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What Does It Really Cost to Attend Tufts University?

College costs can be a confusing aspect of college planning for many families. This is because the majority of families need to consider cost when selecting colleges, yet exact cost out of pocket can be near impossible to predict until the first tuition bill arrives in the mail. For many families, this represents a frustrating conundrum.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of college students receiving financial aid has been rising steadily for decades. In 2016, it reached 85% and has only moved upward since then. This is due largely to the climbing costs of attending college. As reported by CNN, in 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.


There are many factors that impact how much your family will pay for college. In this series, we look at how these factors affect out of pocket costs at specific schools across the country, in hopes that that this information will help to more accurately predict how much a family can expect to pay for college. To learn more about how much you might pay for your child to attend Tufts University, keep reading.


Why Are College Costs So Variable?


College costs vary widely depending on a number of different factors. Some are specific to each school, while others are specific to each family. Combined, these make for nearly endless possibilities when it comes to predicting out of pocket college costs.


The primary factor in many cases is a college’s list price. This is essentially the sticker price, or full cost of attending that college, without any sort of financial aid, merit aid, or other assistance. The sticker price typically includes tuition, room and board, and any fees the campus might charge like a library card fee. While this is usually all-inclusive, at some state schools or other colleges with a large number of commuter students, this price may exclude costs like room and board. Always know exactly what is included when you’re comparing list prices.


Net cost is often a more helpful metric when it comes to predicting college costs. The average net cost of a college is the average price that families pay out of pocket for a student to attend. This varies based on three primary factors: federal, state, and local aid; institutional aid; and merit scholarships. These factors vary from one family to another, often based on a family’s financial situation, so out of pocket cost is still difficult to predict, but armed with some information about the specific schools, it can become a little easier.


What is the List Price at Tufts?


The list price at Tufts is $68,190. Because Tufts is a private university, this price is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Very few students typically pay the list price, though. Only wealthy students with family incomes above $175k should expect to pay the full list price.


What is the Average Net Cost of Attending Tufts?


Net cost is dependent on the amount of aid that a student receives. This includes federal, state, local, and institutional aid, along with merit scholarships. The average net cost of attending Tufts is $58,406 for both in-state and out-of state students. For students not receiving financial aid, the average net cost was $68,173.


What Is the Cost Based on Income of Attending Tufts?


The most significant factor impacting how much a family pays for college is their income. For this reason, it’s helpful to break down the average net cost by family income level. At Tufts, the average net cost by income is as follows.


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $9,222
$30,001-$48,000 $10,377
$48,001-$75,000 $18,872
$75,001-$110,000 $24,260
$110,000+ $47,538

How Much Merit Aid is Typically Awarded at Tufts?


As is the case at most top schools, Tufts does not award institutional merit aid. Some students successfully receive scholarships from other sources, but this is not the norm and is not associated with Tufts itself. Only 3.4% of Tufts students receive merit aid, and the average merit aid award for a student without financial need is just $17.


How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Tufts?


Tufts is not an inexpensive school to attend, so it’s not surprising that many students take out loans as a part of their financial aid packages. In fact, 90% of students at Tufts have some kind of loan to help fund their college costs. The average federal loan per undergrad student at Tufts amounts to $2,358.


Student Outcomes


It can be helpful to think of a college education as an investment. Though you will spend a lot on it initially, these costs will hopefully come back to you in droves further down the line, as income increases significantly with a college degree.  Student outcomes can help to give you an idea on what your return on your investment is likely to be. At Tufts, 91% of students graduate within 6 years and ten years out of college the average salary for a Tufts graduate is $75,800.


Local Area Cost Considerations


The sticker price of a college and the average net cost may account for the majority of college cost considerations, but there are still other factors that will affect how much money your student spends during his or her time at college. Local cost of living factors can add up to significant amounts over the period of four years or more.


Tufts University is located in Medford, MA which is an affluent suburb of Boston. Medford has a cost of living index of 172.5, meaning it is more than 72% above the national average cost of living. Costs of utilities, transportation, and groceries are all above average in Medford, but the single most expensive factor there is housing. The average house costs more than double the national average, and a simple studio apartment rents for over $1500 on average. Meanwhile, a 3-bedroom rental typically goes for over $2,600.


The job market is Medford is good, with unemployment rates below average and positive projected job growth. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12/hr, set to increase to $15/hr in the next five years. The average hourly wage is above $20/hr.


Other Ways to Help Fund a College Education


Financial aid and loans are just two ways to fund a college education, and both are largely dependent on your family’s income. Merit aid, on the other hand, is something that you and your student can directly affect. Not only does your student need to achieve in and out of school to be considered for scholarships, but also he or she knows where to look for scholarships that fit.


One of the most common routes to a scholarship is the National Merit Scholarship program. Through this program, all high school juniors who take the PSAT are eligible for scholarships based on their test results. In addition, some participating students qualify for awards through the National Hispanic Recognition Program or other special awards 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.


There are many other scholarship programs out there too. Some are large, national programs that can be highly competitive, and others are smaller and local, or niche areas with fewer candidates. You can learn more about other possibilities in these CollegeVine posts:


15 College Scholarships for High School Juniors

15 College Scholarship Resources for High School Students

A Guide to STEM Scholarships

Scholarships and Competitions for students in the Performing Arts


Curious about your chances of acceptance to Tufts University? 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.