The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Op-ed: Northeastern’s money game: How Northeastern tuition is playing you

Emma Liu

College tuition prices drastically increase yearly, and Northeastern University is no exception. In 2013, the school tuition was estimated to be a little over $40,000 yearly. In 2023, the tuition is estimated to be around $60,000 a year. The $20,000 increase in 10 years can surely be explained, right? The answer, for myself and hundreds of Northeastern Reddit users, is no.

No amount of resources, amenities, benefits or course materials could ever sum up to the overwhelming amount of $80,000 a year. Although Northeastern can and most likely will provide formative learning experiences for a student’s career, “at 90K(including room and board), they better teach you how to spin straw into gold and brew the elixir of life,” an anonymous Reddit user said. Most jobs require a college degree, and a degree from a “prestigious one” couldn’t hurt; however, this doesn’t excuse the egregious amount of money the school demands.

I looked into why most college prices are at all-time highs to understand better. According to the New York Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Leiber, various factors drive the list price, or the price listed on brochures or Google.  First, there are growing demands from students and families, such as accommodations for inclusion and equality. These accommodations require people and buildings to maintain certain branches, such as mental health services like Find@northeastern, which is available to full-time degree-seeking students. Although this is a reasonable and much-needed expense, resources are only a minute fraction of the cost increase.

According to Leiber, there are two prices we are dealing with when we talk about college tuition. Firstly, the net price, or what students actually end up paying with financial aid and scholarships, has mostly stayed the same while the list price has increased. This is because prestigious colleges that receive vast amounts of applicants “can charge more or less whatever they please because a lot of people are going to be willing to pay for it.” Thus, the list price makes students believe they should be paying $80,000, and if they are paying any less, they consider themselves lucky. In reality, no one should be expected to pay such.

With that said, Northeastern charges students as much as it wants to because they know students will pay for it. Fancy projects like the new EXP building convince people that Northeastern is a utopia of a university, overshadowing the overpriced dining plans – paying $14.27 per meal – that student associations like Young Democratic Socialists of America have rightfully fought against.

Northeastern takes advantage of how much people are willing to sacrifice to be at a “top school.” One of the many examples of this is Northeastern’s housing problem. Choosing on-campus housing can be financially exhausting because your time slot will determine your available housing. Often, students with a later time slot are left with housing that isn’t affordable, holding them financially hostage. But this is only one of the many housing horror stories. People live in overpriced hotels for extended periods, often waiting six months to select housing.

Northeastern prides itself on “its generous need-based financial aid program and merit scholarships to select students,” according to Student Finances. Reddit users and current students agree that financial aid is relatively good at Northeastern, considering the vast amount of money the private school has to give. However, financial aid services can become problematic when your family doesn’t classify under their needs definition. Lower middle-class students rarely receive any aid, and, even worse, students who pay for their school get no consideration if they are technically financially dependent on their parents.

However, the purpose of this article isn’t to review the financial aid services. It is to point out that no one should be paying $80,000 a year to attend school regardless of financial aid.

Tuition becomes unbearable when living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. To name a few extra charges, Boston’s housing is more than twice the amount higher than the national average and Massachusetts healthcare expenses are one of the highest in the country; this is only the cost of necessities. One must pay a fee to enjoy most social activities around campus and Boston. Even if it’s free, you will pay a fee, like transportation fares. 

Northeastern has provided me with opportunities I don’t believe I would have been provided elsewhere, namely the opportunity to meet people, both students and professors, who have impacted my life in and outside my career. This doesn’t take away from the fact that Northeastern remains overpriced. Northeastern being a great school and not worth its current tuition are not mutually exclusive. It is true that this school provides you with unique opportunities, and it is true that this school overly monetizes that truth.

Galiah Abbud is a second-year journalism major. She can be reached at [email protected]

About the Contributors
Galiah Abbud
Galiah Abbud, Deputy Opinion Editor
Galiah Abbud is a second-year journalism and philosophy major. She currently serves as opinion editor. She is eager to learn from her peers and continue the dedicated work of The News.
Emma Liu
Emma Liu, Deputy Design Editor
Emma Liu is a second-year behavioral neuroscience and design major. She is currently working as the deputy design editor for The News. Originally from Philadelphia, Emma loves to collect sonny angels, volunteer at local orgs and find good food in her free time.
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