The 16 Most Expensive Colleges in the U.S.

Everyone knows college isn’t cheap these days, but you might be surprised by just how expensive some schools really are. Without financial aid, you’d pay more than $69,000 a year to attend the most expensive college in America — about what it would cost you to drive off the lot in a brand new Tesla Model S. And that school isn’t an outlier. Dozens of colleges and universities charge more than $60,000 a year for tuition, room, and board, according to data gathered by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Eye-popping sticker prices might leave parents and prospective students reeling, but they don’t tell the entire story. The most expensive colleges in the U.S. are all private schools, and many have generous financial aid programs. The price tag might read $65,000, but students often receive grants and scholarships, meaning they pay far less.

Still, high costs of attendance are no joke, especially if you’re not lucky enough to get financial aid. Which schools will put the biggest dent in your bank account? According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, these are the 16 most expensive colleges in the U.S., based on in-state tuition and fees for the 2016-17 school year. Is your child’s dream college on the list?

16. Amherst College

Amherst College

Amherst College | Amherst College via Facebook

  • Tuition: $52,476
  • Room and board: $13,710
  • Total: $66,186

Amherst College is the second-best liberal arts college in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking, but attending a top school comes at a price. Tuition alone is more than $50,000, and room and board is another $13,710 annually.

If you pay out-of-pocket for your entire degree, Payscale estimates your return on investment would be $396,000. But at many private colleges, a significant number of students don’t pay the sticker price.

Fifty-five percent of students receive financial aid, all of it in the form of grants from the school, meaning 75% of grads had no student loan debt upon graduation. In fact, the average Amherst student left school with less debt than a graduate of the neighboring public college, UMass Amherst, according to a report by MassLive.

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