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What Does It Cost to Attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute?

When researching the cost of colleges, it can be tempting to simply look at the institution’s list price and assume that’s the amount you will pay. This can lead to a pretty big shock when researching institutions, such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), that have published prices of more than $60,000 a year.


According to CNBC, over the past ten years, private nonprofit colleges have gone from costing $27,520 to $34,740 on average; in the same time, WPI has climbed from $44,710 to $62,930. However, don’t let sticker shock over a school’s published price keep you away from considering a college you’re interested in attending—most students do not pay full price for college.


Understanding the price of a college such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute is more nuanced than merely looking at its list price. Net cost—which factors in financial aid received from the federal, state, and local government, in addition to any institutional aid and merit scholarships awarded—is a better metric to use for getting a clear idea of what you can expect to pay out of pocket to attend an institution like WPI.


If Worcester Polytechnic Institute is on your list of dream colleges to attend, don’t miss our blog What Does it Take to Get Into Worcester Polytechnic Institute?


Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s List Price


List price, also sometimes referred to as the cost of attendance, is the published price of tuition, room, and board at an institution. The list price for both in- and out-of-state students at WPI in 2016-2017 was $62,930.


List price provides a rough idea of the overall expense of an institution but, in the end, the majority of students will pay less than list price. Students who do pay the full published price for Worcester Polytechnic Institute come from families with financial means that earn over $175,000 a year, and who were outside of the top 30% academically of accepted students.


What is the Price of Worcester Polytechnic Institute with Financial Aid?


Financial aid net price factors in any merit- or need-based aid a student receives via grants or scholarships and deducts them from the list price of college. The average cost of WPI after financial aid for both in- and out-of-state students is $54,936.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Cost Based on Household Income


The more financial need a student’s family has, the more need-based financial aid a student will qualify for—resulting in a lower net cost of WPI. Below are the average net prices of WPI based on family income level:


Family Income Average Net Price
Below $30,000 $27,379
$30,001-$48,000 $29,298
$48,001-$75,000 $32,307
$75,001-$110,000 $34,770
$110,000+ $42,222


Merit Aid Net at Worcester Polytechnic Institute


The average net price of WPI for students without financial need is $49,895, which is significantly less than the list price of $62,930. The primary way WPI helps reduce its cost for students without financial aid is through merit aid. Merit aid is awarded regardless of a student’s financial need for a wide range of reasons including academic accomplishments, athletic achievements, and community leadership.


Students scared by WPI’s robust sticker price will be happy to learn that it placed in the top quarter of schools (257th) in a CollegeVine analysis of over 1,000 schools’ merit aid generosity. 94.2% of WPI students without financial need receive merit aid, with the average reward being $13,035.

Student Loans and Debt at Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Even with financial aid and WPI’s generous merit aid, many students will need to take out student loans to cover part of the cost of college. Just under half of WPI students, 49%, take out student loans. The average amount of federal student loans of a WPI student is $6,368 across four years. It’s worth noting that some students will also take out private loans to finance their education.


Student Outcomes at Worcester Polytechnic Institute


No matter what cost figure you’re looking at, a WPI education is a big investment and, like any big investment, you should expect a return. WPI students will find they are well rewarded for the time and money spent at WPI. WPI students typically graduate in a timely manner, avoiding adding costly extra years in school—85% of students graduate within six years. Beware, WPI lore warns that any student who steps on the university seal imprinted in the ground at the center of campus will not graduate on time.


The average salary ten years after graduation for a WPI student is $84,900, appreciably larger than both the average $24,447 salary of a Worcester resident and the $28,555 earned by the average U.S. citizen.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


According to Sperling’s Best Places, the cost of living index—a number calculated using a host of costs from housing to groceries used to provide a general idea of the overall expense of living in a particular location—in Worcester, Massachusetts, is 109. This makes Worcester a slightly more expensive place to live than the national average (100) and considerably less expensive than the Massachusetts average (139).


Average Apartment Costs


WPI believes that learning and living go hand in hand and that students who live on campus are more satisfied with their college experience, do better in class, and are more likely to graduate. However, living on campus is not required and even incoming freshmen—who WPI guarantees housing—do not have to live in a campus residence.


WPI’s Residential Services Office provides information about living off campus to students as a courtesy service. In Worcester, the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment is $940, a two-bedroom is $1,202, and a three-bedroom is $1,496. Like any city (Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts), the cost of apartments will fluctuate depending on location; as a guideline, the average cost of an apartment will be more expensive in one of Worcester’s outlying suburbs.




One way college students can cover some of the cost of college while attending is to have a part-time job. Massachusetts’ minimum wage is $12.00 an hour, making it one of the 29 states with a minimum wage higher than the federally mandated $7.25.


Other Ways to Save for College


Part-time jobs are great for covering the cost of day-to-day living while at college, and can help a student avoid racking up additional debt. Worcester and its surrounding area feature a plethora of shops, restaurants, and assorted services, offering numerous opportunities for part-time employment.


WPI also offers a variety of institutional scholarships to first-year students from general awards like Presidential Scholarships—given to applicants based on prior academic performance, recommendations, leadership, extracurricular activities, and community service—to VEX Scholarships, which are given to enthusiastic engineering and science students who demonstrate the ability and innovative spirit necessary to excel as an engineer or scientist.


Additionally, Worcester Polytechnic Institute participates in the SAGE Scholars Tuition Rewards Program, a private college savings program. Through this program, students earn Reward Points by saving or investing with affiliated institutions, employers, and health insurers. Similar to how frequent flyer miles work, reward points can be redeemed for a discount on tuition.  


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.