30 Most Expensive Colleges In 2024

Are you curious about the most expensive colleges to attend in 2024? Well, you’re not alone. The sticker price of some of these colleges is extreme.

College is one of the few good and services where you know that people are paying $0 to attend, and you know that people are paying full price – and most people are paying somewhere in between. 

Even though the colleges in the list below have a high sticker price, that doesn’t mean you personally will pay that price if you decide to apply and attend.

What are the most expensive colleges to attend? Check out our list of 30 expensive universities below based on their tuition and fees for the 2024-2025 school year**.

Most Expensive Colleges List

Here is the list of the top 30 most expensive colleges and universities in the United States based on their published tuition and fees for a single year:

Most Expensive Colleges In 2024 Infographic

More Information About The Most Expensive College List

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2. Franklin & Marshall College

4. University of Southern California

15. Claremont McKenna College

17. Wake Forest University

18. George Washington University

28. Sarah Lawrence College

30. University of Rochester

It’s easy to notice that all of these colleges and universities are charging students over $65,000 per year to attend. That equates to over $260,000 for an undergraduate degree, assuming that the student is paying full price. These numbers don’t include room, board, and other expenses like textbooks.

All-in-all, students attending these schools and paying full price could see a total cost of attendance in excess of $100,000 per year. And remember, the price will usually rise each year as well.

Here’s a more detailed look at each school.

1. Kenyon College

Tuition Cost: $71,196

Kenyon College is a private liberal arts college located in Ohio. It’s one of the oldest colleges in Ohio, founded in 1824. This school is consistently ranked on lists like US News Best Liberal Arts Colleges.

The college only has about 1,885 undergraduate students, but still boasts roughly 50 majors.

2. Franklin & Marshall College

Tuition Cost: $70,566

Franklin & Marshall College is an undergraduate liberal arts college that touts itself as one of the oldest colleges in the United States. Franklin College was founded in 1787 with a financial gift from Benjamin Franklin. In 1853 it merged with Marshall College to become the organization it is today.

The college is fairly small, having a student body of just 2,400 students, but it does offer 60 fields of study.

3. Colorado College

Tuition Cost: $70,224

Colorado College is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1874. Despite its price tag, it’s considered a highly selective college, with just about 11% of applicants admitted. The college has roughly 80 majors and minors, with economics being of the largest enrollment.

The college has about 2,000 undergraduate students.

4. University of Southern California

Tuition Cost: $69,904

The University of Southern California, or USC, is well known both for its academic programs and for its football team, which dominates the fields each year. Go to this school if you’re interested in film and photography, as USC’s programs for both are well-ranked and regarded as the best in their respective industries.They also have one of the largest sports programs of schools on this list.

Their current undergraduate enrollment is roughly 20,700 students, making them one of the largest colleges on this list.

5. Haverford College

Tuition Cost: $69,884

Haverford College was founded in 1833 in Haverford, PA. This liberal arts college focuses on an education based on discussion and debate of ideas. With just 1,400 students, this small liberal arts school still has over 50 majors to choose from.

6. Amherst College

Tuition Cost: $69,820

Amherst College was founded in 1821, and is exclusively an undergraduate liberal arts college. This highly selective college has 42 majors in an open curriculum – where students can essentially design their own interdisciplinary major. 

There are currently about 1,900 students enrolled.

7 Colby College

Tuition Cost: $69,600

Colby College is a private liberal arts college located in Maine that was founded in 1813. Despite its price tag, the college has just a 6% admission rate, highlighting its generous financial aid packages and waiving other common admissions practices.

There are currently about 2,000 students enrolled in 54 fields of study.

8. Pepperdine

Tuition Cost: $69,130

Pepperdine is a private university that started in Southern California, but now has several locations worldwide. The undergraduate program offers 46 majors and 47 minors.

This college currently has about 3,600 undergraduate students and 6,300 graduate students.

9. Reed College

Tuition Cost: $69,040

Reed College is a Portland, OR liberal arts college that was founded in 1908 (surprisingly making that one of the newer colleges on this list). Reed has roughly 40 bachelor of arts programs, and has a student population of 1,400. They promise small class sizes and a low teacher to student ratio.

10. Tulane University

Tuition Cost: $68,678

Tulane (officially Tulane University of Louisiana) is a private university located in New Orleans. It was founded in 1834, and is organized into 10 schools focused on individual subjects, such as liberal arts, sciences, and more.

The school has 8,600 undergraduate students.

11. Carleton College

Tuition Cost: $68,457

Carleton College is a private liberal arts college located in Minnesota. It was founded in 1866 and has 33 different major programs, as well as a program that allows students to design their own major.

The college has 2,100 undergraduate students.

12. Columbia University

Tuition Cost: $68,400**

Columbia University is one of the oldest colleges in America, as it was founded in 1754, and one of the most expensive. As one of the original nine Colonial Colleges in the US, it has a long history and offers courses and majors in many different fields of study, ranging from ancient studies to anthropology to English to economics to business and more.

Keep in mind that Columbia University’s acceptance rate is quite low, hovering around 5.5%. You’ll need to be quite competitive to get in. If you are accepted, you can hopefully benefit from financial aid opportunities, including an annual grant of over $66,000 for international students.

Note: Columbia also makes our list of the colleges with the largest scholarships.

13. Cornell University

Tuition Cost: $68,380

Cornell is a private Ivy-League university based in Ithaca, New York that was founded in 1865. The school is organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate colleges. The programs are highly selective, with an undergraduate admissions rate of roughly 7%.

The university has roughly 16,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students.

14. Harvey Mudd College

Tuition Cost: $68,262

Harvey Mudd College is widely considered to be one of the most expensive universities in the US and one of the priciest colleges worldwide. That said, there’s a lot to like about this university, namely the fact that it produces tons of STEM Ph.D. graduates (because its STEM programs are renowned and well-rated). 

Of particular note is the top-tier engineering program, which is among the best in the country. If you want to go to school for science, mathematics, and information technology, Harvey Mudd could be a great bet (provided you have the financial means to attend).

15. Claremont McKenna College

Tuition Cost: $67,980

Claremont McKenna College is a political science and business management college first and foremost, though it also has a very strong liberal arts department. Therefore, this could be a great university to attend if you are interested in any of these areas. In addition, Claremont McKenna College has 11 distinct research centers, so it’s ideal if a future of professional research sounds right for you.

16. Macalester College

Tuition Cost: $67,874

Macalester College is a private liberal arts college located in Minnesota. This college only serves undergraduates, and currently has roughly 2,100 students. The college offers 39 majors, as well as a program that allows students to design their own major and navigate their own fields of study.

17. Wake Forest University

Tuition Cost: $67,642

Wake Forest is a private university that was founded in 1834 and is located in North Carolina. The college has 40 undergraduate majors, and also boasts a strong athletic program with multiple NCAA Division I sports.

The college has roughly 5,400 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students.

18. George Washington University

Tuition Cost: $67,420

George Washington University is a private, federally-charted, university located in Washington, D.C. It was originally founded in 1821 as Columbian College, was was renamed to its current form in 1904. The college boasts 71 degree programs, and currently has over 11,000 undergraduate students.

19. Yale

Tuition Cost: $67,250

Yale is a private Ivy League college that was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest college in the United States. The university is organized into 14 colleges. Yale is notable for the number of Nobel Laureate graduates as well as other famous alumni.

The college has roughly 6,500 undergraduate and 5,300 graduate students.

20. Middlebury College

Tuition Cost: $67,100

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Vermont. It was founded in 1800, and currently offers 45 majors. The college has an interesting calendar of two four-course semesters in the autumn and spring plus what is known as a “Winter Term” session in January. The Winter Term allows students to pursue independent research or complete an internship.

There are roughly 2,700 undergraduate students.

21. Wellesley College

Tuition Cost: $66,880

Wellesley College is a well-known liberal arts school in Massachusetts, and it’s particularly well-regarded as a women’s school. Consider attending here if you’re a woman and want a female-oriented education that will help you secure competitive professional spots in the future.

22. Vassar College

Tuition Cost: $66,870

Vassar is an independent liberal arts college located in New York that was founded in 1861. It started as a women’s college, but it opened its doors to men in 1969.

Vassar College is a relatively small school, with just 2,500 students spread across 51 different majors.

23. Wesleyan University

Tuition Cost: $66,716**

Wesleyan is a private liberal arts college located in Connecticut. It was founded in 1831 as a men’s college, but by 1970 it was co-educational. Undergraduate students have the option of 45 different major concentrations.

Wesleyan University has roughly 2,800 undergraduate students.

24. Boston University

Tuition Cost: $66,670

Boston University was founded in 1838 in Boston, MA. Don’t confuse Boston University with Boston College – though both are on this list. Boston University is the second-largest college on this list, boasting 17,500 undergraduate students and another 17,000 graduate students.

25. Colgate University

Tuition Cost: $66,622**

Colgate University is a private liberal arts college located in New York. It was founded in 1819, and is consistently ranked as one of the most selective colleges in the United States. The college offers 56 undergraduate majors.

There are currently about 3,200 undergraduate students enrolled.

26. Boston College

Tuition Cost: $66,410**

Boston College was founded in 1863 in Boston, MA. Today, it has an undergraduate, graduate, and professional school centered around its liberal arts programs. Boston College is one of the larger schools on this list, with an enrollment of 15,000 students across 50 fields of student. They also have one of the larger sports program compared to other schools on this list.

27. Tufts University

Tuition Cost: $66,358**

Located in Medford, Massachusetts, Tufts University is one of the best art schools in America. Even with the higher sticker price, it could be an excellent choice if you have financial need, as Tufts may pay for your entire education if you demonstrate good grades. 

28. Sarah Lawrence College

Tuition Cost: $66,292

Sarah Lawrence College was founded in 1926 and is one of the top liberal arts colleges available today. It’s particularly well known and respected for its inclusion of women in academia – female college attendees will find a very supportive culture here that they can use for support. There are 12 programs offered in total, but students can also design custom courses based on their unique liberal arts career goals.

29. Dartmouth College

Tuition Cost: $60,687

Dartmouth College is the ninth oldest college in the US, and it was established in 1769. It offers many top-rated programs and majors in topics like African-American studies, anthropology, and neuroscience. If you demonstrate significant financial need, Dartmouth may pay for 100% of your expenses, including student employment or work-study programs.

30. University of Rochester

Tuition Cost: $60,550

University of Rochester is another of the larger colleges on this list. It was founded in 1850, and currently has a student enrollment of 12,000. This college boasts a huge variety of programs, including art and music, engineering, sciences, medicine and dentistry, business, and education. With over 200 academic programs, there are lots of opportunities for students.

Remember: You Don’t Have To Pay The Sticker Price

While the sticker price of these colleges can be scary – the top 20 most expensive colleges all have prices over $65,000 per year for just tuition – it’s important to remember that you don’t have to pay full price.

In fact, only 38% of undergraduate students pay full price according to research by Mark Kantrowitz. And with that in mind, you also know there are a number of students paying $0 due to scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.

So even though the list price may be $65,000, most students will be paying less than that amount every year. 

Related: How To Pay For College

Tuition Free College

On the flip side of this equation, there are quite a few tuition-free colleges available to students. Tuition-free doesn’t mean they are “free” overall – you may still have to pay for housing, books, and more, but they would be substantially cheaper than the options on this list.

Furthermore, there are options like community college or 2-year college, which is free in over half of the United States. This type of school could allow you to take undergraduate general education classes, and then transfer to another school to complete your 4-year degree. 

How To Lower The Cost You Pay For College

Even if you want to attend one of these extremely expensive colleges, there may be ways to lower the price you pay through financial aid incentives.

Most of these college advertise generous financial aid packages. Financial aid may come in the form of scholarships (both need-based and merit-based), grants, work study, fellowships, and student loans

To start, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and potentially the CSS Profile, depending on whether your college requires it (and many expensive private schools do).

Once you fill out these forms, your college’s financial aid office will make a decision regarding potential aid. When you receive an admissions decision, you’ll also receive a financial aid award notification that will tell you how much financial aid you will receive if you accept their offer.

Depending on various circumstances, you could potentially appeal your financial aid award and ask for more assistance if you need it. 

The bottom line is that you may be able to lower the cost you pay for college out of pocket.

Final Thoughts

College is expensive. And these schools are unusually expensive. The average tuition at a private college is $41,450, and all of these colleges are advertising tuition in excess of $65,000 per year.

However, just because a college or university is expensive doesn’t mean that you personally will pay that price. With all of the various financial aid options available, you could see a significantly reduced out-of-pocket price. Just check out our list of least expensive colleges for inspiration

So don’t let the advertised tuition cost scare you away from applying. If one of these expensive colleges is your dream school, you should apply. Just make sure that you also fill out the FAFSA and see if you can get a generous financial aid package as well. 

Because while these schools may be prestigious, it’s important to make sure that college is worth it and you get a positive ROI on your education

Want to read more?

The 10 Best College Majors
Is College Worth It? How To Calculate Your ROI

** Schools denoted with an asterisk have not published their 2024 – 2025 tuition price as of publication. In those instances, we ranked them based on their 2023 – 2024 tuition price. Some public colleges may not know their tuition prices until their state passes a budget. Other schools need to wait for a Board of Regents to approve a budget. Some private schools may not disclose their prices until mid-Summer once all prior year classes have concluded.