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What Does it Cost to Attend Case Western Reserve University?

By the numbers, there is a lot to attract students to Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)  in Cleveland, Ohio. U.S. News and World Report places the school 42nd in its national university rankings, ahead of notable institutions like Rutgers, Syracuse, and Villanova. Case Western Reserve ranked even higher in Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2019 College Rankings, landing in the 39th spot.


It’s not just overall recognition that makes Case Western Reserve stand out—the school’s diversity is also of note: the student body includes representatives from over 81 countries. Additionally, CWRU was named one of the Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges And Universities in the country by Campus Pride, a national organization representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.


There’s another number you can’t help but notice when looking at Case Western Reserve: the price. Like many of the nation’s best private colleges, the cost of attending CWRU is more than $60,000 a year. Fortunately, most students do not pay full price for their college education. Read on to find out what the price tag might be for your student’s CWRU education.

College Costs are Highly Variable

From a logical standpoint, you might guess that the list price of an institution would be indicative of its cost. However, that doesn’t usually hold because students rarely pay the full list price. Rather, the price of college is determined by a number of factors that will be different for each student, including the amount of federal, state, and local government aid they receive, along with institutional and merit aid they are awarded.


Because of this variability, looking at net cost can better predict the actual out-of-pocket costs you might face; net cost calculates the amount of aid your student might receive from grants and scholarships and deducts this from a given school’s list price. Because net cost shows the real cost of school, it’s the preferred metric to use when comparing college costs.

Case Western Reserve’s List Price

List price (also sometimes called “the cost of attendance”) is the price of tuition, room, and board combined. The list price at CWRU in 2016-2017 was $63,404. Since CWRU is a private institution, the list price is the same for both in- and out-of-state students.


Although most students won’t pay the full list price at CWRU, there are some who do. Students who pay the list price at Case Western Reserve generally are from affluent families with annual incomes greater than $175,000 and are outside the top 30% of accepted students.

What is the Price of Case Western Reserve with Financial Aid?

No matter what school your student attends, financial aid, awarded on the basis of financial need, will likely be a primary factor that will reduce their education’s cost. With this in mind, a valuable metric when considering how much you would actually pay for a CRWU education is the average financial aid awarded to each CRWU student. The financial aid net price—calculated by subtracting CRWU’s average financial aid award per student from CRWU’s sticker price—is $55,026. Once again, CWRU’s status as a private institution means that this number is the same for students from Ohio and from non-Ohio students.

Cost of Case Western Reserve Based on Household Income

The annual income of a student’s family determines how much financial aid they will receive. Listed below is what a student can expect to pay at Case Western Reserve University based on their family’s income:


Family Income Average Net Price
Below $30,000 $17,287
$30,001-$48,000 $20,629
$48,001-$75,000 $28,484
$75,001-$110,000 $31,063
$110,000+ $37,150

What is the Merit Aid Net Price of Case Western Reserve?

Merit aid is awarded to students on the basis of their outstanding qualifications and accomplishments. This sort of aid can be given for a variety of skills and achievements, both inside and outside of the classroom. Importantly, schools award merit aid without regard for the financial need of a student. CWRU ranked highly in CollegeVine’s analysis of over 1,000 schools for merit aid generosity: it placed 143rd.


65.5% of students without financial need receive merit aid at CWRU; on average, they receive an award of $16,280. The university’s merit aid generosity brings the average net price of CWRU (for a student who doesn’t qualify for financial aid) down to $47,124.

Loans and Debt

Though students and families often prefer financial aid and merit aid because they do not leave students with debt after college, loans also play an important role in financing many students’ college educations. This reality means that it’s important to consider what role loans might play in financing your student’s CWRU education. 44% of CWRU students take out loans; on average, CWRU students borrow $5,341 in federal student loans.

Other Ways to Save

A part-time job can help students cover everyday costs throughout college, which can mitigate unnecessary debt accumulation. The minimum wage in Ohio is $8.55 an hour, which is $1.30 more than federal minimum wage. Like most big cities, Cleveland offers a variety of employment opportunities to students in fields like retail, service, and hospitality.


Case Western Reserve University also offers students the chance to work on campus via their Campus Employment Program. Unlike the Federal Work-Study Program (which is open only to students with financial need), CWRU’s Campus Employment Program offers jobs to students regardless of financial need; wages are paid by the employing department.


Scholarships represent another great way for students to minimize the cost of CWRU. All first-year applicants at Case Western Reserve are automatically considered for several scholarships, notably the University Scholarship, the Bolton Scholarship, and the Michelson-Morley STEM Scholarship.


Case Western Reserve also offers a variety of scholarships (including full-tuition awards) to students who provide additional information or write an additional essay when they apply. One such scholarship is the Andrew and Eleanor Squire Scholarship, which is awarded to first-year applicants in the arts, humanities, management, or accountancy, as well as to those in the natural, social and behavioral sciences. More information on the numerous scholarships open to incoming CWRU students can be found on the school’s scholarship page.


The National Merit Scholarship Program is another scholarship top students should investigate. One of the most popular scholarship programs in the country, the National Merit Scholarships program awards funds to students who score in the top 1% on the PSAT. CWRU sponsors a number of National Merit Scholarships for finalists who declare the university their first-choice school and who have not received any other National Merit or Corporate National Merit Scholarships. Check out our blog How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program to learn more about this prestigious program.


College is a huge investment of both money and time, so it’s wise to consider what the return on that investment will be. Student outcome statistics can help answer that question. One crucial consideration is the success of students while in college: do students at a given school typically complete their degree programs? At CWRU, the answer is yes. 80% of Case Western Reserve students graduate within six years of matriculating. Income statistics can tell you what your student’s prospects might be once they’ve earned their CWRU degree. Ten years after graduating, CWRU alumni earn an average of $74,600 a year, which is substantially more than the $51,786 average salary of a Cleveland, Ohio, resident.

Local Cost of Living Considerations

It’s just more expensive to live in some places than in others. As such, a school’s location can have an effect on the overall cost of college. CWRU’s home city, Cleveland, Ohio, is a boon for students looking to minimize expenditures during their college education. The cost of living index of Cleveland is 77.1, which makes it 22.9% less expensive than the national average.


Case Western Reserve requires its students to live in university housing or a Greek house (fraternity or sorority) for the first two years of their degree program. For upperclassmen, living off campus is an appealing option because of Cleveland’s low housing costs, which are 70% below the national average (a huge factor in the city’s low cost of living index). Below is the average rent for various sized apartments in Cleveland:


  • Studio: $539
  • One-bedroom: $644
  • Two-bedroom: $794
  • Three-bedroom: $1,047


CWRU offers a variety of resources to students who wish to live off campus, which can be found on their Off-Campus Housing webpage. If you’re looking to compare the expense of living on campus to that of living off campus, the university’s estimated price for room and board (using their 17-meal plan) is $15,614 for 2019-2020.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.