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Colleges with most expensive room and board fees

January 14, 2019

Aside from tuition, room and board is the most significant expense at most colleges. At institutions with the highest room and board fees, the cost of annual room and board is equal to one semester’s tuition. According to Edmit data, the ten colleges with the most expensive room and board prices are located in three states—New York, Massachusetts, and California.

#6 The Claremont Colleges

The Claremont Colleges are a group of private liberal arts colleges located in Claremont, California, on the border of Los Angeles. Though each of the Claremont Colleges is a distinct institution with separate admissions processes, in many ways, the colleges function as a group. Students are able to enroll in classes and participate in activities at other colleges in the consortium. The room and board costs range from $16,150 at Pomona College to $16,294 at Scripps College. Harvey Mudd is an outlier with an estimated cost of $17 592 for room and board.

#5 St. John’s University New York

St. John’s University is a private, Catholic university in New York’s Queens neighborhood. Despite being located in one of New York City’s more affordable areas, the annual cost of room and board at St. John’s University is $16,640. Perhaps factoring in the high price is that students at the university can choose a single dorm.

#4 Smith College

Smith College is a private, liberal arts college in Massachusetts that is consistently ranked among the best colleges in the nation. Room and board costs at Smith College are estimated at $16,730. Although Smith College is the only college in New England on this list, the New England region has the highest room and board fees in the United States. That said, both Princeton Review and Business Insider have ranked Smith’s dorms and quality of life among the best in the nation.

#3 California State University - Channel Islands

California State University (CSU) Channel Islands is in Camarillo, California on the coast, just miles from Santa Barbara. Room and board costs at CSU Channel Islands are $16,954. Given the high cost of beach living and the institution’s location on the edge of the coast, it’s no surprise that the dorms are among the priciest in the nation. Single dorms are available for upperclassmen, and some dorms feature large community kitchens where students can cook their own meals.

#2 New York Institute of Technology

The New York Institute of Technology (NYT) is a private, independent school in New York’s exclusive Upper West Side neighborhood. The room and board fees  are approximately $17,086 annually. Given the amenities at NYT, the high prices seem well worth it. Residence options at NYT feature single, double, and triple rooms, which usually have private restrooms. In addition, some dorms have a kitchen on every floor.

#1 New York University

New York University’s main campus is in Greenwich Village, with buildings spread throughout the city. The room and board expenses for one year at NYU are $17,664. Housing at NYU is in a variety of neighborhoods around the city. There are 19 residence halls in Manhattan alone. Housing options vary from apartment-style residences with kitchens for upperclassmen to traditional residence halls for first-year students.

Colleges With The Most Expensive Room and Board Fees

School Name

Room and Board (per year)

New York University


Harvey Mudd College


New York Institute of Technology


California State University - Channel Islands


Smith College


St John's University - New York


Scripps College


Pitzer College


Claremont McKenna College


Pomona College


Are there more affordable room and board options at these institutions?

The good news is that most colleges do have affordable options that are cheaper than estimated room and board costs. Because room and board fees factor into the cost of attendance, many institutions choose their most expensive room options and meal plan to ensure that students who choose these plans can cover their expenses with financial aid. It’s important to note that most colleges with higher than usual accommodation fees have above-average amenities, such as single rooms, private restrooms, or kitchens. Sharing a dorm room, choosing accommodation in an older dorm, or buying a smaller meal plan can decrease costs.

Note: All room and board fees reflect the 2017-2018 academic year