As any American, student or not, can tell you: College is very expensive these days. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average tuition and required fees (so excluding things like room and board) at a four-year not-for-profit private school — the hundreds of private liberal arts colleges, for example, that dot America — was $35,852 as of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The academic year 2020-2021 is the latest data the NCES has. We at BrokeScholar wanted to find data that was more recent on the tuition costs, specifically that for the academic year 2022-2023, in order to identify what the most expensive college in the US is. We rounded up the data for four-year bachelor's degree-awarding public and private not-for-profit colleges in the US and determined which school was the most expensive college in the US.
Read on to find out the answer to the question “what is the most expensive college in the US?”.
The Most Expensive College in the US
Based on our criteria for which colleges were included in the overall study, the most expensive college in the US is the MGH Institute of Health Professions. The MGH stands for Massachusetts General Hospital. This school is kind of a special case, because it’s more tilted towards graduate studies, like master’s or doctoral degrees, but it does have a bachelor’s program: An accelerated nursing program that results in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. And the total cost of the program, tuition and required fees alone, is $91,644, for the 2022-2023 academic year.
However, that tuition cost covers an entire program that lasts just a little over a year. Hence, why the NCES lists the MGH Institute of Health Professions as the most expensive college in the US in terms of undergraduate annual tuition and required fees. The full program is close to a year in length, so the full program’s cost was considered as the average annual tuition and required fees.
Looking at more typical four-year bachelor's degrees-awarding colleges, the most expensive college in the US is different. However, the most expensive college in the US is one you might expect, for instance, because it is an Ivy League school, not to mention, located in New York City.
Columbia University is the most expensive college in the US, with a cost of tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year of $68,476. This is the tuition cost for an undergraduate student at the School of General Studies at Columbia University. If you include the Student Life Fee for full-time students, it adds another $755. And that cost does not include any meal plans, room and board, books, etc.
The 5 Most Expensive Colleges in the US
We went state to state, examining various tuition costs (and required fees) at hundreds of colleges. So, we also found some of the other most expensive colleges in the US. For the academic year 2022-2023, the five most expensive colleges in the US include:
Most Expensive College
2022-2023: Tuition and Required Fees
The Bottom Line on the Most Expensive College in the US
In the end, the most expensive college in the US is a fairly expected one — an Ivy League college that’s located in New York City, which has notoriously high costs of living. But some of the other most expensive colleges in the US, such as Franklin and Marshall and Bard College, may have been more surprising to see. Not to mention, Columbia University is the only Ivy League school to rank among the top five most expensive colleges in the US, thus many popular and academically strong private liberal arts colleges occupy the remainder of the list.
Though these tuition costs are among the most expensive in the country, there are more affordable colleges that offer top-notch education too. Public colleges, such as big state schools, tend to have much cheaper tuition costs when the student resides in-state versus all other types of colleges. And many of these large public universities offer excellent education and state-of-the-art research facilities. Fortunately, you can bring down the burden of tuition on your finances even more by applying to and winning college scholarships. Even if it doesn’t cover the full cost of tuition, any scholarship amount helps. And when you find your perfect school, take advantage of BrokeScholar's database of student discounts and coupons.