Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Tuition for American University is $42,556 for the 2015/2016 academic year. This is 64% more expensive than the national average private non-profit four year college tuition of $25,965. The cost is 56% more expensive than the average District Of Columbia tuition of $27,267 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 9th in District Of Columbia amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 3rd most expensive 4 year college in the state. Price does not vary by residence.

The school charges an additional fees of $547 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $43,103.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $15,502 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Washington should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $800.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $1,181 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $1,181 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The annual tuition and living expense budget to go to American University was $60,586 for the 2015/2016 academic year. The cost is the same for all students regardless of District Of Columbia residence status as there is no in-state discount.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 IPEDS survey response for American University and represent reported costs for the 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for American University
Estimated Budgets
District Of Columbia Resident Total Budget $60,586
   In-State Tuition$42,556
   Other Fees$547
   Room and Board$15,502
   On-Campus Other Budget$1,181
   Books and Supplies$800
Non-Resident Total Budget $60,586
   Out-of-State Tuition$42,556
   Other Fees$547
   Room and Board$15,502
   On-Campus Other Budget$1,181
   Books and Supplies$800


What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $60,586 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported American University net price for in-state students is $33,778* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

71% of American University students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $22,854. 18 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $4,313. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend American University, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for American University
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$33,778*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid71%
Average Total Grant Aid$22,854
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants18%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,313

Average Net Price by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$28,524
$30,001 to $48,000$27,005
$48,001 to $75,000$30,227
$75,001 to $110,000$31,693

Average Financial Aid Mix - $60,586 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $60,586. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 38% - $22,854

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, American University or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 8% - $4,918

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 53% -  $31,633

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if American University is worth the price, measures of it's relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We've calculated an academic national percentile rating of 90/100 for American University. Considering an average net price paid of $31,447, this leads to an overall value ranking of 62/100. This places the school 149th on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Private Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. American University
George Washington University18.4% more expensive
University of Richmond13% more expensive
Villanova University10.4% more expensive
Lehigh University7.8% more expensive
Lafayette College9.5% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at American University.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at American University is $242,344 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $31,447 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $125,788**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $302,930 or $157,235 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Estimated Cost Per Semester

Most colleges don't charge students on an annual basis but instead require payment semester by semester. If you ever need to take an additional semester of classes to complete you degree you shouldn't have to pay for a full academic year. These our estimated costs for a semester at American University.

District Of Columbia Resident Tuition Per Semester$21,278
District Of Columbia Resident Total Cost Per Semester$30,293

Cost Per Credit Hour and Cost for a Class

Some schools offer the ability to take single classes by paying on a per credit hour basis. The reported price per credit hour and estimated cost for one class at American University are as follows. Per credit costs are for reference only as many schools will not allow students to pay by credit hour.

Cost per credit hour and per class at American University
Price per credit hour$1,417
Cost for one class (3 credit hours)$4,251
Cost for one class (4 credit hours)$5,668

Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 65% of American University students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $4,918.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for American University? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $125,788, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $154,914.12. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at American University. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 71% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $31,447. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our American University student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

American University Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$1,290.95
Amount Borrowed$125,788.00
Interest Rate4.3%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$29,126.12
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$154,914.12

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend American University? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending American University, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $154,914.12 would be needed to afford a $1,290.95 monthly payment in the example $125,788.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to American University in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $37,554 to $42,556. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 3.3%. Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current 4 year cost of $242,344.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for American University.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2022$83,320$333,280
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2027$106,340$425,359
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2032 $135,719$542,877
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2035 $157,112$628,448

Tuition History

What was tuition at American University five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago? Hop into our time machine and take a look. Pay attention to how aggressive the school has been with price increases the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years if you enrolled. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1988 follows.

YearTuitionAnnual Increase

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at American University to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
International Relations and Affairs Bachelor's Degree 25 37% costlier
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 19 44% costlier
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 16 59% costlier
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 14 43% costlier
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 12 55% costlier
Elementary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 11 80% costlier
Social Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 11 68% costlier
Graphic Design Bachelor's Degree 10 68% costlier
Secondary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 10 75% costlier
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General Bachelor's Degree 9 78% costlier
Art History, Criticism and Conservation Bachelor's Degree 9 31% costlier
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 7 60% costlier
Business Administration and Management, General Bachelor's Degree 6 88% costlier
Cinematography and Film/Video Production Bachelor's Degree 6 61% costlier
Accounting Bachelor's Degree 6 73% costlier
History, General Bachelor's Degree 6 57% costlier
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 5 39% costlier
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 5 62% costlier
General Literature Bachelor's Degree 5 35% costlier
Fine/Studio Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 5 49% costlier
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree 4 54% costlier
French Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 10% costlier
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration Bachelor's Degree 4 106% costlier
Music History, Literature, and Theory Bachelor's Degree 4 40% costlier
Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 22% costlier
American/US Law/Legal Studies/Jurisprudence Bachelor's Degree 3 14% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Associate's Degree 3 186% costlier
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 3 50% costlier
Financial Mathematics Bachelor's Degree 3 22% costlier
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 32% costlier
French Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 2 40% costlier
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 2 56% costlier
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 2 66% costlier
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 63% costlier
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 36% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 2 57% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 2 56% costlier
Russian Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 16% costlier
German Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 17% costlier
Russian Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 2 24% costlier
Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 31% costlier
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Bachelor's Degree 2 54% costlier
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 1 54% costlier
Applied Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 44% costlier
Acoustics Bachelor's Degree 1 2% costlier
Statistics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 43% costlier
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 1 43% costlier
Religion/Religious Studies Bachelor's Degree 1 36% costlier
German Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 1 37% costlier
American/United States Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 1 25% costlier
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 46% costlier
Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects Bachelor's Degree 1 91% costlier
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 1 52% costlier
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 54% costlier


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for American University or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford American University in the future.

Student Loan Calculator

Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a American University student loan.

Prepayment Option

About American University

American University is a four year private college located in Washington, District Of Columbia.  The school is affiliated with the United Methodist faith.  Full time enrollment is 10,461 and part time is 2,737.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, District Of Columbia

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

American University is a private not for profit institution.

American University cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=131159 IPEDS survey data.

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