Cost to Attend Northwestern University

Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois

Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Tuition for Northwestern University is $60,276 for the 2021/2022 academic year. This is 99% more expensive than the national average private non-profit four year college tuition of $30,365. Northwestern University is one of the 100 most expensive colleges in the America, coming in 22nd on our Expensive 100 Ranking. The cost is 123% more expensive than the average Illinois tuition of $26,987 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 71st in Illinois amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the most expensive 4 year college in the state. Price does not vary by residence.

The school charges an additional fees of $492 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $60,768.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $18,264 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Evanston should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,566.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $3,240 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $3,240 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The annual tuition and living expense budget to go to Northwestern was $83,838 for the 2021/2022 academic year. The cost is the same for all students regardless of Illinois residence status as there is no in-state discount.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2022 IPEDS survey response for Northwestern University and represent reported costs for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Costs and Tuition for Northwestern University
Estimated Budgets
Illinois Resident Total Budget $83,838
   In-State Tuition$60,276
   Other Fees$492
   Room and Board$18,264
   On-Campus Other Budget$3,240
   Books and Supplies$1,566
Non-Resident Total Budget $83,838
   Out-of-State Tuition$60,276
   Other Fees$492
   Room and Board$18,264
   On-Campus Other Budget$3,240
   Books and Supplies$1,566
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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 $83,838 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 Northwestern net price for in-state students is $28,344* for the 2019/2020 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

62% of Northwestern University students received grant aid in 2019/2020. The average total aid amount was $50,310. 20 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2019/2020 was $5,114. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend Northwestern University, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for Northwestern University
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$28,344*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid62%
Average Total Grant Aid$50,310
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants20%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$5,114

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 2019/2020 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$245
$30,001 to $48,000$917
$48,001 to $75,000$5,849
$75,001 to $110,000$15,686

Average Financial Aid Mix - $83,838 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $83,838. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.

Grants and Scholarships
62% - $50,310

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

Federal Loans
6% - $4,718

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

Out of Pocket
32% -  $25,570

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 2019/2020 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 Northwestern 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 96/100 for Northwestern University. Considering an average net price paid of $27,113, this leads to an overall value ranking of 75/100. This places the school 24th 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. Northwestern University
University of Chicago1.7% less expensive
University of Notre Dame3.2% less expensive
Washington University in St Louis4.2% less expensive
Carleton College0.7% less expensive
Vanderbilt University9% less 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 Northwestern 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 Northwestern is $335,352 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 $27,113 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $108,452**

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 $419,190 or $135,565 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 2019/2020 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

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 Northwestern 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 Northwestern University
Price per credit hour$7,143
Cost for one class (3 credit hours)$21,429
Cost for one class (4 credit hours)$28,572

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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. 23% of Northwestern University students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $4,718.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for Northwestern 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 $108,452, 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 $137,972.60. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at Northwestern University. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 62% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $27,113. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our Northwestern 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.

Northwestern University Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$1,149.77
Amount Borrowed$108,452.00
Interest Rate4.99%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$29,520.60
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$137,972.60

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend Northwestern? 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 Northwestern 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 $137,972.60 would be needed to afford a $1,149.77 monthly payment in the example $108,452.00 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 Northwestern University in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $50,424 to $60,276. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 3.9%. 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 $335,352.00. 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 Northwestern University.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2028$115,297$461,187
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2033$147,151$588,605
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2038 $187,806$751,225
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2041 $217,409$869,637

Tuition History

What was tuition at Northwestern 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 in the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1987 follows.

YearTuitionAnnual Increase


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for Northwestern 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 Northwestern 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 Northwestern University student loan.

Prepayment Option

About Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a four year private college located in Evanston, Illinois.  Full time enrollment is 18,835 and part time is 4,574. Learn more about getting accepted at Northwestern University at CollegeSimply.

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

Northwestern University
633 Clark St
Evanston, Illinois

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

Northwestern University is a private not for profit institution.

Northwestern University cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education IPEDS survey data. Data last updated February 2023 and reflects academic year 2021/2022 costs reported by the school.