USC tuition will surpass $50,000 for the first time, more expensive than Harvard

- Tuition at USC for the 2016-2017 academic year will surpass $50,000 for the first time, topping even tuition at Harvard, it was reported Friday.

With a price tag of $51,442 for tuition and an additional $841 in fees, USC is sure to be in the running for the unofficial title of most expensive place in the country to get a college degree, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Vassar College in New York won that honor for the current school year by charging $51,300 in tuition and fees, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Harvard charges undergraduates $45,278 in tuition and fees.

The increased tuition comes as USC is rising both in academic reputation and as a financial powerhouse, according to The Times. In two decades, it has climbed from 51st to 23rd in U.S. News & World Report's rankings of national universities. It is now in the midst of a $6 billion fundraising drive, noted The Times.

"We're competing with the Stanfords and the Ivy League schools of the world, and when you're competing for best faculty in the world, that's expensive," USC Provost Michael Quick said in comments reported by The Times. "As we build infrastructure, that's expensive."

Tuition hikes have been controversial on campus, with USC's student government passing a resolution in the fall asking administrators to institute a tuition freeze.

USC's new tuition figure is $1,978 higher than what current students are charged and more than Stanford's $45,729 tab and the $47,600 students are charged at Yale, according to The Times.

Factoring in the cost of books and living expenses, the total cost for one Trojan year will be almost $70,000, USC officials estimate. But almost two-thirds of USC undergraduates receive financial aid, according to the university.

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