Most Expensive Universities in the U.S.

In the 2017-18 school year, the average tuition for a student attending a four-year private university was $34,740. With tuition for some of the most expensive schools rising again, that average has surely gone up.

Student loan debt in America surpassed $1.5 trillion earlier in 2018, and it’s a number that continues to grow as tuition rises. As a prospective college student, you need to be acutely aware of your finances, your family’s financial situation and just how expensive your dream college is. The 13 schools on this list, for 2018-19, average out to a yearly tuition of $56,734. Now multiply that by four: $226,936.

1. Columbia University

Yes, Columbia’s yearly tuition is very nearly at $60,000 a year before you even include room and board. Like so many other things in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Columbia is a deeply expensive university to attend.

Does it rank as the best school in the country to go along with being the most expensive one? U.S. News & World Report, in their most recent rankings of national universities placed it third – behind Princeton and Harvard, and in a four-way tie for third with MIT, University of Chicago and Yale. It’s also ranked No. 34 in undergraduate teaching, and No. 18 in undergrad engineering programs. Currently, the school has 6,162 undergraduate students enrolled and accepts prospective students at about a 6% rate.

2. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago had a sizable jump in tuition, eclipsing $57,000 a year for students starting their attendance in 2018-19. Like Columbia, University of Chicago is an expensive school befitting its neighborhood (Hyde Park).

University of Chicago is tied with Columbia, MIT and Yale – three Ivy League schools – as the third best ranked national university. In undergraduate teaching, it’s tied for No. 16 with Boston University and Clemson, and in graduate school rankings the university’s Booth School of Business is ranked as the best business school in the country. Then again, if you thought the undergrad tuition was expensive, your head will spin at the full-time business school tuition of $69,200.

3. Vassar College

Vassar is a liberal arts school in upstate New York that has existed since 1861. U.S. News ranked it as the 11th best national liberal arts school, tied for that spot with four other schools (Grinnell College, Haverford College, Smith College and Washington and Lee University).

In addition to this ranking, U.S. News ranked it as the best college in the country for veterans. Vassar currently has 2,353 undergraduate students enrolled and an acceptance rate of about 24%. The liberal arts school is well known for many of its extracurricular activities, including a school quidditch team. It is also known for being one of the Seven Sisters, a group of northeastern colleges that were historically women’s colleges (Vassar became co-educational in 1969).

4. Trinity College

Trinity College, the liberal arts school in Hartford, CT, has the fourth most expensive undergraduate education in the country at nearly $57,000 in tuition. It is tied for No. 46 in the U.S. News rankings of national liberal arts schools along with Centre College and Connecticut College.

With an undergraduate population of 2,221, many who attend Trinity College do so for its small, more intimate classes. The acceptance rate is 34%. Trinity is one of the country’s oldest liberal arts schools, having been founded in 1823.

5. Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College of Claremont, Calif., has an exceptionally small undergraduate population – currently just 844 students. Many may attend due to a preference for a much smaller school, but the real selling point for Harvey Mudd is its undergrad engineering program; U.S. News ranks it as tied for first with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for best undergraduate engineering program.

Harvey Mudd not only is ranked first for overall undergraduate engineering but is also ranked in the top five for specific programs like undergraduate civil, computer and electrical engineering. Overall, it’s tied for No. 18 in the list of best liberal arts schools. U.S. News also ranks it No. 8 in the list of most innovative schools in the country.

6. Landmark College

Landmark College is a college designed exclusively for students with learning disabilities, attention disorders, or autism spectrum disorder.

Undergraduate students at Landmark can receive a bachelor’s or associate degree. Bachelor’s programs include liberal studies, psychology, studio art and computer science. Associate programs include business studies, liberal studies, computer science and life sciences. Online courses and summer courses are also available at Landmark.

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