To review the tuition fees offered by all of America’s numerous universities would require, I imagine, nothing shorter than a Ph.D. thesis. In this article, we shall have a look at nine universities altogether – the country’s three most expensive ones, then the three schools that offer the best value for students’ money, and finally three very affordable US universities.

Tuition Costs in the USA

1. Harvey Mudd College

It is hard to believe that such a young higher education school, established only in 1955, has established itself as the most expensive university in the USA for undergraduate studies. The most popular undergraduate programs that the university offers are Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, and Computer Science.

Harvey Mudd College, named after the president of Cyprus Mines Corp., accepts just under 900 freshmen every year and nearly all of them live on campus. The average COA quoted above includes the tuition fee, room and board, and all other expenses an undergraduate student may have in relation to their studies. This school does not charge different tuition fees to international students.

2. Columbia University

If you want to rub shoulders with the children of the world’s elite, Columbia University is the place to go and pursue an undergraduate degree. We are talking about the alma mater of U.S. President Barack Obama and of Jack Kerouac, the father of the Hippie culture.

Those who can afford to come here to study Biomedical Sciences, Computer Science, and Engineering. The school has announced 63,000 admissions for the academic year 2019-2020. Unlike its more expensive competitor above, Columbia University has been around for quite some time now – the school was founded back in 1754.

3 Bard College

The leading minds and this very expensive and therefore very selective higher education school in the United States busy themselves with problems concerning the common good of mankind, such as how to replace meat with plant-based superfoods.

The tuition fee quoted above includes room and board. Bard College currently is the fourth most innovative university in the USA. The most popular undergraduate programs are Visual and Performing Arts and Social Science. Its average acceptance rate is just under 60%, which makes Bard a far more welcoming school than Columbia University, whose acceptance rate is only six percent!

4. Harvard University

Founded as far back as 1636 in Boston, Massachusetts, this is the oldest all-private university in the USA and the second-best value-for-money higher education provider after Princeton. And, indeed, if you have 67,000 dollars, there are few wiser options to spend the money on than earning an undergraduate degree from Harvard.

The applicants are so many that the university has lowered its acceptance rate to just five percent. And yet, every year more than 6,500 students enroll at the world’s third most famous university. In fact, you can study there even if you do not have the sum quoted above, as Harvard University is known for inviting talented young people from across the world to earn their higher education degree there on a full scholarship!

5. Stanford University

The seventh-best university in the USA, Stanford University, was founded in 1885. This is the alma mater of a whole constellation of former alumni, who now form a major part of the world’s elite. Suffice it to say that Hollywood actress Sigourney Weaver and golfer Tiger Woods earned their degrees there.

For 66,000 dollars a year including room and board, over seven thousand young people enroll in this prestigious stronghold of higher education to pursue undergraduate degrees in Engineering, Computer Sciences, or Biomedical Sciences. Millions of young people apply to study at Stanford every year, but only 5% of these applications are approved.

6. Princeton University

This is a university in the middle of our table that we think offers the best value for the student’s money. We are not saying that studying at Princeton is cheap. It’s just that a Princeton diploma will get you hired for whatever job you would ever like to apply for.

Princeton University was founded in 1746 and it is one of the best-reputed universities in the world. Among its most famous alumni is former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. Not surprisingly, Princeton tops the 2019 National Universities’ standings. This university’s average acceptance rate is only 6%.

7. University of Georgia

This part of our ranking is dedicated to three more affordable universities, where you can earn an undergraduate degree for about 50,000 dollars or less, including room and a meal plan. The seventh position on our chart is for a higher education provider with rich traditions – it was established in 1785.

Over 28,000 young people enroll at the University of Georgia every year to earn an undergraduate degree in some of its most popular majors – Psychology, Finance, and Marketing. The tuition fees for residents of the state of Georgia are even lower – about $30,000.

8. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

This university is also known as the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities as it has campuses in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul. About thirty thousand students enroll at this higher education school each year to pursue undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Science or Management – currently the two most popular undergraduate programs there. The total costs of attendance quoted above include room, meals, and mandatory health insurance.

9. Binghamton University

  • Tuition Fees: $28,000/year (Local Residents) | $47,000/year (International Students)

This is arguably the best public university in the American Northeast.  Founded in 1946, less than a year after the end of WW II, it now has an annual enrollment of about 14,000 students. The most popular undergraduate programs are Biology, Psychology, and Engineering. The quoted costs of attendance include accommodation in a shared room and a weekly meal plan.


We hope that this article on tuition fees in America was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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