Ivy League tuition and costs hover around $90,000 a year: ‘Prices keep rising’

High schoolers are now getting their college acceptance letters, and maybe a dose of sticker shock. The cost of some Ivy League colleges approaches $90,000 per year, while elite liberal arts colleges also increase their total prices to over $80,000 per year.

The seemingly endless upward spiral comes in an increasingly competitive environment to gain access to highly ranked schools. Brown University, for example, says its tuition, including tuition, room and board, and indirect personal costs, will total nearly $88,000 for the 2023-24 academic year. . Cornell announced Monday that its tuition and other costs for next year — which also includes tuition, room and board, and personal expenses like books and supplies — will top $87,000.

Cornell said its tuition hike represents a 4.4% increase from last year, less than the US inflation rate, which hit a 40-year high in 2022. Meanwhile , Vermont Middlebury College liberal arts college tuition increased. nearly 5% to $83,400.

By comparison, the median household income in the United States was around $71,000 per year in 2021.

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Even relatively modest tuition hikes can leave families already struggling with higher food, rent and other costs feeling more squeezed. A more expensive education can also put pressure on students to pursue studies that, while perhaps leading to a better-paying career, otherwise find them unsatisfying.

In other words, a ceramics major in college is probably out the window.

“If your parents can spend over $80,000 a year, you better know what you’re looking for and get a degree that’s going to do something,” noted university consultant Lainie Leber. “The prices keep going up.”


Ivy League universities are expected to send in their admissions decisions on March 30, while most other colleges and universities have already sent notices to the class of 2027.

Many of these institutions have massive endowments — Harvard’s is $53 billion, for example — which allows them to provide full tuition to many low- and middle-income families. But many other colleges have shallower pockets, and even middle-class families often face high bills for raising a child.

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The question is a hot topic on college discussion boards, such as College Confidential, where a parent this week asked other families for advice on paying for their child’s acceptance to the University of Notre Dame. in an article titled “Difficulty justifying the cost”.

“(I)that’s $82,000 a year for us, plus a likely 3-5% increase each year. That brings the cost of his undergraduate degree to $348,000!!” the parent wrote. OUCH!”

Tougher competition

At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain admission to an Ivy League university or a reputable liberal arts school like Middlebury or Williams College in Massachusetts. Last year acceptance rates for many Ivy League schools abandoned lowest on record.

The tougher competition to get into prestigious colleges stems in part from the school’s decision to become test-optional during the pandemic, which means students don’t have to submit SAT or ACT scores with their applications. This opened the floodgates to applicants who might not have tried to get into Harvard without a perfect SAT score, for example.

Although the number of applicants to top schools is growing — Harvard received 61,000 applications last year, 7% more than the previous year — colleges are not increasing their student numbers. This, in turn, means that acceptance rates drop sharply.

Admittedly, the financial pressure on families and students to enroll in college is causing some soul-searching, with critics questioning whether an “elite” education is really worth it. Others aim college ranking like US News & World Report, which they claim reinforce income inequality.

But the best colleges have another way of looking at their prices. As Brown puts it, “regardless of a family’s financial situation, attending college is a major investment.”


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