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What Does it Really Cost to Attend Muhlenberg College?

Choosing the right school with your student is difficult enough, but once finances are thrown into the mix, that decision can become downright incomprehensible. Understanding the various factors impacting the cost to your family early on will help demystify the numbers and make that school selection process easier. After all, knowing which schools will make financial sense in addition to desired specifications like size, available degree programs, and location is one way to build a strong school list.


Predicting the exact cost of attendance for your student can be difficult, but by looking at the factors that determine college cost you can better understand your options. In this series, we aim to help your family prepare for the college applications season by going through the determinants that impact college costs, including family finances, in-state and out-of-state tuition, and more. Continue reading to learn what a Muhlenberg College education could potentially cost for your family.

Why Are College Costs So Variable?

College costs vary between schools and families depending on their financial situations. This variability can be frustrating when trying to predict how much your family should expect to spend. But understanding how these costs can differ from the list price, or the sticker price, is the first step. The list price is how much a family would pay without financial assistance. Consequently, this number doesn’t take into account the individual financial factors that might impact the cost to your family. This list price usually includes tuition, room and board, and maybe some activity fees, but every school is different so be sure to double-check what this price includes for each school.


It is often more valuable to compare the net cost of your student’s prospective schools, or what families typically pay out of pocket (including loans). While not a perfect metric, comparing net costs instead of list costs can help gauge a school’s aid generosity (both need- and merit-based) and the affordability of that school. Understanding net costs will prepare you to select the school that makes the most sense for your student and your family.


Three main factors determine the net cost of a school: federal, state, and local government aid; institutional financial aid; and merit scholarships. You might not know the amount of aid your student will receive before getting an official offer letter, but looking at average net costs for the school can give you an early sense of what is possible.

What is the List Price at Muhlenberg College?

For the 2016-2017 school year, the list price for Muhlenberg College was $62,360. Since Muhlenberg is a private institution, this price was the same for both in-state and out-of-state residents.


However, most families do not pay this amount. Usually, only families that earn more than $175,000 per year can expect to pay the full list price.

What is the Net Cost of Attending Muhlenberg College?

The net cost for your family is determined by the three factors above: government aid, institutional (school) aid, and merit aid. Breaking it down based on these factor can be helpful, but since merit aid is generally need-blind, we’ll look at the net cost after only government and institutional aid.


With need-based aid only, the average net price for in-state and out-of-state students was $54,799. For students who did not qualify for financial aid, the average net price was $52,047.

What is the Income-Based Cost of Attending Muhlenberg College?

Financial aid depends largely on a family’s finances—one of the largest factors being income— consequently, it can be helpful to examine average net cost by income level.


The average net price of Muhlenberg College based on family income is below:


Family Income Average Net Cost
$0-$30,000 $12,422
$30,001-$48,000 $19,704
$48,001-$75,000 $23,223
$75,001-$110,000 $25,145
$110,000+ $39,494

Muhlenberg College offers a net price calculator for prospective applicants which can be a helpful tool to provide more context and specificity around your family’s potential costs.

What is the Merit Aid Net Price?

After government and institutional financial aid, the third type of aid that will play a role in your student’s net cost of attendance is merit aid. Since merit aid varies drastically among applicants, a school’s merit aid generosity is a good metric to use when predicting what your student might expect to receive.


Muhlenberg ranked 350th for merit aid generosity in the pool of over 1,000 schools that CollegeVine analyzed. About 81.6% of students without need receive merit aid, and the average award is $10,313.


A breakdown of available merit aid scholarships is available on their website.  

How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Muhlenberg College?

At 51%, just over half of Muhlenberg College students take out federal loans, which are a common element in many financial aid packages. These are often preferable to private loans due to their lower interest rates and varied repayment plans. The average federal loan amount per undergrad student is $5,011.

Student Outcomes

About 83% of Muhlenberg College students graduate within six years. The average salary ten years after graduation is $59,400.

Local Area Cost Considerations

Besides the list or even net cost of attending Muhlenberg College, there are other factors to consider when planning how to afford your student’s education. These are incidental costs like groceries, travel, and even  rent should your student live off campus—but these will vary depending on the cost of living in their college’s town.


Muhlenberg College is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is a mid-sized city of about 120,000 people near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border. Its location and affordable housing are draws to the area, though there tend to be few entertainment options.


The overall cost of living index in Allentown is just below the U.S. average, at 95.4. This is primarily driven by low housing costs, at 65.5% of the U.S. average, while other costs like health and transportation are slightly above the national average.


Most students live on campus at Muhlenberg College, which requires an application to live off-campus. If your student decides to live off campus, they can expect to see an average rent of $848 for a 1-bedroom, $1,078 for a 2-bedroom, and $1,397 for a 3-bedroom.


Minimum wage in Allentown is the federal wage of $7.25 an hour.

Other Ways to Help Fund a College Education

In addition to government, institutional, and merit aid, there are other ways to help fund a college education. These can include student jobs or outside scholarships that your student may already be eligible for based on their grades and test scores. Outside scholarships can come from a variety of sources, so your student should look at the local, state, and in some cases the national level. Local scholarships may have a smaller award attached to them, but often have better odds because of the size of the applicant pool. Scholarships are available at all levels ranging from awards for academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities or special interest groups, and athletics. Your student should check with their school’s guidance office to see if they have any resources for finding these local scholarships.


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
Anna Ravenelle is a graduate of Cornell University, where she studied English with a concentration in Creative Writing. After spending two application cycles in the CollegeVine applications division, she now uses her admissions experience to help a greater number of students. She resides in New York but her heart has never left New Hampshire, where she grew up.