The Cost of Studying at New York University (NYU)

Is a degree from NYU worth the high tuition bill?

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 2020-21 tuition is approximately $54,880 per year for an undergraduate student taking 12 to 18 credits per semester. (This figure may be slightly higher or lower depending on the college attended and the number of credits enrolled in. For 12 to 18 credits, there is a flat tuition fee).

Add in room and board costs that can amount to $19,244, $1,100 for transportation costs, $718 for books and supplies, and $2,790 for personal expenses. That price rises to $78,742.

Key Takeaways

  • New York University (NYU) is the largest private university in the United States with a total undergraduate and graduate enrollment of over 58,000 students at its domestic and international campuses.
  • Undergraduate tuition at NYU for the 2020-21 academic year is approximately $54,880.
  • 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 2020-21 academic year was $26,820. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other expenses.

An average budget at a private college was $54,880. NYU can charge higher prices because of its reputation and because it ranks high in surveys. For example, U.S. News & World Report puts NYU at No. 29 among national universities for 2020.

In addition, NYU, founded in 1831, 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. It is the largest private university in the country, with more than 58,000 total students at its domestic and international campuses. The school also has degree-conferring campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, in addition to 11 global academic centers and research programs in more than 25 countries.


The average SAT score for the freshman class of 2020-2021 at NYU.

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. For first-year students, the average scholarship for attendance 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 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 2020 College Salary Report from the data firm PayScale, the median salary for an alum with just a four-year degree is $55,600 at the start and $77,900 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 $481,000. 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.

NYU's COVID-19 Response

Although some colleges and universities elected to hold all of their classes virtually in fall 2020, NYU invited students, faculty, administrators, and staff back to its campus. However, not all students are attending classes in-person and all of NYU's courses, including those that are in-person, may be attended remotely. According to a statement by NYU spokesman John Beckman, slightly more than one-third of undergraduates attended classes remotely in fall 2020. NYU also reported that, despite the pandemic, its enrollment numbers for fall 2020 were ahead of its enrollment for fall 2019.

The University has developed an evolving evidence-informed, multilayered public health strategy to reduce the risks to their community. As a part of this strategy, NYU is testing individuals studying and working on-site, requiring daily symptom check for on-campus access, contact tracing, restricting university-sponsored travel, and has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures. All NYU students who are attending classes in-person must wear face coverings when on NYU property or in NYU facilities, and they are encouraged to wear them at all times when outside of their places of residence.

Students that were offered admission as a first-year student to NYU could request to defer their enrollment for one full year. If approved, they were guaranteed readmission for the following year without having to file a new application. However, the university has a policy that students admitted from the waitlist and transfer students cannot defer their enrollment.

For students who live in countries where COVID-19-related travel restrictions impacted their ability to travel to and from NYU's New York City campus, the University offered a "Go Local" option for fall 2020. This program allowed undergraduates students who met certain requirements to enroll and take a number of in-person classes at another NYU location. NYU canceled all upcoming, non-essential, international travel sponsored by the University and, per the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, asks all students to quarantine for 14 days following international travel.

For students returning to campus for the spring semester, NYU required a negative COVID-19 test result in the 14-day period prior to when students were planning on entering any campus building. According to the University's website, all individuals planning on accessing NYU academic and administrative facilities from January 25 onwards must be tested.

Columbia University
  • Ranked #3 by U.S. News Ranking

  • Ivy League

  • Secluded campus in the Upper West Side of New York City

  • 6,245 undergraduate students

  • Average alumni starting salary: $67,500

  • Fall 2019 acceptance rate: 5%

  • 4-year graduation rate: 87%

  • Tuition: $64,380

  • Average total indebtedness of 2019 graduating class: $27,595

New York University
  • Ranked #30 by U.S. News Report

  • Campus located in Greenwich Village- "in and of the city"

  • 26,981 undergraduate students in 2020

  • Average alumni starting salary: $59,100

  • Fall 2019 acceptance rate: 16%

  • 4-year graduation rate: 76%

  • Tuition: $54,880

  • Average total indebtedness of 2019 graduating class: $29,242

Source: U.S. News & World Report

NYU Tuition FAQs

How Much Does It Cost To Go to NYU for Four Years?

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world and NYU is one of the most expensive colleges in the world. The cost of tuition for the most recent school year, 2020-2021 is $54,880. Including room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses, that number increases to $78,742. These costs can be even higher depending on what program a student enrolls in. Although the cost of tuition and the cost of living both increase incrementally every year, a student paying full price to attend NYU could expect to pay at least $314,968 to attend the University for four years.

Why Is NYU So Expensive?

NYU is notoriously expensive; its tuition and fees are among the highest in the U.S. Plus, New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the country, a major driver of housing and meal prices for students. One of the reasons that tuition at NYU is so high is that operating a complex research and teaching enterprise in the city is very expensive. Its endowment, which was $4.35 billion in 2019, is relatively small compared to other top private research universities on a per-student basis (NYU has approximately 58,000 students). Plus, NYU, like all universities, has high personnel costs. As a result, it relies on student tuition to fund much of its operations.

Does NYU Have in State Tuition?

NYU is a private university so it does not offer in-state tuition.

Does NYU Give Good Financial Aid?

Every year, approximately 20% of NYU students receive Pell Grants, and, according to data reported to the Department of Education, 51% of NYU students receive financial aid. Of those students that receive financial aid, the average grant and scholarship total is $29,480 and the average net price is $39,935. According to reports by NYU, the average scholarship amount awarded to first-year students is closer to $37,000.

How Much Is Room and Board at NYU?

The cost of room and board at NYU is approximately $19,244 for the 2020-21 academic year.

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. 

Article Sources
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