students.  The freshman retention rate here is 82%, the graduation rate is 47.9%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#43 California State University – Northridge, Los Angeles, CA

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Located in the Northridge area of Los Angeles, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is a public university and one of the largest universities in the CSU system.  The school sits on a 353-acre campus, offers more 200 areas of study, and has a current enrollment of 41,500 students.  The freshman retention rate at CSUN is 78%, the graduation rate here is 45.8%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#44 Mills College, Oakland, CA

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A private liberal arts college, Mills College is located in the Bay Area city of Oakland.  Founded in 1852, the school offers undergraduate programs for women only and graduate programs for both women and men.  More than 65 degree programs are available, and Mills College has an enrollment of 1,500 students.  The freshman retention rate here is 81%, the school’s graduation rate is 61.4%, and the rate of crime on campus is 0.

#45 Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA

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Located in the Bay Area city of Belmont, Notre Dame de Namur University is a private Catholic university that serves over 1,900 students.  Founded in 1851, the school is the third-oldest college in the state and was the first college that granted baccalaureate degrees to women.  The school now offers over 30 different areas of study.  The freshman retention rate here is 77%, the graduation rate is 47.9%, and the campus crime rate is 0.

#46 William Jessup University, Rocklin, CA

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Located in the Sacramento suburb of Rocklin, William Jessup University is a private Christian liberal arts university that serves approximately 1,500 students.  Founded in 1939, the school has a wide range of both graduate and undergraduate degree programs.  The freshman retention rate here is 82%, the graduation rate is 56.1%, and the campus crime rate is 1.

#47 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

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Also known as CalTech, the California Institute of Technology is a private university located in Pasadena. Originally founded as a vocational school in 1891, the influential scientists that have passed through its doors have evolved the institution, which now manages and operates NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The school serves over 2,200 students with an endowment of over $2.1 billion.  CalTech’s freshman retention rate is 97%, its graduation rate is 93.1%, and its campus crime rate is 1.

#48 Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA

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Located in the Central Valley city of Fresno, Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a private Christian liberal arts university that is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Church.  The school has over 3,600 enrolled students, offers more than 60 areas of study, and has a program that guarantees 4-year graduation for some students.  The freshman retention rate at FPU is 83%, the graduation rate is 54.1%, and the rate of crime on campus here is 1.

#49 La Sierra University, Riverside, CA

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A private Seventh-day Adventist university located in Riverside, La Sierra University serves 2,400 students.  The school is considered a liberal arts college, has four distinct schools, and has a 150-acre suburban campus.  The freshman retention rate here is 76%, the graduation rate is 49.2%, and the rate of on-campus crime is 1.

#50 Pomona College, Claremont, CA

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Located in the city of Claremont, Pomona College is a private liberal arts college that serves 1,600 students.  The school offers 47 majors, has an endowment of over $2 billion, and is ranked among the top  undergraduate schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report and Forbes.  The freshman retention rate at Pomona College is 97%, the graduation rate here is 95.7%, and the rate of crime on campus is 3.

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