Oct 5, 2023 - Education

Boston college tuition cost ranked one of the highest in U.S.

Median college tuition in the Boston metro area
Data: National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Boston is not only one of the biggest college towns in the country, but it also has the second-costliest average tuition.

Why it matters: The rising cost of higher education affects thousands of Boston-area college students years after they graduate, especially those who will soon see federal student loan payments resume next month.

Driving the news: The metro area's median college tuition price in the 2021-22 academic year reached $39,649, a 6.6% increase from the 2018-19 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

  • Greater Boston's median tuition rate comes in second among metro areas in the nation only to the Worcester metro area, which includes Connecticut.
  • Worcester saw its median tuition increase by 6.2% to $40,208 in 2021-22.

By the numbers: If those prices sound low to some of you, it's because it averages public and private colleges.

  • Median tuition at Boston-area private colleges reached $43,062 in 2021-22, up 8.2% from 2018-19.
  • The same year, median tuition at public colleges was $14,200, up 7.6% from 2018-19.

Zoom out: One of the nation's most expensive institutions is Tufts University, which charged $66,358 this year — climbing to upwards of $88,300 when including housing and other fees.

  • Wellesley College isn't far off. It charged $64,000 for tuition and $88,291 when including housing and other fees.

But, but, but: None of the baseline median tuition figures takes into account room and board, books and other expenses college students incur in a high-cost city.

What we're watching: Massachusetts officials have created free alternatives for college students, in hopes of making higher education more accessible and reducing the skills gap that has contributed to widespread worker shortages.

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