The pace at which the cost of college tuition is increasing is not slowing down, and the price of an education at New York University (NYU), with its main campus in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, is no exception. The 2019-20 tuition is a whopping $53,310 per year, a figure that is slightly higher or lower depending on the college attended. Add in campus housing, food, and transportation for $19,794, $2,758 for personal expenses, and $752 for books and supplies, and that price rises to $76,614.

Key Takeaways

  • Founded in 1831, New York University (NYU) is the largest private university in the United States with a total undergraduate and graduate enrollment of over 60,000 students at its domestic and international campuses.
  • Undergraduate tuition at NYU for the 2019-20 academic year is approximately $53,310 (slightly higher or lower depending on the college attended).
  • Add to the tuition cost an estimated $23,304 to cover room, board, and other fees, and the cost for the 2019-20 academic year comes in at $76,614.
  • While tuition at NYU is expensive, the PayScale College Salary Report estimates an NYU undergraduate degree will yield a 20-year net return on investment (ROI) of $459,000, comparing the median pay of an NYU graduate versus a high school graduate over 20 years.

NYU Tuition Compared to Other Universities

NYU is 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 2019-20 academic year was $26,590. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other expenses. An average budget at a private college was $53,980. NYU can charge higher prices because it is ranked high in surveys. For example, U.S. News & World Report puts NYU at No. 29 among national universities for 2020.

In addition, NYU—the largest private university in the country, with more than 60,000 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.


The median SAT score for NYU students admitted in 2019.

Financial Aid at NYU

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 2019 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. 

Is an NYU Education 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 2019 College Salary Report from the data firm PayScale, the median salary for an alum with just a four-year degree is $63,100 at the start and $117,700 by mid-career.

That trend seems to hold over the long run. PayScale estimates an NYU undergraduate degree will yield a 20-year net return on investment (ROI) of $459,000. The ROI estimate is calculated based on the difference between the 20-year median pay for an NYU graduate with a bachelor's degree and the 24-year median pay for a high school graduate minus the total four-year cost of an NYU education. 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.