What It Now Costs To Get A Wharton Degree


What does it cost for an undergraduate student to go to Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania?

Answer: A lot of money, a lot more than it cost a young Donald Trump to earn his undergraduate degree from the school many years ago.

In fact, the total four-year cost for a student entering in the fall of 2017 now exceeds $300,000 for the first time ever. The bulk of the $305,056 it will cost a student, or most likely his or her parents, is in tuition which will come to a hefty $201,049, including increases of about 3.9% in each year.

The rest of the costs, estimated by the University of Pennsylvania, include $41,453 in housing, $22,146 for dining, $24,472 in fees, including student health insurance, $5,120 for books and supplies, $3,476 in transportation, and finally $7,340 in personal expenses.

Add that all up and it costs more to get a Wharton undergraduate degree today than it does to get an MBA from Harvard Business School (see What A Harvard MBA Now Costs). In fact, that Wharton undergraduate parchment now costs roughly $100,000 more than the MBA from HBS.

Of course, that’s the sticker price, not including any scholarship grants, though it must be pointed out that Penn does not provide scholarships on academic merit or athletics but only on need. Penn says that nine out of ten first-generation students at the university are awarded financial aid that averages $50,171 for incoming freshmen in 2017. Students from families with household incomes less than $75,000 pay no tuition or fees at all.

Overall, the university says that many factors other than income are considered for scholarships. Awards vary based on individual circumstances. Families with non-typical financial situations (such as business owners, parents who are self-employed, owners of real estate other than their primary home, and divorced parents) are more likely to receive non-typical awards.

Families with incomes above $140,000 typically receive grants equal to one-third of tuition. That may sound like a pretty good deal until you realize that would only come to slightly under $15,650, which would bring the total first-year expense to $56,937, still a tidy sum to pay.

Of course, the big obvious question is whether a Wharton undergraduate degree is worth it. Just look at the numbers and decide for yourself. Last year, some 88.4% of Wharton undergrads were employed full-time after graduation, with an average starting annual salary of $77,566, sign-on bonuses of $10,493, received by 81% of the class, and another average $28,617 in annual bonus, expected by 83% of the class.

All told, that’s an average first-year compensation of $109,811, adjusted for the percentage of students receiving bonuses. Not bad for a Wharton undergrad in a year when the more typical undergraduate landed a job that paid only $50,556.