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It costs almost $80,000 to go to the most expensive college in the US—but here's how much students actually pay

Harvey Mudd College science lab
Source: Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California, is a small school of just 889 students. The school is known for its strong science, engineering and mathematics programs, for its high-earning alumni and for being one of the most expensive schools in the country.

According to Harvey Mudd, the total cost of attendance for the 2019-2020 school year is $79,539, including $58,359 for tuition, $10,234 for a double dorm room, $8,445 for a 16-meals-per-week meal plan, $1,400 for personal expenses, $800 for books and supplies and $301 to cover a student body fee. Entering first-year and transfer students also must pay an additional $250 orientation fee.

According to Statista and Business Insider, Harvey Mudd is the most expensive college in the country. But Harvey Mudd also graduates the highest-earning alumni in the country, and many of the college's students end up paying far less than the sky-high sticker price.

Harvey-Mudd-College-Expensive-Dorms.jpg
Room & Board: $13,858Harvey Mudd College is a liberal arts institution in Claremont, Calif. The average cost of attendance for 2011-2012 is Of that amount, $13,858 covers room and board.The school is one of seven members of the Claremont Colleges consortium, which also includes Claremont McKenna and Pomona colleges. Harvey Mudd students can take classes at any of the consortium’s schools.
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When PayScale analyzed 2,646 associate and bachelor's degree-granting institutions throughout the U.S., they found that Harvey Mudd alumni earn an average of $85,600 five years into their careers, and $157,400 10 years into their careers.

Additionally, Harvey Mudd aims to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need and about 73% of students receive some kind of financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and/or work-study. The average financial aid award is $42,080.

The school reports that nearly half (48%) of students receive need-based aid. Interested students can estimate how much attending Harvey Mudd will cost them by using the school's net price calculator.

The net price for each student varies further by family income. Here is the average net price, generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state, local or institutional aid from the total cost of attendance, for Harvey Mudd students during the 2017 - 2018 school year by income bracket, according to the Department of Education:

  • Families making less than $30,000: $23,837
  • Families making between $30,001 and $48,000: $13,571
  • Families making between $48,001 and $75,000: $22,469
  • Families making between $75,001 and $110,000: $20,701
  • Families making over $110,001: $49,247

These net costs are impacted by merit aid. The school claims that 29% of incoming first-year students qualify for merit-based aid and/or Harvey Mudd College National Merit Awards. The majority of the college's students come from families in the top-earning bracket.

The New York Times reports that the median family income of a student from Harvey Mudd is $145,400, and 68% come from the highest-earning 20% of American households.

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Harvey Mudd College science lab
Source: Harvey Mudd College
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