Top 15+ Most Expensive Colleges In The U.S (Updated)
|Top 15 Most Expensive Universities In the US 2023/2024|
|Top 15+ Most Expensive Colleges In The US|
|Table of Contents|
College is one of the few goods and services where you can tell who is paying $0 and who is paying full price - and most people are paying somewhere in between. So, just because the colleges on the list below have a high sticker price doesn't mean you'll have to pay it if you apply and attend.
Why Are These US Colleges So Expensive?
The high cost of a college education has become a major concern for both students and families. Several factors contribute to this problem, making it critical to comprehend its complexities. One major factor is the rising cost of college and university tuition. Tuition costs have risen faster than inflation over the years, putting a financial strain on students and their families. Additionally, the costs of textbooks, housing, meal plans, and other campus amenities all contribute to the overall cost.
A lack of adequate financial aid and scholarships is another factor contributing to the high cost of college. Many students use student loans to pay for their education, which can result in significant debt after graduation.
The scarcity of scholarships and grants adds to the financial strain, particularly for students from low-income families.
Furthermore, the majority of these schools are regarded as elite, selective institutions. Because they are attempting to provide the same or better amenities (without government funding) as large public universities (with much smaller student bodies), the cost per student is significantly higher. The majority of the colleges on this list are small liberal arts colleges.
1. Franklin & Marshall College
Franklin & Marshall College is an undergraduate liberal arts college that touts itself as one of the oldest colleges in the United States. Franklin College was founded in 1787 with a financial gift from Benjamin Franklin. In 1853 it merged with Marshall College to become the organization it is today.
The college is fairly small, having a student body of just 2,400 students, but it does offer 60 fields of study.
2. Columbia University
Columbia University, located in New York City, is a private research university known for its high tuition and fees. The university is well-known in many fields, including business, law, and the arts and humanities. Students at Columbia University can expect to pay for room and board, books, and other expenses in addition to tuition and fees, making the total cost of attendance quite high.
All qualifying Columbia students receive a financial aid package that meets 100% of their demonstrated need and averages more than $61,000. Columbia does not provide any merit aid, so those who do not have financial need must pay the full annual cost of attendance.
3. Reed College
Reed College is a liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon that was founded in 1908, making it one of the newer colleges on this list. Reed has approximately 40 bachelor of arts programs and a student body of 1,400. They promise small class sizes and a low student-to-teacher ratio.
4. Vassar College
54% of the undergraduate student population is eligible for aid, and the school meets 100% of all students' demonstrated need. This translates to an average grant of more than $51k, making Vassar an extremely affordable institution for those from less affluent backgrounds.
5. Tufts University
Without financial aid, a student at Tufts University in Medford will pay approximately $76,492 per year for their education. At around 16%, this Massachusetts-based university has a slightly higher acceptance rate than some of the other schools on our list of the most expensive colleges. It also has a 93% graduation rate.
6. University of Southern California
Almost two-thirds of current undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, and all students who qualify for need-based grants have their needs met completely. Furthermore, many USC graduates go on to successful careers that are aided by the school's employer/graduate school connections as well as those of the school's well-connected alumni base.
7. Boston College
BC provides substantial financial aid to those who are unable to pay full freight, as eligible undergraduates receive more than $50,000 per year, making the cost much more manageable. The university meets every demonstrable need.
Haverford College is one of many expensive American liberal arts colleges. This campus charges students an average of $75,966 per year, but SAT scores are optional for applicants, making it one of the more affordable colleges on our list. Haverford College, on the other hand, has a low acceptance rate for expensive universities. Only 18% of those who apply are accepted.
9. Brown University
Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is another Ivy League institution. It is also one of the most expensive colleges in America, with an annual tuition of around $85,000.
Brown University's annual tuition is $62,680. Add another $15,000 for room and board and $11,000 for other expenses, and you've got yourself a pretty hefty bill.
Fortunately, Brown provides need-based financial aid and meets 100% of admitted students' demonstrated financial need. If you qualify for financial aid, your tuition may be significantly reduced.
10. Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College is a private college in Claremont, California that specializes in science and engineering. Think again if you thought only Ivy League colleges were expensive!
Harvey Mudd College is ranked first on our list, with an annual tuition of $77,339 per year. And that is only for tuition! When other necessary expenses are considered, the total cost of attendance can exceed $90,000.
11. Northwestern University
Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois and charges a high price for attendance. But it’s also an excellent school for communications studies in journalism majors; many future writers for major newspapers and online news sites go here to get their educations.
12. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in... wait for it... Chicago.
The University of Chicago is one of the world's most prestigious and respected universities. However, it is not cheap, with a year's tuition alone costing around $61,179.00. When you factor in the cost of living, books, and other necessary expenses, the total is quite high.
Living on campus is estimated to cost around $85,000 per year. That is only for tuition and room and board! You could always try to find an off-campus apartment to save money, but good luck with that in Chicago.
13. Wellesley College
Each year, Wellesley College will cost an average of $76,220. This is a women's liberal arts college in Massachusetts with a 20% acceptance rate and a 92% graduation rate. It is consistently ranked as one of the best women's colleges in the country.
14. Oberlin College
The annual tuition at Oberlin College in Ohio (Oberlin) is approximately $75,888. There is no SAT requirement to attend this college, but most accepted students will have scores in the 1280-1480 range. The college is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the region.
Oberlin is among the few colleges that meet 100% of all undergraduates' demonstrated need. Last year, the school provided financial assistance to 80% of undergraduate students, with an average grant of $32,000.
15. Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College was founded in 1926 and is one of the top liberal arts colleges available today. It’s particularly well known and respected for its inclusion of women in academia – female college attendees will find a very supportive culture here that they can use for support. There are 12 programs offered in total, but students can also design custom courses based on their unique liberal arts career goals.
16. Dartmouth College
Tuition Cost: $60,687
Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, is another Ivy League school on our list. It is also one of America's oldest colleges, having been founded in 1769.
Tuition at Dartmouth College is $60,687 per term. When you add up the costs of room, board, and other necessary expenses, the total comes to more than $80,000 per year.
However, financial aid is available, as it is at many of the other colleges on this list. In fact, more than 60% of Dartmouth students receive financial aid.
How to save tuition
There are some grants and scholarships that you can seek for in order to save your tuition.
Scholarships and grants are options to consider. Scholarships are available from a variety of organizations, including colleges, private foundations, and community organizations, and are awarded based on academic achievement, athletic achievements, community involvement, or specific fields of study. Investigating and applying for these scholarships can significantly reduce the cost of attending college.
Part-time employment and work-study programs can allow students to earn money while they study. These options can help with day-to-day expenses, reduce the need for loans, and provide valuable work experience.
Contributions from family members and savings also play a role in paying for college. Beginning early and establishing a dedicated savings account, as well as utilizing tax-advantaged savings plans, such as 529 plans, can assist families in amassing funds specifically for educational expenses.
Popular schools may end up being less expensive for students in general because they have larger student bodies and significantly larger endowments. Paying for college can be a daunting task, but there are several financial options available to help make it more manageable, especially when entering these expensive colleges.
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