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University Of Chicago Cracks $80,000-A-Year Mark For Total College Costs

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The University of Chicago is regularly considered one of the top five colleges in the nation, and now it will cost students more than $80,000 a year to find out just how good of an education they can get there.

The cost to attend the prestigious private university in Hyde Park will crack a big milestone this year. For undergrads, the price to attend just one year on the Hyde Park campus will set a family back $80,277 this school year -- including tuition, fees, books, room and board, transportation costs, and some spending money -- after the university raised tuition by about 4 percent.

By some accounts, that would make the University of Chicago one of the most expensive university in the country, if not the most expensive.

Orientation for new students for the 2019-20 school year begins Sept. 21, so families should be packing -- and saving up -- as we speak.

The university also recently began a program called "UChicago Empower." According to the university's website, it guarantees free tuition for families with incomes under $125,000 per year (with typical assets).

Families earning less than $60,000 per year (with typical assets) will have tuition, fees, and room and meals covered by financial aid. Other families with higher income and/or assets are eligible for need-based aid as well.

Meantime, Northwestern University is gearing up for new student orientation September 16. The cost to attend classes on the Evanston campus is $78,654; including tuition, room and board, transportation, and fees. Do the math -- and assume the cost remains constant -- and you're looking at $314,616 total if it takes four years to finish your degree.

Northwestern doesn't guarantee free tuition for anyone like the University of Chicago, but it said 61% of undergraduates receive financial aid, totaling $190 million last year. Many families with six-figure incomes can expect tens of thousands of dollars in aid.

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