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The 31 most expensive colleges in America

If you’ve been to college or you’re just about to go, there’s a 100% chance that someone in your life has told you that your college years will be THE BEST years of your life – and it will probably be your parents. As much as them repeating this over and over again is pretty darn annoying (okay, really, really annoying) they do have a point. Which you’ll soon find out for yourself.



There are so many aspects of college that make it the best years of your life. From deciding on your course, to moving day; from meeting new people, making lifelong friends, to living away from mom and dad (result). Being able to eat pizza every night (we don’t know how to cook, alright?!), and of course the social side is pretty epic. But the educational side is equally as exciting. You learn new skills, fill your brains with new information and get yourself ready for the adult world and working life (gulp).

But college can also be pretty stressful – and that’s not just because of the demanding workload. It’s the thing that makes the world go around. It’s the thing that ABBA just loved to sing about. And it’s the thing college students lack. Money. Unfortunately, college is not free and requires hours of slaving away during summer holidays, student loans and maybe even the bank of mom and dad to afford your tuition and living (and coffee and beer). Thankfully, there are some colleges in America that are affordable – but sometimes you want to aim higher. That’s where the most expensive colleges in America comes in. Normally, the most expensive colleges are the most prestigious, and the most impressive when it comes to teaching and putting it on your resume. But can you afford it? Now you can see for yourself…

Middlebury College

Cost per year: $55,950. Believe it or not, but Middlebury College is the cheapest on our most expensive list of colleges in America! This picturesque college is located in the beautiful town of Middlebury in Vermont. This private school specializes in the liberal arts – so you can expect some pretty out-there courses with a big focus on writing and critical thinking (yikes). The price of this college includes tuition fees, room, and board, which leaves you a little somethin-somethin extra to spend on yourself after class (i.e., coffee. Or beer).

Carleton College

Cost per year: $55,998. If you’re looking for something super cultural and creative – Carleton College has it all for you (it seems they rock all of the Cs). Situated in Northfield, Minnesota this little college is like a home away from home, with teachers priding themselves on their personal and close-knit relationships with staff and students. With a focus on liberal arts, this college offers all of the creative tools you could want to further your career, all for a hefty $55,998 per year.

University of Pennsylvania

Cost per year: $56,106. Have you ever dreamt of yourself standing in front of the pearly white gates (okay, they’re black gates) of this Ivy League gem? (Only, like, all the time). Because of its Ivy League status, it’s no surprise that the University of Pennsylvania has made it onto the most expensive college list. Nevertheless, could you really turn this down? Ivy League schooling AND living in Philadelphia? You won’t be able to resist.

Boston University

Cost per year: $56,184. We’re gonna be honest; Boston isn’t for everyone. Many people dislike Boston because of its cold weather and crowded cities – but others live for it. Boston University is one of the best schools on the East Coast and is notoriously difficult to get into. So if you get a chance to go, don’t let it slip away! Yeah, it’s pretty pricey, but this also includes a room and board on campus for a year which is definitely cheaper than getting your own place.

Bucknell University

Cost per year: $56,190. There’s no denying that Philadelphia is a huge college hotspot. Bucknell University is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and is decidedly smaller and quieter than the University of Pennsylvania. However, the ‘private liberal arts school’ name definitely bumps up the price, as this college will set you back just over $56,000 a year! However, Lewisburg is super cheap compared to Philadelphia, and if you’re a literature or English major, there’s nowhere better.

University of Rochester

Cost per year: $56,252. We hope you get a map included in the price of this college – because we can guarantee we’d get lost at the University of Rochester. This impressive research college is located in Rochester, New York and is spread out across luscious grounds. With over 200 majors and 150 buildings (nearly one for each major), this university also boasts one of the most impressive research libraries in the United States. What more could you want?

Union College

Cost per year: $56,289. It’s fair to say that the liberal arts colleges in the US are pretty darn pricey – just like this one. Located in Schenectady, New York, it’s hard to tell where the Union College campus begins and the town of Schenectady ends. Students who attend this liberal arts college love the fact that the town and the university combine together to make one big, giant (but actually pretty small) community. AND you get year-long sunshine. Winner.

Stanford University

Cost per year: $61,932. I mean, we don’t need to tell you that Stanford’s reputation precedes itself (who HASN’T heard of it?), It’s no surprise that their yearly tuition and living costs aren’t exactly cheap. But it’s not just the tuition that’s expensive. Located slap-bang in the middle of Silicon Valley, California the area is extremely expensive to live in – because everyone wants to be there. But sometimes you need to make sacrifices for lawns that immaculate.

Harvard University

Cost per year: $63,025. Considering it’s one of the top universities in the world, we’re surprised Harvard University didn’t rank higher on the list (not that we have that much money anyway. But we can dream). It’s notoriously difficult to get accepted to Harvard, but once you’re there you have everything you could possibly want on one campus – and this price includes the tuition, dorm room and a meal plan. Why would you want to leave?

Johns Hopkins University

Cost per year: $63,750. If you want to make it big in the medical world, everyone knows Johns Hopkins is the ultimate research university in the US. Everything about Johns Hopkins is traditional; from the red-bricked walls and the white spires to the historic clock towers to the tree-lined walkways, to the book-laden library and their expectations – and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be getting kicked out (gulp). So if you’ve got big medical dreams, we hope you’ve got a big wad of cash too.

Amherst College

Cost per year: $63,772. If you’re not a fan of people (let’s be honest; who is?) Amherst College is perfect for you. With class sizes of no more than 30, Amherst is hugely different to large lecture theaters filled with hundreds of students craning their neck to see the projector. This liberal arts college in Massachusetts prides itself on its homely-feel and personal atmosphere. But all of that comes at a high price. $63,772 per year, to be exact.

Southern Methodist University

Cost per year: $63,840. The Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas is often misconstrued as a religious college – but that’s not their main selling point. In fact, religion only plays a small part at this university, and only if you want it to! There’s no pressure here. The Southern Methodist University has recently made a name for itself as one of the best research and development universities in the country. And once you’re done researching and developing (whatever that means) for the day, you can check out Downtown Dallas just down the road.

Pitzer College

Cost per year: $63,880. I mean, this college looks super fun. But that is one heck of a price to pay for a little bit of fun. Pitzer College is a private university in Claremont, California that specializes in liberal arts. Unfortunately (or fortunately) you don’t get the chance to live by yourself here, as all Pitzer College students are required to live in campus housing to continue their ethos of fun and learning outside of the class, too.

Trinity College

Cost per year: $63,970. If you’re looking for somewhere to hide during classes, Trinity College has 100 acres of land to do so! It’s no surprise that Trinity College is pretty expensive, considering it is located in the tree-landed, and well-to-do town of Hartford, Connecticut. The university has a strong focus on both science and liberal arts, so there’s a perfect mix of people within these architecturally sound walls. And for £62,970 a year, you can pay for your room, tuition and board. We would say that was a bargain, but we’re not too sure on that.

Northwestern University

Cost per year: $63,983. When it comes down to it, Northwestern create some of the best students (we’re just being honest). With a top business program and an equally successful athletics department, they rock. However, you have to have a fair few dollars to be able to afford this university and take part in their incredible extracurricular organizations and activities. Luckily, the price of living in Evanston, Illinois isn’t too expensive, so you might be able to afford that second beer after all.

Dartmouth College

Cost per year: $64,134. Yep, it’s another Ivy League school. And it’s expensive. Shocker. Located in New Hampshire, Dartmouth is chock-a-block with culture and history – considering it was established in 1769! This colonial college offers some of the best teaching in the country, but also one of the best locations. Many students chill out after class by taking a hike or taking in the surrounding grounds and gardens. We only wish we had a spare $64,134 to spare…

Duke University

Cost per year: $64,188. Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina and really is a sight to behold (it just looks like one giant church). If you’re looking to study at Duke University, there’s a high chance you’re a bit of a medical whizz, considering this private university is known for its outstanding medical school. Thankfully, the town of Durham is fairly cheap to live in, so it might balance out the hefty tuition fee.

Haverford College

Cost per year: $64,216. Not a lover of teachers? Well, the 9:1 student to teacher ratio at Haverford College may just overpower the expensive yearly cost of study. Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania prides itself on its student-centered learning techniques, and the university allows its students to create their own path and determine their own routes while studying – and it’s a lot of money to waste if you mess it up. So no pressure!

Bard College

Cost per year: $64,254. I mean, how amazing does this look? Bard College is a private liberal arts college in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York. With over 1,000 acres to roam across, this university has had to actually provide on-site student transport to make sure the students get to class on time (we totally dig that). Although the university itself is pretty expensive, the surrounding town of Annandale-On-Hudson is fairly affordable, so you could probably save yourself a few dollars or so by living off-campus.

Scripps College

Cost per year: $64,260. Sorry, gents – but you can’t sit with us (five points to whoever gets that reference). This university is an all-women’s college in Claremont, California and has a strong focus on liberal arts. However, you won’t have too much trouble remembering people’s names here, considering they have less than 1,000 students each year. This college actively encourages young women to expand their minds but to also help in the community so they can contribute to society.

Oberlin College

Cost per year: $64,266. Although Oberlin College used to be women-and-white only, this university has now opened its door to both female and African-American students (woo!). Located in Oberlin, Ohio this college focuses primarily on science and art and is perfect for those who are both logical and creative (how do you do it?) and even offers its students the chance to learn and perform in their own personal music conservatory. Now that’s pretty cool.

Claremont McKenna College

Cost per year: $64,325. There’s no denying the fact that Claremont, California is a breeding ground for liberal arts colleges – as we’ve now got another one to add to the list (although this one is even more expensive). The Claremont McKenna College is a state-of-the-art college that specializes in government and politics, public affairs and economics (wit-woo). Because California is so expensive to live in, most students opt to live on campus for $64,325 a year, including tuition, room and their meal plan.

University of Southern California

Cost per year: $64,482. Who else wants to knock knees with the rich and famous? Because we do. The University of Southern California is located slap-bang in the center of Los Angeles and is famous for its role in numerous films and TV shows. But in reality (because unfortunately, life isn’t like a film, as much as we wish it were) the university is a leading school in research and development and offers excellent resources for its students.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock

Cost per year: $64,519. Goodness, look at that thing. The Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the sister of the less expensive Bard University and is situated in Great Barrington, in Massachusetts. It’s no surprise here that the college specializes in liberal arts and offers its students 4-year courses in the likes of language and literature and social and political studies. The campus is so decked out that many people at Bard College at Simon’s Rock never feel the need to leave.

University of Chicago

Cost per year: $64,965. The University of Chicago is one of the most beautiful AND one of the most prestigious colleges in the US. Unfortunately, all that talent also comes with a hefty price tag. As one of the most successful colleges in the country, it’s no surprise this campus has everything you need. But we hope you’ve got your walking shoes ready, as the University of Chicago is spread out across its grounds to encourage students to embrace nature and get involved in the community.

Sarah Lawrence College

Cost per year: $65,630. Coming in at number four is Sarah Lawrence College! Although we’re not sure if having extremely high fees is something to be proud of. Situated in Yonkers, New York (great name), Sarah Lawrence is just a train ride away from the bright lights of the big city, which is a huge plus for students. This liberal arts college offers wide open spaces and luscious gardens, but also a chance to escape. It’s the perfect location.

New York University

Cost per year: $65,860. New York, New York, it’s a heck of a town. Let’s be honest; nothing is cheap in New York – especially not on the Lower East Side. However, the resources and courses that New York University offer are second to none, and their business, art, and film programs are world-renowned. Most students tend to stick to the on-campus housing; otherwise, the cost per year would dramatically increase. Yeah, New York isn’t cheap.

Columbia University

Cost per year: $66,383. Yup, we’ve risen into the 66-thousand mark! There probably isn’t a soul in the world that hasn’t heard of Columbia University. Located in the elite (and expensive) area of the Upper West Side of New York, Columbia prides itself on its award-winning journalism course and liberal arts courses. Getting into Columbia University is notoriously difficult – and staying in is a whole other matter, as they push their students to the limits! But if you follow their lead, you’re onto a winner.

Harvey Mudd College

Cost per year: $67,255. And here we have it, ladies and gentlemen – the most expensive college in America! Harvey Mudd College is situated in Claremont, California and is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to courses such as mathematics, engineering, and science. Despite its hefty price tag and its full-on workload, the location of the college is beautiful and relaxing, and the perfect way to chill out after a hard day’s study. Just a shame we can’t afford it…