The pace at which the cost of college tuition is increasing is not slowing down, and the price of an education at the nation’s more prestigious academies can be particularly daunting for ambitious high school students and their parents. New York University, with its main campus in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, is no exception. The 2018-19 tuition is a whopping $51,828 per year, a figure that is slightly higher or lower depending the college attended. Add in room, board and other fees at $18,156, and the annual price is $69,984 for the 2018 to 2019 academic year, excluding books, transportation, and personal expenses.

That makes NYU an expensive option, even compared to other non-public institutions. According to the College Board, an average college budget for an in-state public college for the 2018 to 2019 academic year was $21,370. An average budget at a private college was $48,510. NYU can charge higher prices because it is ranked high in surveys. For example, U.S. News & World Report puts NYU at No. 30 among national universities for 2018. It also has a comparatively brainy student body, with a composite SAT score average of 1410 in 2016.

In addition, NYU – the largest private university in the country, with more than 50,000 total students at its domestic and international campuses – offers a unique cultural experience. One of its biggest draws is its urban New York City campus, located in one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods. NYU also offers the chance to spend a semester in locations such as Paris, London, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; it has more students studying abroad than any other college in the United States.

Financial Aid

Most financial aid awarded by NYU comes in the form of need-based grants and scholarships. To determine eligibility, students must complete both the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and a separate form called the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

NYU has no separate application for merit scholarships for students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability. Students are automatically considered for "any scholarships where merit is considered" when they send in their application. According to the university website, the average scholarship/grant for those entering the university in 2017 was nearly $37,000.

NYU also offers a limited number of awards to non-U.S. citizens, who make up a sizable portion of the student body. In this case, the university uses both financial need and academic achievement to determine a financial aid package. To be considered, international students need only to complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. 

A Worthwhile Expenditure?

Despite its steep price, research indicates that an education from NYU is a good value overall. That’s because the odds are that students will secure a competitive salary once they graduate. According to the 2018 to 2019 College Salary Report from the data firm PayScale, the median salary for an alum with just a four-year degree is $60,800 at the start, and $120,700 by mid-career.

That trend seems to hold over the long run. PayScale has NYU ranked at 122 overall for the best 20-year return on investment, after factoring in financial aid. Note that these are overall figures; the PayScale survey shows that income depends on the college major.

The Bottom Line

Students without financial aid can expect to pay above-average tuition to attend NYU. Graduates tend to obtain good salaries, which can offset the cost. Return on investment is not the only reason to choose a school (or a field of study), but the PayScale survey can show whether there are lower-cost choices that might yield a similarly good return.