September 22, 2022
Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” that oft-repeated F. Scott Fitzgerald quote from his most famous tome, feels like a seasonal sentiment that rings particularly true for the millions of eager freshmen who have settled into colleges and universities around the country. By now members of the Class of 2026 have endured orientation, decorated their dorms, and snoozed through their first few weeks of lectures. Years of extracurricular activities, pricey consultations, and obsessing over rankings have paid off. They are survivors of the “dumpster fire” that was the 2022 application process; the fortunate ones who prevailed over shockingly low admission rates.
And so begins a fresh chapter of their privileged lives. There are new friends to be made, clubs to join, all-nighters to pull, professors to impress, parties to attend. And these experiences are meant to be so life-altering—and lead to such wondrously lucrative careers—that all will be worth the tuition sticker shock.
Remember when $50,000-a-year for an elite private institution raised eyebrows? Good luck finding one nowadays for less than $80,000. And these are just the starting rates (tuition, room and board, fees). As T&C reported last year, universities have been locked in a luxury amenities arms race—and this certainly doesn’t come without a price. Factor in where a school is located and costs can quickly balloon. A student with New York City as a backyard, for example, will find plenty more reasons for a well-padded expense account than one who goes to a college in Ithaca. But fees can add up even if your kid goes rural. Are they interested in Greek life? That will also cost you.
Parents of the Class of 2026 may find some solace in the fact that the prices they are paying now may seem like a bargain in a few years. These numbers tend to go in only one direction (since 1963, college tuition has seen a 747.8% increase). “According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the cost of college is outpacing inflation by nearly 30 percent in the public sector, and nearly 20 percent in the private sector,” says the team at IvyWise.
As we did recently for an updated list on the Alt-Ivies, T&C consulted IvyWise again for another directory: the most expensive colleges and universities in the country right now when factoring in the cost of living. The college counseling service’s list—and their reasoning behind each school’s inclusion—is below.