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What Does it Cost to Attend Claremont McKenna College?

Many families wonder exactly how much they are going to pay for college, but few are able to predict precisely how much this will be. Exact out-of-pocket costs vary widely depending on a family’s income, how much merit and financial aid a student secures, and the sticker price of a college. 


Rising college costs are a concern for the majority of college-bound students and their families. In fact, the cost of a four-year degree has continued to rise steadily over the past decade. According to CNN, as of 2016 the average family paid $56,840 for a four-year degree from a public institution in 2016 and $104,400 for a four-year degree from a private university.


Unsurprisingly, as college costs soar, so does the number of families applying for financial aid. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of college students receiving financial aid reached 85% in 2016, and has only increased since then.


In this series of posts, we analyze the costs of attending college at over 1000 schools across the country. To learn more about how much you can expect to spend to attend Claremont McKenna, keep reading.


Why Are College Costs So Variable?


We at CollegeVine are accustomed to hearing from families who are confused or frustrated with the variability of college costs. Some variables affecting cost are specific to families, while others are specific to the college itself.


One primary variable is a college’s list price. This is basically the amount that a family would expect to pay out of pocket for tuition, fees, and room and board, without any sort of financial assistance. It is sometimes referred to as a sticker price and is usually all-inclusive. Sometimes, though, at smaller state schools or schools with a high number of commuter students, it will exclude certain costs like room and board. You should always confirm exactly what a sticker price includes before comparing it to other schools’ prices.


A college’s net price is sometimes a more helpful data point for predicting college costs. The net price is the amount that a family actually pays out of pocket to attend a college, after financial aid, loans, or merit scholarships are applied. Net price is impacted by three primary factors. These include federal, state, and local aid; institutional aid; and merit scholarships, all of which will vary from one family to the next. This means that exact college cost for a specific family is difficult to anticipate, but armed with more information, you can make a more accurate prediction.


What is the List Price at Claremont McKenna?


The list price at Claremont McKenna is $69,385. Since it is a private college, this price remains the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.


Few students at Claremont McKenna actually pay the list price, though. In fact, only wealthy students with a family income of $175k or more would typically pay this amount.


What is the Average Net Cost of Attending Claremont McKenna?


The actual amount that a family pays out of pocket is due in large part to the amount of financial aid that a family is eligible to receive. This includes aid from federal, state, or local sources, along with aid from the college itself.


The average net cost of attending Claremont McKenna after financial aid is $58,310 for both in-state and out-of state students. For students not receiving financial aid, the average net cost was $68,103.


What Is the Cost Based on Income of Attending Claremont McKenna?


While average net cost gives you a good idea of how much an average family might pay to attend Claremont McKenna, it varies largely based on family income. For this reason, it’s more helpful to see the net costs as broken down by family income. At Claremont McKenna, the net cost breakdown by family income is as follows.


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $11,499
$30,001-$48,000 $17,173
$48,001-$75,000 $18,096
$75,001-$110,000 $20,675
$110,000+ $43,992


How Much Merit Aid is Typically Awarded at Claremont McKenna?


Its status as a selective private college means that Claremont McKenna does not regularly award merit aid in significant amounts. Only 6.9% of students receive merit aid, and the average award amounts to just $1,282. This places it at 738th in the pool of over 1000 schools we analyzed for merit aid generosity.


How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Claremont McKenna?


Taking out loans is not common amongst Claremont McKenna students. In 2016, only 8% of students had loans to help fund their college education. The average federal student loan amount per undergraduate student at Claremont McKenna is $2,185 total across all four years.


Student Outcomes at Claremont McKenna


Students outcomes are a good way of predicting your likely return on investment after paying for a college education. In general, college graduates earn significantly more than people without a college degree, so it’s fair to consider the initial high costs of attending college a long-term investment in future earning potential.


At Claremont McKenna, 92% of students graduate within four years. Ten years after graduation, the average salary is $72,900.

Local Area Cost Considerations


Total out-of-pocket college expenses aren’t just impacted by financial aid and scholarships. They are also affected by local cost of living variations. These can add up significantly over the course of four years, so it’s worth considering how much living costs are likely to impact your budget during the college years.


Claremont McKenna is located in southern California in the town of Claremont, about 40 minutes inland from Los Angeles. Its location as an LA and Pasadena suburb, as well as its idyllic scenery, make it an expensive place to live. The cost of living index in Claremont is 196.4, meaning it is about 96.4% more expensive than the national average.


The highest costs you’re likely to encounter in Claremont are related to transportation and housing. Home prices there are more than three times the national average, and rent is accordingly high. A studio apartment rents for about $1300 per month while a three bedroom rental goes for about $2700.


The job market in the Claremont area is good, though. Salaries are generally above average, and minimum wage in California is currently $12/hour, with potential for a bump to $15/hour in the next few years. The average hourly wage in California is over $20.


Other Ways to Pay for College


Financial aid and loans can help to fund a college education, but their availability is largely based on your family’s income. Scholarships are another way to help absorb college costs, and these are something that you and your student can actively seek out.


One of the most popular scholarship programs in the country is the National Merit Scholarship Program. In this program, every high school junior who takes the PSAT is eligible to qualify based on PSAT performance. Some students are also eligible for other awards, such as those through the National Hispanic Recognition Program or others sponsored by corporations or individual colleges. To learn more about the program, check out our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


Other scholarship programs can be just as effective when it comes to helping with college costs. Learn about other options that might be a possibility for your family in these CollegeVine posts:



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!

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.