On Feb. 10, Wellesley College was ranked 13th among the top 20 most expensive colleges in the US. The article was published by The College Investor, a personal finance blog.
The 2022-2023 tuition for Wellesley is $61,584. The total cost of tuition, when factoring in room, meal plan and the student activity fee, is $81,000. Theresa Peaches Valdes, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, said that the College continues to be committed to meeting 100% of students’ calculated financial need.
“Wellesley believes money shouldn’t be an obstacle to a world-class education,” said Valdes. “[Wellesley] meets 100 percent of the calculated need for all admitted students. [Wellesley is] also need blind for US Citizens and Permanent Residents — that means [Wellesley does not] consider a student’s need for financial aid when considering their application for admission.”
For the 2022-2023 academic year, the average grant for first-year students receiving financial aid was nearly $62,000. This is money that students do not have to repay.
For Mara Casals ’26, a first-generation low-income international student, generous financial aid was the main reason behind her decision to apply to Wellesley.
“When I was looking for colleges, I knew that I couldn’t apply to many US colleges because tuition is too high,” said Casals. “The majority of US colleges have financial aid for domestic students, but there are only a few colleges that give full financial aid to international students. Wellesley is one of the few colleges that give full financial aid to international students, and if it weren’t for that then I wouldn’t have gone to Wellesley.”
The majority of Wellesley’s students do not pay the sticker price. Over 55% of current students receive financial aid. The average student debt for all four years at Wellesley is less than $19,000. Financial aid was also a major factor for Ashley Salmeron ’26 in committing to Wellesley.
“I’m a first-gen low-income student, and I’m [an] out of state [student],” said Salmeron. “So I can’t afford it.”
Bothina Abdelrahman ’26 is also a low income student, but did not see money as an obstacle in committing to Wellesley. “I felt like the college was good enough to take a loan out,” said Abdelrahman. “I wasn’t going to let money keep me from going to college.”
Wellesley spends over $80 million annually on financial aid. That money is dedicated exclusively to supporting students with calculated financial need to make a Wellesley education possible.
Abdelrahman was surprised by Wellesley’s sticker price. “I’m somewhat surprised because I know Wellesley is a prestigious college, but it doesn’t feel like the money is being distributed well,” said Abdelrahman. “For example, I feel like the college should help more low income students with laundry, and they shouldn’t have made [laundry] as expensive as it is.”
Valdes justifies Wellesley’s cost because of a “7:1 student faculty ratio, state-of-the-art facilities, a picturesque campus setting, and an educational environment where students are inspired to thrive.”
When asked about the College Investor ranking, Salmeron expressed shock. “That’s crazy. Why is it so expensive?” Salmeron said, “We’re such a small liberal arts college.” Valdes says students who are concerned about tuition costs should visit or reach out to Student Financial Services.
“The SFS staff is here to assist students and their families in understanding the aid application process, parent and student loan options, payment plans, student employment and more,” said Valdes. “Whether or not you receive financial aid, we are here to help families figure out how to pay for college. We are confident that a Wellesley education is one of the best investments your family can make.”