The pace at which college tuition has increased over the past few decades is enough to scare any high school student or concerned parent. The cost of attending the nation’s more prestigious academies can be particularly daunting.

New York University, with a main campus in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, is no exception. Current tuition is a whopping $50,464 per year, a figure that is slightly higher or lower depending on which college one attends. Add in room, board and other fees, and the annual price comes to $68,128 for 2017-18 academic year.

That makes NYU an expensive option, even compared to other non-public institutions. According to the College Board, the average annual tuition at a private university is $34,740 for the 2017-2018 academic year. With room, board and fees included, the total is $46,850. That means, over four years, a typical NYU student will pay $85,112 more than the average for a private-university attendee.

It’s worth keeping in mind that NYU is ranked much better than average 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 averages at 1410 in 2016.

In addition, NYU – the largest private university in the country, with more than 53,000 total students  – offers a unique cultural experience. One of its biggest draws is its urban New York City campus, located in one of the city's coolest neighborhoods. NYU also offers the chance to spend a semester in places like Paris, London, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai; it has more students studying abroad than any other college in the U.S.

Getting Some Relief

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. (For additional funding ideas, see Private Student Loans For International Students.)

For more information, see All About Student Loans and 5 Ways To Get Maximum Student Financial Aid.

A Worthwhile Expenditure?

Despite its steep price, research indicates that an education from NYU is still a good value overall. That’s because the odds are that students will secure a competitive salary once they graduate. According to the 2017-2018 College Salary Report from the data firm PayScale, the median early career salary for an alum with just a four-year degree is $58,700, and the mid-career salary median is $117,000. NYU ranks 70th among more than 1,509 institutions nationwide (schools were ranked based on mid-career salary). When the survey includes those who went on to get advanced degrees, NYU ranks 81st and the median early career salary is $59,800, reaching $119,600 at mid career.

That trend seems to hold over the long run as well. PayScale has NYU-Poly at No. 172 when it comes to the 20-year return on one’s investment. When you factor in getting financial aid and compare NYU-Poly grads only to those from private colleges or paying out-of-state tuition at public universities, it jumps to No. 132, with a median 20-year net payout of $542,000.

Note, by the way, that these are overall figures; the PayScale survey shows that the choice of college major can make a grad's income much higher or lower.

The Bottom Line

Students without financial aid can expect to pay above-average tuition in order to attend New York University. Graduates tend to do well, which can offset the cost. Return on investment isn't the only reason to choose a school (or a field of study). But if it is a central concern, it's worth exploring the PayScale survey to determine whether there are lower-cost choices that yield similarly good ROIs. 

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