Sticker Shock? - Relax! The surprisingly modest cost of some Boston Area Colleges.

Many students and parents are shocked by the high tuition of many Boston area colleges.  Unfortunately this can be discouraging and some  students may decide not to apply for that reason.  Before you go down that road, please realize that the list price of a college is not what most students pay.   

As a matter of fact, the prices you see advertised by colleges are called the Sticker Price. This price includes the basic tuition, books, room and board as well as personal expenses and fees.  However,  this is not what most students pay.  In fact, only 12% of students pay this price.  Must  students pay a much lower price.  So here comes the good news...


Average Net Price - Sounding Better...

The actual out-of pocket cost that students pay for college is called the Net Price. It includes  tuition, room and board, books and includes any grants and college scholarships for which a student is eligible.  This number is a good starting point for what you have to pay and to compare the actual cost of colleges. Please note that this is the average Net Price so you may pay more or less depending on your families income and other factors

Boston Area Colleges Examples - Sticker Price vs Average Net price


Sticker Price

Average Net Price

Harvard University



Boston University



UMASS (Out of State)



Simmons University



Regis College



Endicott College



The Net Price you actually pay...

So how much do you have to pay?  Your cost for a college or Net Price depends on a number of factors such as family income, grants and scholarships.  For example the Net Price for Boston University can vary based on family income shown below.

Boston University Net Prices based on Family Income (2018, 2019)

Family Income

Net Price

$0 to $30,000


$30,001 to $48,000


$48,001 to $75,000


$75,001 to $110,000




Finding out your personal Net Price

To find your actual Net Price you can use the Net Price calculator on the celleges website.  You can enter information about yourself and get an estimate  about your actual cost or net-price.  Be aware that these calculators give you an approximate price and the final price will be stated once you are accepted.  However, it is a good starting point and will be in the general ballpark.

There is a government website that lets you link directly to the net-price calculators of  any college you are interested in.  Click Here for a Quick Link to Net Price Calculator