We all know college is expensive. From tuition, housing, food, and books, the numbers can add up quickly. According to Education Data Initiative, the average cost of tuition for a four-year public university for a student living on campus is $25,487 or $101,498 for four years. How much can a college student expect to pay for undergraduate and to live on campus at some of the most expensive universities in the world?
In general, the cost of college greatly differs if the university is public or private and if the student is paying out-of-state tuition or in-state tuition. The average cost for out-of-state tuition is upwards of $27,023. Based on estimates for the 2022–2023 academic year, these are the most expensive colleges in the world. Let's just say if you plan on attending any of them, have a college fund ready.
7. Harvey Mudd College — $82,236
Known for drawing applicants seeking to major in Engineering and Science, Harvey Mudd is ranked as the fifth most expensive college in the world. Nestled in Southern California's city of Claremont, Harvey Mudd is a private liberal arts university that specializes in all things STEM—although students with various majors that aren't science-related attend.
Harvey Mudd isn't an Ivy League college but that doesn't stop it from costing Ivy League prices. For the 2021–2022 academic year, it costs $82,236 per year to attend, with on-campus housing accounting for $10,592 of the cost. The demand to keep up with the latest STEM developments is what drives up the costs the most. Although costly to attend, it has been reported that a degree from Harvey Mudd opens recent graduates to salaries upwards of $100,000 (depending on their major).
6. Columbia University – $82,584
Based on numbers for the academic year 2021–2022, it costs $82,584 to attend Columbia University, a private Ivy League college located in New York City with an acceptance rate of only 7 percent. The Pulitzer Prize is administered at Columbia University.
Columbia is undeniably an expensive university to attend with costs for room and board landing at an estimated $15,450. The student-faculty ratio at Columbia is 6:1. In 2020, 21 percent of students at Columbia majored in Social sciences, and 16 percent majored in engineering.
5. University of Chicago – $82,848
With a 7 percent acceptance rate, the University of Chicago lands itself at number five for being one of the most expensive universities in the world for undergrads. Based on available numbers for the academic year 2021–2022, it costs $82,848 to attend this private university. Prospective students who hope to live on campus can anticipate paying $17,685 for housing and dining. Although the University of Chicago isn't an Ivy League school, it has consistently ranked well among the top U.S. universities.
4. New York University – $83,250
For the academic school year 2022–2023, students can expect to pay $83,250 to attend New York University with $20,272 going towards room and board. Located in New York City, NYU has a 21 percent acceptance rate. NYU isn't an Ivy League school, but a degree from this institution is highly coveted.
The housing at NYU is the most expensive on this list since it's located in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The most popular majors at NYU differ slightly from some of the others with Visual and Performing Arts landing at number one followed by Social Sciences, Business, and then Marketing.
3. Dartmouth – $83,802
Dartmouth College located in Hanover, N.H. is an Ivy League school that comes with a price tag of $83,802 for the academic year 2022–2023. With a 9 percent acceptance rate for Dartmouth College, things like housing, food, and books can be $10,881, $7,128, and $1,005, respectively.
The average salary for a student graduating from Dartmouth (depending on the major) is $69,000 and above. Like the colleges mentioned previously, the most popular majors at Dartmouth are Social Sciences, Engineering, and Biomedical services.
2. Harvard – $84,413
Harvard University lands at number three. It's a private Ivy League research school located in Cambridge, Mass. Based on estimates for Harvard's 2022–2023 academic year, the cost to attend and live on campus is $84,413.
The cost for room and board alone totals $19,502. There's also an additional cost of $4,080 for health insurance unless the prospective student is covered under their family's health plan. There are claims that the cost to attend Harvard is so high because the institution is required to pay professors competitive wages to keep them.
1. University of Southern California (USC) – $85,648
USC is the most expensive school in the world for the academic year 2022–2023. The school is located right in the heart of Los Angeles and charges $10,506 for housing alone. Like New York, Los Angeles is also an expensive city when it comes to finding housing. At times, even living off-campus in such a city can be expensive and stressful. Obtaining a meal plan at USC is also up there at $6,930.
Despite the price tag, USC isn't an Ivy League school—it's a private research college. There isn't a direct reason why USC is so expensive, but it's reported that students who attend can expect to make an average of $60,000 six years after graduating.