It’s a known fact that education does cost money. If you are eyeing to attend one of the top universities in the world for an undergraduate degree, then it’s actually expensive. In the US, top colleges like Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Brown would cost you something between $47,000 and $60,000 annually. If you add boarding and other expenses, you would be looking at an average cost of USD $70,000 per year. That means a total expense of INR 1.5 to 2 crore for 4 years. So, for middle-class and low-income families, undergraduate education in the US is really expensive. But, there is a catch. If you have got serious (and demonstrated) financial limitations, you might not need to shell out USD $6,000 to $20,000 per year.
Cost of Studying Bachelors in the USA
Private US Colleges are Cheaper than Public Ones for Middle-Class and Low-Income Families
The US College Admissions process is notoriously complex. The expenses and/or financial aid allocation process is even more complex.
For international students, the top colleges that follow a need-blind policy are MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Amherst. Whereas schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Brown, Columbia, Pennsylvania and Cornell University are need-based (need-aware) schools for international students, and they will consider the financial status of the international applicants during the admission process.
Those who are not so familiar with the admission and financial aid policies of US Colleges, please refer to the Need-Blind and Need-Based Financial Aid Schemes for Studying in the US.
The expenses (tuition and boarding) for a 4-year Bachelor degree in the US could be USD 60, 000 to USD 120, 000 at the public universities, and USD 100, 000 to USD 280, 000 at the private universities. But, if you consider the financial aid (scholarships, loan, grants, and work placement), the total expenses could be way much lower.
Recently, the New York Times analyzed the data provided by 32 top elite colleges to MyinTuition Online Calculator. As per the published data by New York Times, students with demonstrated financial need to pay something between $6,000 and $18,000 (average) per year towards tuition and boarding. Below is the snapshot of the total annual expenses by family profile. However, if you are from an affluent background, you will be required to pay $69,000 per year.
Here is the snapshot of the family profiles according to their income and net worth.
The cost of attending a college in the US is definitely a serious issue. But, they are actually cheaper, unless you are from an affluent family.
As you can see, the cost of undergraduate education does not vary too much for a given family across different selective colleges. Amherst, Williams, Yale, Dartmouth, Colby, and Rice appear to be the most generous when it comes to providing financial aid to the students with genuine financial need.
Yale stands out for providing the most financial aid to middle-class students, charging them only slightly more than poor students. Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford didn’t don’t participate in the online calculator but have similar policies as Yale. For both poor and middle-class students, these colleges tend to be significantly cheaper than the public universities.
Cost of Studying Bachelors at Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, and Yale
The online calculator can give you an estimate in 60 seconds. According to Phillip Levine, a Wellesley College economist who created the calculator:
Students (and parents) should not rule out a college simply because the calculator makes it looks slightly more expensive than others. Students who need financial aid should apply to multiple colleges and see what aid offers they receive.
For a large majority of American students, college – public or private, elite or more typical – doesn’t cost anywhere near $70,000 a year. Even for the international students, the annual costs will never be $70,000. The key is to work hard, build an all-around profile, and apply strategically to a balanced college list.
Do you need help with creating your college list, essays, profile building, college applications (along with financial aid)? Reach out to us and our expert panel of counselors will be more than happy to help you.
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