20 Most Expensive Colleges in the US

We often hear the US is crazily expensive when it comes to education. These colleges are certainly not there to refute this claim.

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Education comes at a cost. Unfortunately, this cost is really high in the USA, especially compared with other countries such as Canada and the UK. While there are somewhat affordable options out there, we’ve made here a list of the most expensive colleges in the United States for the academic year 2019–2020.

To make this top 20, we’ve added up tuition and fees, as well as the average cost of room and board where each college is located. Sadly, this year, attending college comes at a cost that is higher than it has ever been before. Do you have what it takes to attend these 20 colleges?

20. Harvey Mudd College

Finally, making it to the title of the most expensive college in the United States is Harvey Mudd College, also another Claremont college. Focussed on science and engineering, Harvey Mudd is competing with MIT and Caltech as the most prestigious engineering institution. Around 1,00 students can call Harvey Mudd their college each year.

Tuition and fees: $58,660
Average room and board: $17,592

Total cost: $76,252

19. Columbia University

Yet another university you’ve definitely heard of before, Columbia is also one of the oldest in the United States: did you know it was established in 1754? Part of the prestigious Ivy League, it can boast to count former presidents Barack Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt in its alumni, but also 96 Nobel winners and 39 Academy Awards winners. Not bad, right?

Tuition and fees: $61,850
Average room and board: $13,618

Total cost: $75,468

18. Tufts University

Located near Boston, Massachusetts, Tufts University was founded in 1852. It has nearly 10,000 students enrolled each year, about half of which are undergrads. Numerous Fortune 500 CEOs also graduated from this university. Tufts is quite known for its a cappella groups and also for having the body of Jumbo the elephant … until it was burned down.

Tuition and fees: $56,888
Average room and board: $14,054

Total cost: $70,942

17. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the most prestigious universities, especially when it comes to economics. Unsurprisingly, 98 Nobel prize laureates graduated from the institution. The list of famous alumni from UChicago is quite impressive, in fact, and reaches in pretty much every domain, from science to literature, philosophy, business, medicine, religion and more.

Tuition and fees: $59,298
Average room and board: $15,726

Total cost: $75,024

16. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College, like Pitzer College, is located in Claremont, California, and it was founded in 1946. The college has gained a reputation for being the most selective college in the USA, with a 9% acceptance ratio for its applicants. Those who are lucky enough to get in obtain, on average, $46,000 worth of scholarships and grants yearly.

Tuition and fees: $54,890
Average room and board: $16,220

Total cost: $71,110

15. Amherst College

Founded in 1821 in a Massachusetts town of the same name, Amherst College can boast having a former president in its alumni, which was Calvin Coolidge. In addition, it should be noted that Emily Dickinson and Dan Brown also attended the institution. Nowadays, the college has about 1,000 students yearly and is often cited among the top 5 best colleges in America.

Tuition and fees: $56,976
Average room and board: $14,190

Total cost: $71,166

14. Northwestern University

Meghan Markle’s alma mater Northwestern University was founded in 1851 in Evanston, Illinois. It is really oriented towards research, and it seems to have paid off: 19 Nobel Prize laureates have graduated from NU. Moreover, its school of communications has trained more famous actors than we can name in this article.

Tuition and fees: $55,153
Average room and board: $16,047

Total cost: $71,193

13. University of Pennsylvania

This is quite an institution. In case you had never heard of the University of Pennsylvania, know that it was founded in 1740 by none others than Benjamin Franklin and that it is in the Ivy League. Yearly, about 21,000 students are enrolled there, half of which are undergrads.

Tuition and fees: $56,134
Average room and board: $15,066

Total cost: $71,200

12. Dartmouth College

Also part of the Ivy League is Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1769, making it one of the oldest universities in the United States of America. Many politicians have graduated from Dartmouth, despite the fact that it is quite a small university (about 6,500 students each year).

Tuition and fees: $56,050
Average room and board: $15,159

Total cost: $71,209

11. Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence is near New York City and was established in 1926 and is a private liberal arts College. If you want access to your professors, this college is just the thing for you since it is known to have a low student-to-professor ratio.

Tuition and fees: $56,424
Average room and board: $14,846

Total cost: $71,270

10. Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is located in University Park, Texas, and was established in 1911 by the Methodist Church. While nowadays you don’t have to be a Methodist to attend, most of its students are affiliated with a religion, although only 14% are Methodists.

Tuition and fees: $54,428
Average room and board: $16,910

Total cost: $71,338

9. Oberlin College

Oberlin is a liberal arts college located in Oberlin, Ohio, and founded in 1833. It was noticeably the first American higher education institution to welcome women and Afro-Americans, only a few years after its foundation. To this day it is one of the most progressive colleges in the country, which makes it one of the friendliest colleges towards LGBTQ+ people.

Tuition and fees: $55,530
Average room and board: $15,862

Total cost: $71,392

8. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private university found in Los Angeles. The university has been involved in numerous scandals in the last few years, the latest being the 2019 college admissions bribery, but USC also came under fire for not addressing sexual assault complains properly. Take that as the proof paying more doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best conditions to learn…

Tuition and fees: $56,735
Average room and board: $14,885

Total cost: $71,620

7. Trinity College

Located in Connecticut, Trinity College was originally founded in 1823 to compete with Yale. While it never quite achieved that, it is still a good liberal arts college. It is noticeably smaller than Yale too, with little less than 2,500 students, most of which being undergrads.

Tuition and fees: $57,460
Average room and board: $14,200

Total cost: $71,660

6. Scripps College

Scripps College is the only college on this list that is dedicated to women only. Just like the aforementioned Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer College, it is located in Claremont, California. Scripps also has the reputation to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the US.

Tuition and fees: $55,662
Average room and board: $16,294

Total cost: $71,956

5. Barnard College

Did we say Scripps was the only college dedicated to women in our top 20? Well, Barnard is also accepting only women, but it is affiliated with Columbia University, so it doesn’t really count, right? Anyway, Barnard is located in New York City and was founded in 1889.

Tuition and fees: $56,157
Average room and board: $16,100

Total cost: $72,257

4. Haverford College

Yet another Liberal Arts College, Haverford College was founded in 1833 and is located in the town of the same name in Pennsylvania. In fact, it is just outside Philadelphia. Originally founded by Quakers, nowadays it’s quite known for its academic rigor. All students are undergrads, and most of them live on campus.

Tuition and fees: $55,036
Average room and board: $15,958

Total cost: $70,994

3. Pitzer College

This very small college—it has a little more than 1,000 students and 116 professors—is located in Claremont, California. This Liberal Arts College is among the most selective in the country and allegedly only accepted 13% of applicants this year.

Tuition and fees: $54,636
Average room and board: $16,264

Total cost: $70,900

2. Duke University

Duke University is a private university located in North Carolina and has around 15,000 students each year. Notable alumni include former president Richard Nixon and numerous current CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Tuition and fees: $56,075
Average room and board: $14,798

Total cost: $70,873

1. Brandeis University

Brandeis University is located 16 km outside of Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1948 and currently has the second-highest Jewish student population in the country—around 50% of Brandeis students would be Jewish.

Tuition and fees: $55,929
Average room and board: $14,906

Total cost: $70,835