The Most Expensive Colleges in the U.S. by State
The U.S. spends more on college than almost any other country, and those costs only continue to climb with each new year. College in America is expensive, there’s no doubt about it — but in some states, the price tag of higher education will boggle your mind.
Here, we’ve ranked the most expensive colleges in the U.S. by state, using their annual tuition fees, with the latest information sourced from CollegeCalc and the universities themselves.
Note: The public schools listed include annual in-state tuition only.
Alabama: Spring Hill College
Undergraduate Tuition: $40,648
Alabama’s oldest institution of higher learning is also its most expensive. Nestled along the Gulf Coast, Spring Hill College is brimming with inspired educators and intellectually invigorating courses.
Students can also participate in more than 50 on-campus organizations, including the Motley Literary Magazine and the Spring Hill Oceanic Research and Education Society.
Alaska: Alaska Pacific University
Undergraduate Tuition: $34,700
Founded in 1957, Alaska Pacific University is a small liberal arts and science university located in Anchorage that provides experiential, hands-on instruction “in the field,” with Alaska as its classroom.
Class sizes are intentionally small, instruction is student-centered, and the campus is utterly beautiful.
Arizona: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
Undergraduate Tuition: $38,858
Founded in 1978, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott specializes in aerospace, security, intelligence and aviation.
The 539-acre campus features four academic colleges and offers 24 bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees.
Arkansas: Hendrix College
Undergraduate Tuition: $45,790
A tiny liberal arts college, Hendrix College is known for its commitment to student-led learning, its devoted faculty and the wide variety of hands-on learning experiences offered.
Those include everything from international study and internships to the Hendrix Odyssey program, which ensures that each student engages in outside-the-classroom service projects, research and study abroad.
California: Harvey Mudd College
Undergraduate Tuition: $58,359
Harvey Mudd College is unique in that it’s a small liberal arts college with a focus on engineering, science and mathematics — which explains that expensive tuition.
Mudd offers nine math- and science-based majors, all of which are grounded in a core curriculum that includes a healthy dose of social science and humanities courses. The school is nationally recognized for its robust STEM and clinic programs.
Colorado: Colorado College
Location: Colorado Springs
Undergraduate Tuition: $57,612
Founded in 1874, Colorado College (CC) doesn’t use a typical semester schedule. Instead of taking a full course load, CC students take one class every 3.5 weeks through the school’s unique Block Plan.
Volunteerism is also a huge focus. All first-year students must complete a service trip, and students also have the opportunity to participate in the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate Program.
Connecticut: Yale University
Location: New Haven
Undergraduate Tuition: $55,500
This Ivy League school probably comes as no surprise, considering how prestigious and historic it is. After all, it was founded in 1701 and is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. But not only is Yale University the most expensive college in Connecticut, it’s one of the most expensive in the country.
After Princeton, Yale accepts the fewest applications of the eight schools in the Ivy League. It offers 12 professional schools and a graduate school of arts and science along with the undergraduate curriculum. Notable alumni include 19 Supreme Court Justices, five U.S. presidents and a host of other powerful people.
Delaware: Wesley College
Undergraduate Tuition: $26,406
At Wesley College, academics are paramount — students have the opportunity to collaborate with a faculty member on undergrad research.
Plus, the school’s rigorous, newly revised core curriculum includes integrative classes in the liberal arts and an interdisciplinary “concentration” on values like understanding diversity and ethical living.
Florida: Rollins College
Location: Winter Park
Undergraduate Tuition: $51,700
Located on the banks of Lake Virginia, Rollins College is Florida’s oldest post-secondary institution. A quarter of Rollins students major in business, although the school also offers more than 30 undergraduate majors and 40 minors.
The campus is scenic, and the intimate, personalized learning environment is certainly a standout.
Georgia: Emory University
Undergraduate Tuition: $53,070
Founded in 1836, Emory University is a highly rated, private research university in Atlanta’s affluent Druid Hills neighborhood.
Emory students represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries, and the school has a long-standing partnership with the Carter Center, which seeks to eradicate poverty and disease while also promoting democracy.
Hawaii: The University of Hawaii at Manoa
Undergraduate Tuition: $25,980
The oldest and largest of the University of Hawaii campuses, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution that offers unique research opportunities.
Plus, it has a nationally ranked Division I athletics programs as well as a vibrant, multicultural community, with minorities making up more than 70 percent of the student body.
Idaho: The College of Idaho
Undergraduate Tuition: $31,000
At The College of Idaho, students design their own curriculum in a program called Peak, in which they choose one major and three minors. This innovative, individualized curriculum has been widely praised by dozens of top educators.
The state’s oldest liberal arts college, The College of Idaho boasts a legacy of academic excellence and a history of producing highly successful graduates.
Illinois: The University of Chicago
Undergraduate Tuition: $57,642
A private institution founded in 1890, The University of Chicago offers a rich, diverse on-campus life paired with truly challenging academic coursework.
The university is also well-known for its research, which has led to significant breakthroughs in the fields of medicine, economics and urbanism.
Indiana: University of Notre Dame
Location: Notre Dame
Undergraduate Tuition: $55,553
The historic University of Notre Dame is divided into eight schools and colleges; the university’s graduate and professional programs include the highly touted School of Architecture and the Mendoza College of Business and Law School. One of the country’s leading undergrad teaching institutions, Notre Dame has also been at the forefront in research and scholarship and is “dedicated to religious belief no less than to scientific knowledge.”
Plus, its Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team has quite the fanbase and is perhaps known best from the movie, “Rudy.”
Iowa: Grinnell College
Undergraduate Tuition: $53,872
A progressive, private liberal arts college, Grinnell College emphasizes intellectual discourse, social justice and self-governance. The school requires just one course, a first-semester writing tutorial modeled on Oxford University’s program.
Otherwise, students only complete courses for their chosen major. A Grinnell education isn’t exactly budget-friendly, but it’s definitely held in high regard.
Kansas: Baker University
Location: Baldwin City
Undergraduate Tuition: $29,300
Founded in 1858, Baker University is a premier private university that prizes student engagement, academic excellence and values-based community building. The Baker curriculum is infused with experiential learning tools, in-depth theory and research, and exposure to ethical considerations.
It has been consistently recognized for its excellence; in fact, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Baker the No.1 private university in Kansas on its Midwest Regional list.
Kentucky: Bellarmine University
Undergraduate Tuition: $42,430
A tiny Catholic university located on the outskirts of Louisville, Bellarmine University has 50 majors that students can choose from. Other perks: Its class sizes are small, and the teaching staff is superb.
Tuition is high, yes, but Bellarmine does offer generous financial aid.
Louisiana: Tulane University
Location: New Orleans
Undergraduate Tuition: $56,800
At Tulane University, students can take advantage of a bustling, vibrant campus and city. The school is certainly expensive, and it can be difficult to get accepted because it’s highly selective.
Apart from academics, students can participate in more than 200 student organizations and Greek life.
Maine: Bates College
Undergraduate Tuition: $52,042
Founded by abolitionists in 1855, Bates College features nearly 40 majors and 25 minors, with the most popular being economics, psychology and politics.
Bates students are known for being well-rounded, thanks to the school’s demanding academic studies, unique extracurriculars and volunteering opportunities.
Maryland: Johns Hopkins University
Undergraduate Tuition: $53,740
Established in 1876, Johns Hopkins University is one of the most storied, respected higher-ed institutions in the country — hence the costly tuition. Biomedical engineering, neuroscience and public health are among some of the most popular majors at Johns Hopkins, and students can elect to take part in more than 300 organizations and intramural sports during their time here.
Alumni include 36 Nobel Laureates, six MacArthur Fellows, and 52 Academy of Arts and Sciences members, among other notable leaders.
Massachusetts: Amherst College
Undergraduate Tuition: $57,640
Amherst College, a small liberal arts school located in quaint Amherst, has an open curriculum, with no required courses other than those necessary for a student’s major.
Academic integrity, global awareness, creativity and independence are all highly valued here.
Michigan: Kalamazoo College
Undergraduate Tuition: $50,046
Founded in 1833, Kalamazoo brings a personalized, open approach to education.
The curriculum is top-notch and flexible, with a heavy emphasis on the importance of study abroad, service learning and real-world experience.
Minnesota: Carleton College
Undergraduate Tuition: $56,778
A small, private liberal arts school located in the historic river town of Northfield, Carleton College was founded in 1866 and runs on a trimester system. Each trimester is 10 weeks, and all students must submit a writing portfolio after their sixth term.
Academics are of the utmost importance at Carleton, and the school has several unique traditions and clubs. Perhaps most impressively, since 2003, Carleton grads have been awarded 23 Watson fellowships, two Rhodes scholarships and 125 Fulbright scholarships.
Mississippi: Millsaps College
Undergraduate Tuition: $38,600
One of the best-quality liberal arts colleges in the South (and one of the priciest), Millsaps College was founded in 1890 and has been widely praised by The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The Fiske Guide to College and countless other higher-ed publications.
Today, the school offers 34 majors and 45 minors.
Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis
Location: St. Louis
Undergraduate Tuition: $54,250
Washington University, a private university located in St. Louis, boasts an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, despite being a medium-sized school.
It’s also a highly regarded research institution — the school has more than 3,000 ongoing research projects per year, with more than 60 percent of undergraduates involved in faculty research that spans subject areas.
Montana: Carroll College
Undergraduate Tuition: $34,506
A top-ranked, private, Catholic diocesan college, Carroll College has more than 50 majors and minors, eight pre-professional programs and a graduate school. Those looking to study medicine or dentistry are especially drawn to apply here, as the school’s pre-med and pre-dentistry programs have an average 85 percent acceptance rate to medical and dental schools.
In addition, U.S. News consistently ranks Carroll College as the No. 1 Regional College in the West.
Nebraska: Creighton University
Undergraduate Tuition: $39,630
A Jesuit college founded in 1878, Creighton University fosters faith, leadership and service. Roughly 60 percent of its students are Catholic, and nearly a quarter are students of color.
Creighton’s nine schools and colleges deliver a powerful education, and there are numerous opportunities for research, service-learning and study abroad.
Nevada: Sierra Nevada College
Location: Incline Village
Undergraduate Tuition: $34,319
Sierra Nevada College is Nevada’s only accredited, private, four-year institution, with a stunning location on the shores of Lake Tahoe (and a substantial price tag to match).
Sierra Nevada has four core themes — Entrepreneurial Thinking, Professional Preparedness, Liberal Arts and Sustainability — and each of these themes is reflected in the school’s dynamic classes and clubs.
New Hampshire: Dartmouth College
Undergraduate Tuition: $55,605
Easily one of the country’s leading academic institutions, Dartmouth College is the smallest of the eight Ivy League schools, with an enrollment of roughly 4,300 students. Admissions are extremely competitive, with an acceptance rate of just 10 percent.
Dartmouth has nearly 50 undergraduate areas of study and four graduate programs, including the famed Geisel School of Medicine, named after Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss).
New Jersey: Stevens Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $54,014
A well-regarded private research institution, Stevens Institute of Technology was recently named one of the “Top 25 STEM Colleges” by Forbes, and in 2018, 96 percent of graduates secured jobs or grad school placements within six months of graduation.
Stevens was the first American college dedicated to mechanical engineering, and there are more than 30 undergraduate majors (in addition to accelerated and pre-professional programs) offered.
New Mexico: St. John’s College
Location: Santa Fe
Undergraduate Tuition: $51,200
The partner campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, St. John’s in Santa Fe has an extremely small enrollment of just a few-hundred students. In fact, its low student-to-faculty ratio led The Princeton Review to include St. John’s in its “Best Classroom Experience” round-up.
St. John’s students are required to study a Great Books program, a four-year course of study on the works of several prominent Western thinkers and writers.
New York: Columbia University
Location: New York
Undergraduate Tuition: $54,504
Getting into Columbia University is tough enough (the school lets in only 6 percent of applicants), but paying that famously high tuition is another story entirely.
One of the most expensive schools in the country, this Ivy League institution is also the fifth-oldest university in the U.S., with nearly 150 areas of undergraduate, graduate, pre-professional, doctorate and interdisciplinary study.
North Carolina: Duke University
Undergraduate Tuition: $58,198
Duke’s tuition is one of the highest in the U.S., but there’s also no school quite like it. Its uniqueness blends top-level academics with Ivy League sensibilities and the typical on-campus spirit of a state school.
It’s divided into 10 schools and colleges, which serve both graduate and undergraduate students, and roughly 30 percent of the student body participates in Greek life. Esteemed alumni include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Melinda Gates and a slew of elite names in sports.
North Dakota: North Dakota State University
Undergraduate Tuition: $21,452
Founded in 1890, North Dakota State University offers nearly 100 majors, 270 student organizations and 16 Greek chapters. On-campus life is lively, while the most popular areas of study are science, health professions, engineering and mathematics.
Students can also take courses at Concordia College and Minnesota State University-Moorhead at no extra tuition cost.
Ohio: Oberlin College
Undergraduate Tuition: $55,976
The oldest co-education liberal arts college in the country is also one of the most expensive. Oberlin College is known for its progressive politics, intense academics and ultra-creative flair.
The school has just two units: the famed Conservatory of Music and the College of Arts and Sciences, along with more than 175 innovative student organizations and intercollegiate sports.
Oklahoma: The University of Tulsa
Undergraduate Tuition: $41,698
Founded in 1882, the University of Tulsa is a private research university with an average class size of just 20 students and a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.
The school boasts an intimate, intellectually engaging atmosphere, and students are also highly encouraged to log volunteer hours in the community.
Oregon: Reed College
Undergraduate Tuition: $58,130
Reed College has a reputation for being expensive, yes, but it also has a reputation for being one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
Mixing nonconformist learning with intellectual rigor, Reed has produced 30 Rhodes Scholars and more than 100 Fulbright Scholars since its inception in 1908. The school is also particularly known for championing diversity and inclusion.
Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College
Undergraduate Tuition: $58,615
Founded in 1787 and named after Benjamin Franklin and the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, the historic Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) offers students 60 fields of study and 200 study abroad programs.
In addition, 65 percent of F&M students engage in research or one-on-one educational experiences with a faculty member.
Rhode Island: Brown University
Undergraduate Tuition: $54,320
One of the eight Ivy League institutions, Brown University is known for its open, personalized curriculum (students develop their own course of study), stimulating classes and intellectual heft.
Founded in 1754, Brown is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. and a leading research university. As such, the school occupies an elevated status in American culture — no wonder tuition is so high.
South Carolina: Furman University
Undergraduate Tuition: $50,464
Boasting an Asian garden, an 18-hole golf course and a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, Furman University has one of the most unique campuses in the country.
The oldest private university in South Carolina, Furman offers rigorous academics, broad research opportunities, and top athletics and arts programming. Plus, two-thirds of the student body participates in community service.
South Dakota: Augustana University
Location: Sioux Falls
Undergraduate Tuition: $43,610
Ranked in the top tier of U.S. News, Augustana University is a selective, private liberal arts school that was founded in 1860 by Swedish settlers.
Both a beautiful and highly competitive campus, Augustana gives each student $2,000 to fund a research trip or internship through the “Augie Choice” program.
Tennessee: Vanderbilt University
Undergraduate Tuition: $50,800
A Vanderbilt University degree equals prestige and respect — the school, a globally renowned research university, regularly earns a Top 20 ranking from U.S. News & World Report.
And it’s not hard to see why, considering Vanderbilt’s tough academic reputation, inclusive yet collaborative atmosphere and incredibly bright faculty. Just be prepared to pay a substantial chunk of change to attend here.
Texas: Southern Methodist University
Location: University Park
Undergraduate Tuition: $50,200
Both a highly ranked private university and a nationally distinguished research center, Southern Methodist University (SMU) attracts students from all 50 states and 90 countries because of its small class sizes, hands-on research opportunities and innovative programs.
An SMU education doesn’t come cheap, but it’s easily one of the top schools in the nation.
Utah: Westminster College
Location: Salt Lake City
Undergraduate Tuition: $34,000
Scenically situated near the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City, Westminster College is a private, comprehensive college that blends liberal arts with professional programs and civic engagement.
The school has been included on The Princeton Review’s (TPR) best colleges list for well over a decade, and both the Sierra Club and TPR have recently recognized Westminster for its sustainability efforts.
Vermont: Middlebury College
Undergraduate Tuition: $55,790
Vermont has its fair share of high-priced liberal arts colleges, but Middlebury College tops the list. It’s also one of the most highly regarded liberal arts schools in the country.
At Middlebury, students benefit from a curriculum that emphasizes cultural awareness and experiential learning, and the school is especially known for its foreign language programs, including Middlebury Schools Abroad.
Virginia: University of Richmond
Undergraduate Tuition: $54,690
At the University of Richmond, students enjoy a well-rounded, integrated education that fuses the arts and sciences with leadership studies, law and business.
Every student is guaranteed either an internship experience or summer research opportunity, and there are more than 180 student organizations to choose from, including club sports, honor societies and Greek life.
Washington: Whitman College
Location: Walla Walla
Undergraduate Tuition: $53,420
A nationally recognized liberal arts college founded in 1883, Whitman College is well-known for its academic rigor and traditional liberal arts values.
The school routinely makes “Best of” lists, winning a yearly spot on Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges and The Princeton Review, among others, thanks to its dynamic classes, vibrant community and welcoming atmosphere.
West Virginia: West Virginia Wesleyan College
Undergraduate Tuition: $30,766
It costs a pretty penny to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College, but you get what you pay for.
Wesleyan students are truly challenged to think critically and creatively and develop a true commitment to service and leadership, and the school produces an impressive number of Fulbright Scholars and other notable achievements.
Wisconsin: Beloit College
Undergraduate Tuition: $51,050
Students pay a staggering tuition fee at Beloit College, a small liberal arts school founded in 1846. The campus is lovely, with its thick woods and grand buildings (four of which are registered on the National Register of Historic Places).
But it’s the rock-solid education that really attracts students. Beloit offers more than 50 majors and a number of dual-degree and pre-professional programs, all taught by leaders in educational reform and the arts.
Wyoming: University of Wyoming
Undergraduate Tuition: $16,588
Nestled near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Wyoming offers scenic beauty, a lively community and a top-notch education.
Even though this is the most expensive college in Wyoming, the school’s annual tuition rate is much lower than those of similar-caliber schools in other states.