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The No. 1 university in America now comes with a total sticker price of over $293,000

Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Yale are among the top schools in U.S. News’ new ranking.

© Getty Images    The “best” of America’s higher education system — at least according to U.S. News & World Report’s rankings — costs a lot.

By Catey Hill, MarketWatch

Getting schooled at a top school may come with some serious sticker shock.

On Monday, U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of the best colleges and universities in America — and once again, Princeton landed the top spot. It was followed by Harvard, Columbia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale.

The analysis looks at 1,400 colleges and universities and ranks them on student outcomes such as graduation rates; faculty resources like class sizes; expert opinion from fellow educators; alumni giving and student excellence such as incoming student SAT and ACT scores.

Princeton scored highly on a number of measures, including a student-faculty ratio of just 5-to-1, a high graduation rate of 98%, and a high alumni giving rate of 59%. But it also comes with a high sticker price: upwards of $73,450 a year, which could — if you graduate in the expected four years — hit over $293,000 total. (Harvard’s sticker price is very similar, as are many other top-tier schools).

The good news: Many students and their families don’t have to pay full sticker price. One reason: “Princeton has a generous financial aid policy,” U.S. News’ chief data strategist Robert Morse tells MarketWatch. What’s more, Princeton has one of the lowest levels of debt for graduates of any university, with just 4% of graduates graduating with debt at a median level of just $7,500.


10 best national universities

1. Princeton

2. Harvard

3. Columbia (tie for 3rd)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie for 3rd)

5. Yale

6. Stanford (tie for 6th)

6. University of Chicago (tie for 6th)

6. University of Pennsylvania (tie for 6th)

9. Northwestern

10. Duke (tie for 10th)

10. Johns Hopkins (tie for 10th)

If you’re looking to potentially lower the sticker shock of college, but still get a top-notch degree, U.S. News also ranked the top public colleges in the nation.


10 best public schools

1. University of California, Los Angeles

2. University of California, Berkeley

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

4. University of Virginia

5. Georgia Institute of Technology (tie for 5th)

5. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (tie for 5th)

7. University of California, Santa Barbara (tie for 7th)

7. University of Florida (tie for 7th)

9. University of California, Irvine

10. University of California, San Diego

Chancellor Howard Gillman of the University of California at Irvine said the school was “thrilled” to be included in the ratings.

No matter which school you or your child decides to attend, there’s little doubt that college can cause financial strain for both students and parents. Indeed, according to Federal Reserve data from 2018, “over half of young adults who went to college took on some debt, including student loans, for their education” with the typical amount of debt being between $20,000 and $25,000. Americans now collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in student-loan debt.

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Career Magazine: The No. 1 university in America now comes with a total sticker price of over $293,000
The No. 1 university in America now comes with a total sticker price of over $293,000
Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Yale are among the top schools in U.S. News’ new ranking.
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