The median increase in published tuition prices will be 3.7% at America’s top 20 colleges for the next academic year. Using Forbes most recent top-20 rankings, the median sticker price for undergraduate tuition at the top 20 schools in the upcoming year will be $58,396.
Below are the percentage increases and the list price tuition and fee charges for academic year 2022-23 at each institution, along with links that provide more information. These prices do not include room and board, and in the case of public universities, the tuition rates below are for in-state students.
University of California, Berkeley 3.8%, $14,760
Yale University 3.8% $62,250
Princeton University 2.5%, $57,410
Stanford University 4.0%, $57,692
Columbia University 3.4%, 62,570
MIT 3.7%, $57,590
Harvard University 3.0%, $52,659
UCLA 4.1%, $13,804
U. Pennsylvania 2.9%, $56,212
Northwestern University 3.5%, $62,391
Dartmouth College 2.9%, $60,687
Duke University 4.0%, $60,435
Cornell University 3.6%, $62,456
Vanderbilt University 1.8%, $57,974
U. of California, San Diego 3.7%, $15,276
Amherst College 4.6%, $63,500
U. Southern California 5.0%, $63,468
Williams College 3.5%, $61,450
Pomona College 4.5%, $58,818
U. of California, Davis 4.1%, $15,274
Percentage increases in tuition ranged from a low of 1.8% at Vanderbilt to a high of 5.0% at the University of Southern California. The median increase was 3.7%. The lowest sticker tuition price was $13,804 at UCLA; the highest was $63,500 at Amherst College.
For most institutions, the increases were larger than the past two years, during which the Covid-19 pandemic led many colleges and universities to keep the lid on tuition hikes as much as possible.
Next year’s listed tuition and fee increases need to be put into a larger context, involving several factors that help offset or partially reduce the impact of the rising prices.
First and most important, most students do not pay the sticker price for tuition. According to the most recent national college tuition discounting study of 359 private, nonprofit colleges and universities, the average institutional discount rate was 54.5% for first-time, full-time, first-year students in 2020-21. The average tuition discount was 49% for all undergraduates. Both of those figures were record highs.
In other words, by handing out grants, fellowships, and scholarships from their own revenue, these colleges reduced about half the revenue they otherwise would have collected if all students had paid the full published tuition price. Among first-time undergraduates, almost 90% received some form of institutional financial aid.
At selective/highly selective institutions (defined as those offering admission to less than 51% of applicants and constituting most of the schools in the Forbes top 20 list), the median institutional discount rate for first-time undergraduates in 2021-22 was 44.8% , more than 13 percentage points lower than the median institutional discount rate for institutions overall (58%).
Second, most top-20 institutions have increased their financial aid for students from low- and moderate-income families in one way or the other. For example, at Princeton University, admission is need-blind, and if a student is offered admission, Princeton will meet 100% of his or her demonstrated financial need with grant aid.
Williams College recently announced that, beginning next semester, its student financial aid packages would consist entirely of grants, resulting in the elimination of loans, required campus employment, and summer jobs from its financial aid offers. The new policy applies to both current and future students.
Other schools have lowered the family income thresholds for their financial aid packages to kick in. And at the University of California schools, a new tuition stability plan guarantees that while university-wide tuition and fees will increase for each incoming undergraduate class, those annual charges will be held flat from each cohort’s time of enrollment until they graduate, for up to six years.
Finally, while any hike in tuition obviously affects consumers, the upcoming price increases are relatively modest compared to the spring annual inflation rate, which for the 12-month period ending April, 2022 was at 8.3%.