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What Does it Cost to Attend Rice University?

As you and your student start exploring college options, it’s important to evaluate your family’s financial situation and your ability to pay for your child’s college education. According to the College Board, tuition and fees have risen by $2,670 at public four-year institutions and $7,390 at private institutions in the last ten years. With the costs of college on the rise, your family should assess college costs sooner than later.


When examining the costs of attending each college, it’s important to note that the sticker price is almost never the amount that your family ends up paying; in fact, it’s often lower. The price that you want to pay attention to instead is the net cost, which is the list price minus any financial aid and merit scholarships received.


However, there is an added level of complexity with the net cost metric. Since you’re factoring financial aid into the cost, it helps to break down your financial aid into two separate pieces: federal/state/local government aid and institutional aid.


Basically, assessing college costs is complex. If your student is interested in attending Rice University, however, there’s no need to worry. We will break down the costs of attending this prestigious institution so that no matter where your family is located and what your annual income is, you will have a good idea of how much you can expect to pay.


Want to learn what Rice University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Rice University needs to know.


List Price at Rice University


How much does Rice University say it costs to attend their college, including tuition plus room and board? As of 2016-2017, the sticker price was $60,518. Since Rice is a private university, this price remains the same for both in- and out-of-state students.


It’s important to note that the list price is not usually the amount that most families pay. Usually, only families with an annual income of over $175,000, and whose student is not in the top 30% of the accepted class, end up paying the list price. As this is a small subset of accepted students, it is safe to assume that this cost will be lower for most families.


Financial Aid Net Price at Rice 


The financial aid net price is the sticker price minus any need-based aid received. While every student’s financial aid package differs, the average net price is $50,919.


What Is The Cost Based On Family Income at Rice?


Let’s break this down even further. Much of the financial aid offered by public and private sources is need-based, meaning that it heavily depends on one’s family income. With this in mind, here are some estimates on what the net cost of attending Rice University would be for students in different income levels:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $5,398
$30,001-$48,000 $6,293
$48,001-$75,000 $10,080
$75,001-$110,000 $22,683
over $110,000 $38,701

What is the Merit Aid Net Price at Rice?


Of course, need-based financial aid is not the only type of aid available for students. There is also merit-based aid, or scholarships that are awarded for exceptional accomplishments. For students who attend Rice University, around 16.2% of students without demonstrated financial need receive merit-based financial aid, and each student without need receives about $3,730 of merit-based aid. This means a merit aid net price of $56,788.


We at CollegeVine did an analysis of over 1000 schools and ranked them based on their merit-based aid generosity. Of the colleges we analyzed, Rice University placed 594th.


Loans/Debt at Rice University


In order to afford college, many students end up taking out loans, either from government or institutional sources. Your student will need to start paying back these loans (plus interest) usually six months after they finish college.


67% of undergraduate students at Rice University take out loans in order to afford their Rice education, and the average federal student loan is $1,488 across all four years.


Student Outcomes at Rice 


If your family is going to spend lots of money for your child to be educated at Rice, you should ensure that the university is setting your student up for career success. Thankfully, Rice University is well-known for producing successful outcomes for their students. The graduation rate for Rice undergraduates is 91%, and students usually graduate in 4-6 years. Also, within 10 years of graduating, most undergraduate students earn a salary of $65,400.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


It’s important to take a look at the costs of the surrounding city, especially if your student wants to live off-campus or cook for themselves. The cost of living index for Houston is 104.8, which means that it is 4.8% higher than the national average. For a sprawling city and a nice community, this is quite good.


While 78% of Rice’s undergraduate population lives on campus, some students prefer to live elsewhere. To live off-campus in the Rice Village area, the average apartment rents are:


  • Studio: $1,695
  • 1 Bedroom: $2,030
  • 2 Bedroom: $2,883
  • 3 Bedroom: $5,458


Other Ways to Save:


If your family is concerned that your child’s college education is going to pose a significant financial burden on your family, rest assured that there are other ways to cut down on college costs. Here are some popular ones:


  1. Working: Many students work part-time jobs during college or participate in work-study programs to help lower the cost of attending school. In fact, Rice University offers Rice Work, an institutional program that allows students to gain employment at the university without demonstrating financial need. The minimum wage in Texas is the same as the federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, while the average hourly wage is more like $23.63 per hour.


  1. Merit Scholarships: Merit scholarships are probably the best way for your student to decrease the cost of attending Rice without any extra stress or workload. Thankfully, Rice makes it easy for students to apply for merit scholarships. Every accepted undergraduate student is automatically considered for merit-based aid at Rice, so there are no extra forms or applications to fill out.


Of course, there are other institutions, both private and public, that give out scholarships. A great one is the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. In order to qualify for a National Merit scholarship, your student must meet the following requirements:


  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT during their junior year of high school (or the equivalent year in other educational patterns) and score in the top 1%.
  • Attend a high school, traditional or homeschooled, in the United States, D.C., or a U.S. commonwealth or territory.


If your student meets these requirements, they will be considered a National Merit Semifinalist, and be invited to apply for finalist status, which includes scholarship money of around $2,500.

For More Information

Looking for more help navigating college costs? Check out the following posts:

Understanding College Costs: FAQs About Financial Aid in Practice

How To Afford College: Exploring Your Options

Borrowing For Beginners: An Introduction To Student Loans

How Do I Get Started Saving Money For College


Looking for some more personalized help with college costs? CollegeVine can help! As part of our College Applications Program, you’ll get access to our Finances tool, which shows students the ROI of different schools and majors and helps students identify scholarships to apply for. By working with CollegeVine and the Finances tool, our students earn an average of $83,000 in scholarships. See if this would be a helpful tool for your family!


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!

Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!