33 Most Expensive Colleges in America

Eugene Lang College (The New School)

Situated in New York, Eugene Lang College – The New School for Liberal Arts, is the 33rd most expensive college in America as of this year. Once you’ve factored in fees, tuition, room and board, it will cost you around $60,852 per year to get a degree here.

That’s not the kind of money most students have lying around! The school has a unique approach to education, going for a “student-directed curriculum” which means you won’t need to take a ton of general studies subjects before picking your major.

Eugene Lang has several major options, including economics, the arts, politics and theater. They also encourage you to explore a few of these choices before settling on your final major subject. If you’ve got a bit of cash to splash and want to study somewhere pretty unique, this could be a good option.

Tulane University

Next on our list is Tulane University, in New Orleans. It was originally started as a private medical college back in the 1830s, but has since turned into a comprehensive, research university. If you’re planning on attending Tulane then you best have some spare cash lying around, as it’s thought to cost around $60,861 per year; this includes tuition, room, board and other fees.


With nearly 13,500 students at Tulane right now, that’s quite a lot of money the university seems to be raking in. They also were awarded one of the biggest research grants in history, due to their extremely high levels of research activity. If you want to be part of something awesome in the research world, then Tulane University is probably the place to be. If you can afford it, of course.

Connecticut College

This university can be found in New London, Connecticut – and is one of the most expensive in the state. Often shortened to Conn or Conn College, this university started out as a women-only establishment. From 1969 it began admitting men and broadened its courses, on top of raising its fees by the looks of it. If you want to attend Conn College then you’ll need around $60,895 for tuition, fees, room and board; that’s each year, not for the whole degree.


That’s quite a lot of money, but hopefully you’ll come out with a first class degree and a job that’s well worth the student debt. It’s one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, ranking 45th in the US News & World Report back in 2014. There are over 1,000 courses to choose from at Conn College, so you’re going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding your major.

Cornell University

Another New York based university and the first Ivy League college to make it onto our list. Cornell was founded in 1865 and quickly became one of the most prestigious universities in the whole of the US. There are around 245,000 living alumni of this college, with a vast number being Nobel laureates, billionaires and scholars. As you’d imagine, all of this comes at a price. You’ll be expected to fork out around $60,946 each year, during your time at Cornell University – not just on tuition, but on room, board and other fees too.

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That’s not exactly pocket change for most. However, if you want to be a part of something special and attend an Ivy League school, then you’re going to need to pay the price.

Occidental College

We weren’t too surprised to see Occidental College on this list, considering it’s based in Los Angeles. With alumni such as Barack Obama, Ben Affleck and Luke Wilson, you can be sure that this university offers a diverse range of courses. Due to its proximity to Hollywood and its beautiful architecture, the college itself has also been featured in a wide range of TV and movie productions. Those who want to make it big in film should get into Occidental and hope to become an extra at the very least! It’s not cheap, however. You will be paying out around $60,972 in fees and living costs each year you attend this college.


That may not be one of the most expensive on our list, but it’s definitely enough to make you want to start saving now.

Williams College

Situated in Williamstown, Massachusetts, you’ll find the aptly named Williams College. This liberal arts college is renowned around the world, constantly hitting the number one ranking in Forbes Magazine and US News & World Report. It won’t come as much of a surprise to also learn it’s one of the most expensive colleges in America. The average cost to complete a degree here is $61,070 per year which includes tuition and other college fees, room and board.


There’s so many notable alumni from Williams College that there’s a whole page dedicated to them; from politicians through to royalty. You’d definitely be in good company if you can afford (and get good enough grades) to get into this university.


The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn as it is most commonly known, is yet another Ivy League establishment to make it onto our list. It’s also one of the most famous colleges in the whole of America. They claim to be the first university in the whole of the US, having been established in 1740. This private research university is well known for its medical and dental schools, along with its business and law schools. There are a wide range of courses and majors for students to pick from, if they can afford to attend. A degree at Penn will set you back around $61,132 each year, which includes all of your tuition fees, along with the average room and board rates.


This isn’t a cheap university to attend, but it’s one of the best in America. We guess it’s true what they say; you get what you pay for.

Vassar College

We’re back to New York now, which is clearly one of the most expensive states to learn in. Vassar College started off as a women-only college back in 1861 and operated as such up until 1969. With over 1,000 acres of campus and 100 buildings (including Historic landmarks), Vassar College is nothing short of huge. We can’t imagine what the upkeep is like on a building like this, but it may explain why Vassar College is so expensive. It will cost you around $61,140 per year to get your degree here, which includes all of your tuition, fees, room and board.


There are over 50 major subjects to choose from and a flexible curriculum to ensure you learn from a wide range of topics.

Carnegie Mellon University

Also known as CMU, Carnegie Mellon University was founded back in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie. If the name rings a bell, it’s because Andrew Carnegie played a huge part in the American Steel Industry, as well as being one of the most talked about philanthropists of his time. The Carnegie Medal is also named after him! This school is situated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is renowned for its wide range of subjects and a whopping 17 athletic teams. If you want to get into this established school then you best have some spare cash in your back pocket. A degree here will set you back around $61,186 per year including all of your tuition and fees, along with room and board.


Not exactly pocket change for most students in America, but definitely worth the money.

Wesleyan University

This university in Connecticut is renowned for its programs in music, maths and the sciences, along with in-depth graduate research. It’s thought to be the fourth most productive liberal arts schools in America, due to the number of undergrads who go onto earn a PhD. So, how much can you expect to pay to go to such a productive university? Studying at Wesleyan University is thought to set you back around $61,198 for everything you could possibly need per year – not including food or spending money.

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It’s quite a lot of cash to splash out, but those who are keen to earn a degree in music, maths or science think it’s worth it. The school was founded in 1831 and has around 3,000 students each year.

Amherst College

The final of the Little Three Colleges on our list (Williams and Wesleyan are the other two), Amherst is situated in Massachusetts. The school is renowned for its open way of teaching, with the option to choose from 38 major programs and a variety of extracurricular activities. This unique way of teaching has landed Amherst into the second spot for best liberal arts colleges in the country, according to US News & World Report. Forbes also ranked it 9th in the country for the best universities and colleges. Not bad going! It will cost you around $61,206 per year at Amherst, which will leave you with quite a large amount of student debt at the end.


As you’d expect with such a high-ranking school, the fees here aren’t exactly cheap.

Tufts University

Another university in Massachusetts, this time in Medford and Somerville. This private research university has four campuses in total, including one on the French Alps! Unsurprisingly, Tufts is known for its international outlook and opportunities to study abroad. This school is constantly in the top lists for best research facilities and universities, so it doesn’t surprise us that the acceptance rate is less than 20% – despite it costing so much to study here. Each year you can expect to pay around $61,277 to gain your degree.


We expect this to be quite a bit more if you decide to study on their campus in the French Alps! However, if you’ve always wanted to be surrounded by snow and mountains while you study, it has to be worth every cent.

John Hopkins University

JHU or John Hopkins is a private research university that can be found in Baltimore; aptly named after its initial benefactor, John Hopkins. He donated $7 million to help set up the John Hopkins Hospital, and was one of the biggest donations of its time. This was also one of the first colleges to mix learning with research, making it the first ever research university in America. This establishment is thought to be one of the best universities in the world; constantly making it into the top lists. The medical and nursing schools are one of the main reasons students fork out huge sums of cash to study here. John Hopkins University will set you back around $61,277 each year.


When you consider how long it takes to qualify as a doctor, that’s a huge sum of money to spend on education. However, your chances of getting a high-paying job after graduating are extremely high.

Drexel University

This private research university has campuses in Philadelphia and Sacramento, with nearly 30,000 students in total. Drexel is probably most famous for the unique co-op educational program that it puts into practice, constantly being voted as one of the best in its field. It’s also renowned for offering students 18 month working placements with big name companies such as Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. Put plainly, if you want a decent job then Drexel is the place to be. You’re going to need a decent job at the end of your university life if their average yearly costs are anything to go by. You can expect to pay around $61,383 a year, to study here.


That includes your tuition and fees, along with room and board.

Fordham University – Rose Hill

Next up on our list is the Rose Hill campus at Fordham University. Situated in New York, this university is renowned for its degrees in law, education, business, English and history. Their humanities programs are also known as some of the best in the world, with many of their graduates going on to becoming well paid in this industry. The Rose Hill campus is just one of the three that make up Fordham University, with a total of around 15,000 spread across them all. If you’re planning on studying and living at Rose Hill then you’re going to need a bit of spare cash to do so; $61,472 a year to be exact.


This isn’t the most expensive Fordham University campus, but it’s still one of the most expensive in America.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

RPI, as it’s known for short, is yet another New York based university to make it onto our list. We have a feeling the room and board at these colleges are pushing them up the charts! There are two other campuses in Connecticut, which we have a feeling would be cheaper if you wanted to study there. It’s thought that students at RPI will spend around $61,529 a year on tuition, fees and board.


Several other colleges and applied science departments have been modeled on RPI, proving that it’s one of the best universities out there. With its own business incubator and around 140 degree programs, this is the college for those who want to experience a wide range of learning opportunities.

Haverford College

This is one of the smallest colleges on our list, that focuses solely on undergraduate study. With an enrolment of 1,190 students Haverford College is a tough one to get into. However, it’s well worth it if you can. Numerous scholars and even Nobel Prize winners are former alumni of this school. Situated in Pennsylvania, this private liberal arts college was first founded in 1833 as a Quaker school for young men. It will cost the average student around $61,564 each year to attend Haverford and get their degree.


Since the 1970s and 80s women were allowed to attend and the Quaker aspect of the school was sidelined. Although this is no longer a Quaker school, there are some philosophies which are in keeping with the religion. We’re not sure that the price is one of them!

University of Southern California

Who hasn’t heard of USC? This is easily one of the most renowned colleges on our list, particularly as it has produced the fourth biggest number of billionaire ex-students in the world. Now that is an accolade to be proud of! It’s main campus is in Los Angeles, which we think explains why the price is so high. This university is a not-for-profit establishment so it’s likely the majority of the $61,614 yearly expenses go on room and board.


LA isn’t exactly the cheapest place to live. Along with dozens of billionaire alumni, USC also boasts 6 Nobel Laureates, 119 Emmy Award Winners, one Turing award winner and countless scholars. There’s no denying that this is one of the most prestigious universities in the country – and so it’s worth every single cent. Hopefully.

Northwestern University

This private research university in Illinois boasts over 120 undergrad degrees and nearly 150 graduate degrees, for students across America (and globally, too). Unfortunately, it also has a less than 13% acceptance rate, so you may have to work seriously hard in order to nab one of their 20,000 places. Their huge research facility attracts around $550 million in sponsorship every single year, with a strong focus on their doctoral program. Along with being one of the most selective universities in the country, it’s also one of the best when it comes to sports. So how much does such a selective and renowned university like this set you back? An estimated $61,640 per year in fees, tuition, room and board.


Their the only private university left in the Big Ten Conference, which they helped establish.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock

Bard College is a completely unique learning establishment, as it’s classed as an “early college.” Instead of students joining once they’ve graduated from high school, this university only accepts those in tenth or eleventh grade. This is the only college in America that offers 4 year programs for those who wish to start university early; although many leave to go onto other colleges after a 2 year program. This private liberal arts college can be found in New York (big surprise) and only houses around 400 students. While an early college is great for those with brains, they’re also expected to have some serious cash too. Each year at Bard College can set you back around $61,735.


That’s not exactly the kind of money most tenth or eleventh graders have to hand, so you best hope for rich parents.

Pitzer College

We’re heading back to Los Angeles with this one (there definitely seems to be a trend here). It’s of the newest colleges on our list, having been established in 1963, but don’t let age put you off. It’s quickly become one of the most prestigious universities in the whole of America, with an acceptance rate of just 12.9% as of this year. Pitzer is one of the Claremont Colleges, which means that students can take their lessons in one of the other undergraduate schools – you’ll see some more of these further on in our list. Either way, each year will cost you around $61,750 for tuition, fees, room and board.


If you want to be a part of one of the most exclusive colleges in America then you are going to need to cough up some serious cash. We don’t know whether this is all down to it being LA again, or whether Pitzer has some seriously high fees.

Trinity College (CT)

This private liberal arts college is known as one of the Little Ivies due to its membership in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Trinity College is the second oldest college in the whole of Connecticut, having been established in 1823. In fact, the only older school in the state is Yale. As long as you have the money to pay, that is. It’s thought to cost around $61,756 per year to attend this university.


It’s known as one of the best feeder schools in the country and has consistently been ranked highly in liberal arts college tables. A school packed full of traditions and extracurricular activities, it may not be the most renowned, but it definitely has plenty to offer.

Oberlin College

This college is famous for plenty of reasons. One of the main was that it was the first American school to regularly admit black students, along with females. Oberlin College has always made waves in the way that it treats its students and its approach to learning. Music is a big part of the school, with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music being one of the oldest in the world. Situated in Ohio, around 2,900 students attend this college and live in its small town campus. It’s the 11th most expensive college in America, costing around $61,788 per year for students to attend.


This private liberal arts college may sound like a dream come true, but it comes with a cost.

Scripps College

Another one of the Claremont Colleges to make it onto the list, this liberal arts university is a female-only establishment situated in California. It was founded in 1926 by Ellen Browning Scripps who was renowned for her part in women’s rights, education and philanthropy. While it may be unusual to have a female-only college nowadays, that hasn’t stopped Scripps College from constantly topping charts and leaderboards. Not just for education it seems, but also as one of the top 10 most expensive colleges in the country. If you want to study here then firstly you need to be female (obviously), and then you’re going to need a lot of money. $61,940 a year, to be exact.


With some of the most renowned women in business, politics and law as alumni, it seems to be worth the student debt.

Dartmouth College

Another private Ivy League school to make it onto the list – we thought we’d see more, if we’re honest. Dartmouth College is a private research university situated in New Hampshire, with around 6,400 students in total; making it the smallest Ivy League university in America. Established in 1769, it is one of the 9 colleges that were formed before the American Revolution. Strong campus traditions, excellent sports teams, and a popular Greek system are just some of the reasons this school is so popular. With an acceptance rate of just over 10% it is also one of the most exclusive universities in America. All of this adds up to one very important factor… The price. You can expect to pay $61,947 on average per year if you want to attend Dartmouth College.


Ivy League or not, this is one expensive college!

Bard College

Not to be confused with the Bard College at Simon’s Rock, which we mentioned earlier – although it is a division of this college. Bard is a private, liberal arts college overlooking the Hudson River in New York. Focusing on art and science, this college offers around 40 major programs for students to choose from. It constantly scores high in a variety of different rankings, including being the 9th best for Return on Investment. So, although it may cost quite a lot to attend Bard College, chances are you’re going to make your money back. And at $62,012 per year, you really want to be making that money back pronto!


Fordham University – Lincoln Center

This is probably one of the most recognisable campuses when it comes to Fordham University – if you’ve watched any films about music or performances in America, then chances are they’re all held at Lincoln Center. It’s just one of those places that everyone knows. We already know that Fordham University is one of the most expensive in America, as another one of the campuses has already made it onto the list. Lincoln Center is quite a bit more expensive, however, which we think is probably to do with extra fees, room and board. After all, it’s the same university so the tuition will be exactly the same. If you want to study here then you’re looking at a cost of $62,192 each year, which isn’t exactly pocket change for most.

However, it does mean you’ll be at the world renowned Lincoln Center.

Claremont McKenna College

This is one of the most exclusive schools on our list, with an acceptance rate of under 10%. As you may have guessed by the name, it’s also one of the Claremont Colleges which means that students can choose one of the other Claremont Colleges to study in as well. It has been named as the second happiest university in America when it comes to their students, along with the 8th best liberal arts colleges in the country. There’s a strong focus on public affairs, economics and government at this school, with some extremely impressive notable alumni. So, with all these factors to consider, how much does it cost to study at Claremont McKenna College? $62,215 per year, for tuition, fees, room and board.


Claremont McKenna College students are still the second happiest in America despite all that debt. Impressive!

University of Chicago

As we get further down this list, the acceptance rates seem to be dwindling – while the prices rise. If you want to attend this prestigious Chicago based university then be prepared for a rejection letter. This year’s acceptance rate was a measly 7.8% – ouch! It’s around $62,458 per year for your basics.


This private research university is thought to be one of the best in the world, with a huge number of notable alumni passing through its doors. There have been 89 Nobel Laureates, 9 Fields Medalists, 13 billionaires, dozens of scholars, and plenty of important politicians from America and around the world. No wonder a place at the University of Chicago is so hard to come by! If you do manage to get an acceptance letter then be prepared to spend a fortune each year you’re studying here.

Columbia University

Columbia University is situated in Upper Manhattan, New York, which should already give you a clue as to how expensive it’s going to be. After all, the cost of living here isn’t exactly cheap. It’s a private Ivy League research university that has a total of 20 schools and several international research outposts. The pattern of acceptance seems to be the same with this one, as just 6.9% of applicants were let in last year! It costs $63,440 a year to attend Columbia University!


However, when you look at the alumni it’s not hard to see why people want to study at this school. There have been 29 Academy Award winners, 3 US Presidents, 5 United States Founding Fathers, 20 living billionaires, and a whopping 101 Nobel Prize laureates.

New York University

Oh, another university in New York. We’re so surprised (not). This one bucks the trend by having an acceptance rate of 35%, so why is it that the costs are so high? NYU is a private research university that’s based in New York City; campuses and facilities are located in Greenwich Village, Upper East Side, Downtown Brooklyn, and even on Wall Street. We have a feeling that the cost of living here is probably what has pushed the yearly price up to a staggering $63,472!


It could also be due to the dozens of Nobel Prize winners and other renowned alumni, that this university realises it can charge a bit more than the rest. It also seems to produce some of the wealthiest graduates in the world, meaning that you can start to pay off that student debt pretty quickly when you leave.

Harvey Mudd College

A private liberal arts college situated in California, as another one of the Claremont Colleges. Although we know it’s an incredible school, it seems to buck the trend of some of the other most expensive colleges in America. It’s not in New York, it doesn’t have a particularly low acceptance rate, and there don’t seem to be that many renowned alumni. However, this school focuses on engineering, maths and science, which is where that high price comes in. While it may cost $64,427 a year to attend Harvey Mudd, there is something quite spectacular that justifies this price.


Graduates of this college earn the highest salaries among students of any school in the whole of the United States, according to PayScale. So, while it may be expensive to study here, you’re bound to get an extremely well paying job to clear that student debt.

Sarah Lawrence College

The most expensive college in America award goes to… Sarah Lawrence College, situated in New York (surprise, surprise). This liberal arts college sets extremely high academic standards and models much of its teaching on the Oxford and Cambridgeshire system in the UK. While it may constantly be in the top 100 schools in America, it isn’t exactly as notable as some of the others on our list. The acceptance rate is 62% which we think is probably because most people can’t afford to go there. There aren’t a huge number of famous or prestige alumni that have come out of the school and quite frankly we can’t see what all the fuss is about. Sure, it’s a good school, but for $65,480 a year? We think there are some that are worth that money more.