Sunday 17 November 2019

The $63,000 question: could you afford an Ivy League education?

A group of students meet on the lawn outside Webster Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College
A group of students meet on the lawn outside Webster Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College
Ivy League fees - Bloomberg

Akane Otani

Irish students - and their hard-pressed parents - may baulk at the size of third-level fees, but spare a thought for aspiring college-goers across the Atlantic.

College tuition costs are outpacing inflation across the board, a phenomenon even the Ivy League and its fat endowments can't escape.

Next year, fees will rise an average of 3.76pc at the Ivies-pushing the cost of attendance to as high as $63,000 (€58,000).

The average fee of €2,750 a year for an Irish student pales in comparison.

Most Ivy League schools have announced costs for the 2015-16 academic year (Columbia University and Harvard University are the holdouts and are expected to release tuition rates in the coming weeks).

Students attending Brown University will absorb the steepest hike. The cost of classes for the Rhode Island school will rise to $48,272 from $46,408, a 4pc increase.

On the bottom end, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is raising tuition by 2.9pc, to $48,120 from $46,763. While the hike still leaves the school's tuition in the midrange of the Ivies, it marks the lowest tuition hike in almost four decades, according to the university.

The rest of the schools appear to be continuing efforts to flirt with the 4pc line without crossing over it. Cornell University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University are each raising fees by about 3.9pc next year. Once you add in room and board and mandatory fees, it will set students without financial aid back as much as $63,000 to attend an Ivy League school next year.

Despite the painful prices, an Ivy League degree can still end up cheaper than one from a public university. Sitting on massive endowments, many can afford to dole out financial aid.

Princeton, for instance, said it will increase scholarships for students whose families can't afford the new higher prices.

"Keeping the rise in tuition below 4pc for most undergraduates reflects our best efforts to be fiscally responsible while assuring a rich and complex undergraduate education and experience," said Harry Katz, Cornell's interim provost.

"As the first in my family to attend college, I understand the far-reaching impact a college education can have," Penn president Amy Gutmann said.


Irish Independent

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