What Does it Cost to Attend Smith College?
Located at the top of the hill of the charming and historic city of Northampton, MA, Smith College, a member of the Seven Sisters, is home to the nation’s first engineering program at a women’s college, a highly inclusive and progressive student body, and one of the best all-around education opportunities and empowering environments exclusively for women.
A degree from Smith College, although high in prestige and promise, is also not low in cost. However, if you’re considering applying to or attending Smith, don’t let that deter you. We’ve created this comprehensive post that covers exactly how you might navigate the tuition prices, and get more help in paying for an education at Smith College.
Why the Costs of Attendance are Highly Variable
You’ll probably see many different numbers from many different sources regarding college costs during the journey from when you first start applying to when you decide which college you’re going to attend.
A good place to start for estimating how much a four-year education at any institution is to go to their page for tuition and financial aid. However, the truth is that the tuition you see listed on the university’s website is really just that: a good place to start. The costs of attendance are highly variable. This number that you see under tuition on a university’s website is what we call the list price; everything starts from there, but how much less you will actually pay is based on many different factors from family income to on-campus employment.
The good news is that most families don’t pay this list price. What you should look for instead is net cost, the amount families actually pay out of their pockets.
In general, the amount of aid you receive comes down to three parts:
- Government aid at the federal, state, or local levels
- Institutional financial aid
- Merit scholarships
We’re going to look at each of these in how they can lower net cost.
Smith College’s List Price
Tuition for colleges generally rise each year. That said, for the 2016-2017, the list price for Smith College was $66,647 for both in-state and out-of-state students. This number includes tuition, room and board, and other miscellaneous costs such as a student activities fee. Since Smith is a private institution, this price remains the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.
If most families don’t pay this price, who are the few who do? In general, those who pay the full list price are families whose annual household income is greater than $175,000. Even for these families, if the student receives merit aid from the institution, they may not even pay the list price. It’s worthwhile to note that not all colleges offer merit aid, but Smith does.
Cost of Attendance with Financial Aid
Smith College ensures that it will meet the full documented need of all admitted students who apply for financial aid. For the 2016-2017 school year, the average net cost of attendance with financial aid only was $55,579 for both in-state and out-of-state students.
Cost Based on Family Income
The greater your family’s financial need, the more need-based aid a student will qualify for. Here are the average net costs for Smith students after receiving financial aid based on family income:
|Average Net Price
Merit Aid Net Prices and Net Prices for Students Without Need
The kind of financial aid we’ve been talking about until now has been need-based aid, in which the amount of financial support given to a student is based on the family’s financial need, measured by total income.
In contrast, merit aid is granted based on what the university deems to be exceptional performance and potential, usually academic performance, and school or community involvement. It often comes in the form of a scholarship.
At Smith College, 24.3% of students without financial need receive merit aid. In 2016, the average amount awarded is $3,761. The average net price for Smith students who didn’t qualify for financial aid was $62,886.
Smith College gives out a limited number of merit-based awards. The STRIDE program offers incoming first-years not only a substantial scholarship for four years, but a paid research position with a Smith professor for the first two years.
Other merit-based awards include a Presidential Scholarship, and the Dora Windes Zollman Scholarship that reduces tuition by one-half.
Visit Smith’s scholarships site to learn more about other merit-based awards.
Student Loans and Debts
Often, even with institutional aid and scholarships, students need help financing their college education. This is where federal loans come in. Unlike scholarships or grants, loans need to be repaid, often with interest. At Smith College, 59% of students take out loans, with an average amount of $4,090 per student.
Investing in college is a big decision. You may wonder whether Smith College is “worth” the financial investment, especially if you have loans to pay back. To get an idea of how Smith students are doing down the line, we have these statistics: 88% of Smith students graduate within 6 years, and the average salary ten years after graduation is $46,200.
Local Area Cost Considerations
It’s important to factor local area cost of living into college cost calculations, especially if your student plans to live off-campus or cook for themselves.
Northampton, MA has an overall cost of living index of 114.9, which means it’s largely on par with the national average; it’s only 15% more expensive to live in Northampton than in the rest of the U.S. in general.
For most students at Smith, however, matters such as rentals are not too pertinent. Smith College’s housing is noted for its quality of life and its sense of community. 95% of students live on-campus, in its 35 houses—not dorms—each with its own architectural style and house personality.
Smith College offers plenty of opportunities to hold on-campus jobs for both students on financial aid and those who aren’t, but off-campus jobs are of course available to those who want a change of work scenery. As of 2019, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.00 per hour, and is expected to increase to $15.00 by 2023. In 2017 the average hourly wage in Massachusetts was $22.81.
Other Ways to Save on College
We’ve covered the main ways to save on college, but it doesn’t end at institutional or federal financial aid and loans. There are numerous private merit-based scholarships that could help reduce your net cost further for college.
One of the more prestigious scholarships is the National Merit Scholarship program, and your student may have already qualified for consideration without even knowing it. When you take the PSAT, you are automatically entered for qualification, and the program awards $2,500 to finalists. Take a look at our guide to the National Merit Scholarship program.
College education is an investment, and one at Smith College is an outstanding way to launch your student into the world.
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