Program Costs

**This webpage was last updated in spring 2023. Please use last year’s information to help with your initial planning while we work on updating these guides for summer 2024. Updated Information Guides will be posted in March 2024.**

We provide the following information to help prospective students estimate the expenses involved in attending RBS courses.

For in-person courses, RBS attendees enroll for a single course in any given session/week (that is, students cannot take multiple courses during the same session, nor do they usually attempt to take back-to-back courses over a two-week period). Students generally arrive on either a Saturday or Sunday in time for dormitory or hotel check-in, and for the 5:00 p.m. registration on Sunday. Classes begin on Monday morning. All students must make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, including the online courses. For in-person courses, this generally means 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, though start and end times may vary slightly for courses not held in Charlottesville. Most generally stay in residence through Saturday morning, partly to avoid the annoyances of Friday evening travel, but also to enjoy a final meal with friends, old and new.

For online courses, RBS attendees may enroll in courses that do not overlap. Online courses will be held synchronously and are anticipated to run between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. The application process for online courses will be the same as for our in-person courses, and will thus be competitive.

For a more comprehensive schedule, see the Information Guide for each session. Prospective RBS students should not make travel or hotel reservations until they have been admitted to a course. An explanation of the admissions schedule may be found on the Course Application page.

Along with the guidance offered below for each location, you may find it useful to visit one of the many websites specializing in competitively priced travel arrangements (Expedia, Travelocity,, to name a few) and see what you can turn up. You should inquire about weekly rates at your hotel of choice—it may well be cheaper to spend seven nights rather than six—and be sure to ask about other discounts, e.g., the AAA rate (if you are a member) or the government rate (if you are employed by a federal agency).

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  • Tuition

    • The tuition for most in-person RBS courses is $1395; however, for certain courses with field trips or lab expenses, tuition is $1495. (If applicable, higher rates are noted on the course description page.)

      The tuition for the 22-hour online courses is $1,000. Tuition for the 12-hour courses is $800.

      Scholarships and fellowships may be used to cover the cost of a single in-person course, one 22-hour online course, or two short online courses taken within a single year.

      Many RBS students, especially those without institutional support to help defray their expenses, struggle to pay the School’s tuition. High as this figure is, however, it represents only about 45% of the actual cost per student of running the School. If it were not for the generosity (1) of the University of Virginia (which provides free space, the salary of certain full-time staff, and many other benefits) and (2) of the Friends of RBS, RBS could not exist either in its present form or at its present level of excellence.

      Tuition rates do not include preliminary course materials or travel and housing expenses (see below for more information about these costs). Some full-tuition scholarships are available for Rare Book School courses.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Charlottesville, VA

    • Charlottesville is a city of about 40,000, located 110 miles south of Washington, DC, and 70 miles northwest of Richmond. The city’s major employers include the University of Virginia, the financial sector, and the tourist industry (Monticello alone gets nearly half a million visitors a year). It is also the county seat of Albemarle County, a prosperous rural area dotted by scenic farms, many containing buildings of great beauty and architectural merit—though none more so than UVA itself. The town also boasts a large number of used and antiquarian booksellers. As a courtesy, Rare Book School publishes a guide to area booksellers, Antiquarian Bookhunting in Charlottesville.

      The majority of RBS activities take place on UVA’s historic Central Grounds.

      Air Transportation to Charlottesville

      The following information may be of use when estimating air-transportation costs. The Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport (CHO) is just off Route 29, eight miles north of the University of Virginia. The airport is served by Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways, with direct flights to and from Atlanta, Washington DC/Dulles, Charlotte, Chicago/O’Hare, Philadelphia, and New York/LaGuardia. For detailed information about flights into and out of Charlottesville, consult the airport’s website, which also offers links to current flight deals. If you must fly (see information about trains below), it is usually a good idea to fly directly into Charlottesville. Alternate airports require variously inconvenient methods of ground transportation:

      Reagan National (DCA): Metrorail to Union Station (DC); Amtrak to Charlottesville.
      Washington Dulles (IAD): Metrobus to Union Station (DC); Amtrak to Charlottesville.
      Richmond International (RIC): Taxis and rental cars (optional at either DCA or IAD, these are the only feasible link between RIC and Charlottesville).

      Taxis from Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport (CHO) to UVA are a $25 flat rate.

      Ground Transportation

      Trains: Amtrak’s Crescent line (New York to New Orleans) passes north-south through Charlottesville (CVS) daily, as do some trains on the Northeast Regional line (Boston to Roanoke, via Providence, New Haven, New York, &c.). Another train, the Cardinal, passes through Charlottesville thrice weekly on its way from Chicago to New York’s Penn Station (via Union Station in Washington, DC). Consult Amtrak’s website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for arrival and departure times. Charlottesville’s Amtrak station is located about a quarter of a mile from Central Grounds; if you are staying in a local hotel, ask about arranging pick-up and drop-off, or call a taxi. If you live near an Amtrak station, the train may indeed be your best option: infrequent riders are often pleasantly surprised by its convenience and reliability. Ticket fares from New York City, for example, are competitive with airfare, and itineraries don’t always require switching trains. You’ll also save the time and expense involved in getting to and from the airport.

      Bus: There is at least one Greyhound bus per day from downtown Washington to Charlottesville ($20–30/each way, if purchased online; the trip is usually 3–4 hours, 124 miles). Not all of these routes are direct, however, and you may have to transfer in another city. Be sure to ask about transfers when purchasing your ticket. Check the Greyhound website or call 1-800-231-2222 for fare and schedule information.

      Car: The main north-south highway to (and through) Charlottesville is Route 29; it intersects with Interstate 66 about thirty miles west of Washington and about eighty miles north of UVA. The main east-west highway, just south of town, is Interstate 64. Interstate 81 (north-south) lies to the west of Charlottesville on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains; it intersects I-64 about thirty-five miles to the west of Charlottesville. For driving directions to Charlottesville from any point, use one of the popular mapping websites; these give good—often identical—directions. If you want to familiarize yourself with the terrain, consult street-level views from Google Maps.


      Parking in University Garages and Lots. Rare Book School will purchase a select number of parking permits for students attending RBS courses. If you anticipate needing a permit, please contact the RBS Programs staff ( no later than three weeks prior to the start of your RBS session. It is crucial that you let us know you need a pass and where you will be staying by three weeks prior to your course or we will not be able to provide you with a parking pass.

      Those students not staying in a nearby accommodation, or who do not request a RBS pass may park in the Central Grounds Parking Garage at the following rates:

      Monday–Saturday: $2/hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $1/hour from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

      The University has many parking lots, and many restrictions governing their use. If you park in a lot for which you do not have the proper sticker or dashboard pass, you are likely to get a ticket (fines are $30 and up, depending on the gravity of the offense). There is also a good chance that you will get towed if you park illegally in a lot where “Towing Enforced” signs are posted. Many University parking lots allow permitless parking after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Single-day, on-street parking in the immediate precincts of the University is fairly limited. (Many spaces require a local resident’s permit: read the signs carefully.) The most desirable curbside parking spaces in the University neighborhood tend to have a two-hour limit.

      Dormitory Housing

      During the summer sessions in Charlottesville, Rare Book School’s on-campus housing is managed by the Conferences@UVA division of UVA Housing & Residence Life. Rare Book School will provide admitted students with Information Guides with more information, including registration links and contact information for Conferences@UVA.

      For more information about housing options, consult the Information Guide for your session.


      Please note: Hotel accommodations within walking distance of Grounds are very limited during the first and second course weeks in June, owing to the University’s back-to-back reunions. If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to book your hotel accommodations right away or to consider the dorm spaces RBS has reserved.

      This year, RBS has reserved a block of rooms at the Residence Inn Charlottesville Downtown (315 W. Main St.). The rooms are $159/night (plus tax), and offer a kitchenette, complimentary breakfast, and a free shuttle service. Located between UVA and the Downtown Mall, it is on the Trolley line. In order to book your accommodations at the discounted rate, please consult the Information Guide for the appropriate link for your course week.

      There are several chain hotels within relatively easy walking distance of Central Grounds, including the Courtyard Charlottesville – University Medical Center (434-977-1700), Hampton Inn & Suites (434-923-8600), and Graduate (formerly Red Roof Inn; 434-295-4333), all located on West Main Street.

      The best hotels in Charlottesville are generally thought to be the Boar’s Head Inn (a Four-Diamond Resort) and the downtown Omni Hotel, each about a mile and a half from Central Grounds. There are many other hotels and motels throughout Charlottesville, of course, including the usual assortment of national chains, as well as an interesting variety of country inns and guest houses. Within walking distance, Dinsmore Boutique Inn is a historic, Federal-style townhouse turned boutique inn. Oakhurst Inn is a boutique hotel just south of the University. The South Street Inn is popular for visitors preferring to stay downtown, while Stay Charlottesville offers elegant, fully furnished carriage houses, condos, apartments, and historic homes throughout the town and surrounding county.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Bloomington, IN

    • The Lilly Library is located on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington.

      Getting to Indiana University by air really means flying into Indianapolis International Airport (IND), then taking ground transportation fifty miles south to Bloomington. (If you book a flight to the “Bloomington Airport” (BMI), you’ll end up in Bloomington, Illinois, two hundred miles to the west!) Most of the airport-to-campus shuttles charge about $23 for a one-way trip, with tickets available online or at kiosks located within IND.

      For information on lodging options in Bloomington, please consult the website of the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Information Guide.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Cambridge, MA

    • The major airport servicing Cambridge is Boston Logan International (BOS; 1-800-235-6426). The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs the Silver Line SL1 BRT to connect all Logan International terminals to downtown Boston. The Blue Line will also get you to the airport, although with the added leg of a free shuttle from the stop to the terminal buildings. If you prefer water travel, the MBTA also runs a water shuttle that travels from Logan to downtown Boston. There is a free shuttle to ferry you between the terminal buildings and the dock near Logan.

      The most convenient Amtrak station to Harvard is Boston South Station (2 Summer Street Boston), accessible via the Northeast Regional and only a short trip to the Harvard campus in Cambridge. The Red Line of the T runs directly from Boston South Station to Harvard Square.

      There are four hotels in the vicinity surrounding Harvard University: Hotel Veritas in Harvard Square, Harvard Square Hotel, the Charles Hotel, and the Sheraton Commander Hotel. As these can be quite pricey, depending on the time of year, it may behoove you to look into some of the local B&Bs and inns around Cambridge.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Chicago, IL

    • The Joseph Regenstein Library is a five-minute walk north of the University of Chicago’s Main Quadrangle at 1100 E. 57th St. The Newberry Library is located at the northern edge of Washington Square Park in the center of Chicago’s Near North Side.

      Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is directly connected to the University of Chicago’s campus by the Chicago’s rapid transit system, also known as “The L.” From O’Hare, take the Blue Line to the Loop (i.e., downtown Chicago) and transfer at the Jackson Blue Line stop to the 6 or 2 bus to Hyde Park. Both buses are express services, but the 2 bus only runs during the morning and evening rush hours. From Hyde Park, it is approximately a 15-minute walk to the Regenstein Library; the full trip should take from an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. To reach The Newberry Library from O’Hare International Airport, take the Blue Line to the Loop, and take the Red Line from Lake station to Chicago station. Walk west on W. Chicago Ave. for one block and then north on N. Dearborn St. for three blocks; the full trip should take from an hour to an hour and a half.

      Students attending classes at the University of Chicago will be able to take advantage of on-campus dormitory housing, as well as numerous nearby hotels. More information about housing in Chicago, including pricing, will be available in the Information Guide (forthcoming).

  • Travel & Accommodations - New Haven, CT

    • The Yale University libraries are located on Wall Street in the heart of New Haven.

      New Haven is served by the Tweed New Haven Regional Airport (HVN), which is directly connected to the Yale campus by the bus system’s G route. HVN is a smaller airport, however, and flights will likely be cheaper into Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (BDL; 1 hour drive from New Haven) or Queens’ LaGuardia (LGA; 1.5 hours drive). In addition, New Haven’s Union Station (located less than two miles from the Yale Libraries) sits along Amtrak’s Northeast Regional (Boston-Washington-Richmond/Lynchburg), Vermonter (Washington-Springfield-St. Albans), and Acela Express (Washington-Philadelphia-Boston) service routes. The Yale campus can be easily reached via bus (SLCP route).

      RBS has booked a number of rooms with Yale Conference & Events Services. These are both air-conditioned complexes with suites containing multiple bedrooms and a common area furnished with a couch and end table. Bathrooms are shared by floor. Most of the bedrooms contain two twin beds, but you may reserve an entire bedroom to yourself. A pillow and blanket are provided; sheets and bath towels are included in a linen packet which can be purchased through the Yale registration website. Also in the building is a large basement-level common area with couches, TV, pool tables, and laundry facilities. Parking passes may be purchased through Yale. See the Information Guide for more housing information and the link to register.

      Yale maintains an online list of hotels in the New Haven area, many within easy walking distance of campus. Be sure to mention you are attending an event at Yale as many of the area hotels give discounts.

  • Travel & Accommodations - New York, NY

    • Courses in New York City will be held at the Grolier Club, the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library & Museum, or the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; consult the course descriptions or course schedule to find out where your course meets. The Grolier Club is located at 47 East 60th St (one-way westbound), between Park Avenue (two-way traffic) and Madison Avenue (northbound), New York, NY 10022. There are two subway stops near the Grolier Club: one at Fifth Avenue at 60th Street (N, R, and W trains), the other at Lexington Ave at 59th/60th Streets (4, 5, and 6 trains). There are frequent northbound Madison Avenue buses (e.g. the 1, 2, 3, and 4) and southbound Lexington Avenue buses (e.g. the 98, 101, 102, and 103). The Morgan Library & Museum is located at 225 Madison Ave (one-way northbound) between 36th Street (eastbound) and 37th Street (westbound), New York, NY 10016. It is easily accessible by subway (via No. 6 to 33d Street; No. 4, 5, 6 or 7 to Grand Central B, D, F, Q to 42d Street) or by bus (via the M2, M3, M4, Q32 to 36th Street, or PATH to 33d Street). The Thomas J. Watson Library in The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue between East 84th Street and the 79th Street Transverse. From the East Side you can take the 4, 5, or 6 train to 82nd or 83rd Street. From the West Side, you can take either the 1 train or the C train with a bus combination. For general maps, subway maps, and an interactive map/trip planner, see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority website.

      While New York City is well served by its two metropolitan airports, LaGuardia (LGA) and Kennedy (JFK), you may find fares into Newark (EWR) at a considerable discount—sometimes enough to justify the tedious business of getting across the Hudson and into Midtown Manhattan. CoachUSA offers the Newark Liberty Airport Express shuttle (to Bryant Park, Grand Central, or the Port Authority Bus Terminal) for $16 one-way/$28 round trip. Medallion taxis (painted yellow) charge a flat rate of $52 plus surcharge, tolls, and tip for a trip from JFK to Manhattan; trips from LGA to Manhattan are metered, and you can expect to pay at least $35 plus tip (assuming perfect traffic conditions). For visitors from nearby states, commuter trains may offer the most convenient access to the city, with neither the hassle nor the expense of parking.

      Unfortunately, there are no genuinely cheap hotels in Midtown; that said, the Pod Hotel, the Lexington Hotel, and the Renaissance New York 57 are three good places to begin your search. Many hostels offer both dormitory housing (on the cheap) and reasonably priced single rooms.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Philadelphia, PA

    • The University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts is located in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library on Walnut Street in Philadelphia’s University City district. The Library Company of Philadelphia is in Center City at 1314 Locust Street. The Free Library of Philadelphia is located on Vine Street between North 20th Street and North 19th Street.

      Philadelphia’s international airport (PHL) is directly connected to Penn’s campus by the subway’s Airport Line which makes stops in both University City and Center City. If you opt to take the train, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station (located less than a mile from the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center and 1.3 miles from the Free Library) sits along Amtrak’s Northeast Regional (Boston-Washington-Richmond/Lynchburg), Cardinal/Hoosier (Chicago-Cincinnati-New York), Silver Service/Palmetto (Miami-Charleston-New York), and Acela Express (Washington-Philadelphia-Boston) lines.

      Students attending Penn-based courses have a variety of options, ranging from dormitory housing (with Penn Hospitality Services, 215-898-9319) to conveniently located hotels. Private bedrooms with shared baths are available in Penn dormitories. Admitted students may make reservations directly via an online form, which will be available in mid-March. More information, including pricing, will be available in the Information Guide.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Princeton, NJ

    • Princeton University’s Firestone Library is located at the corner of Washington Road and Nassau Street, at the northeastern corner of campus. Special Collections is located on the C floor of Firestone Library.

      Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), located approximately an hour north of Princeton, NJ, offers the easiest public transportation options to the Princeton University campus. From Newark, take a NJ Transit train to Princeton Junction (the train station [PJC] also provides Amtrak service), and transfer to the “Dinky,” a short spur line that services Princeton. The station is located on Alexander Street, at the southern end of campus. Philadelphia International Airport, also approximately an hour from Princeton, but in the opposite direction, also has connections to Princeton. However, SEPTA public transportation service usually requires numerous transfers, depending on the time of day.

      Students attending classes at Princeton University will be able to take advantage of on-campus dormitory housing (through Princeton Conferences and Events Services). A single air-conditioned room with a shared hallway bathroom is approximately $75 per night. Hotel accommodations located near Princeton University are limited and tend to be more expensive. The closest hotel, the Nassau Inn, is a five-minute walk from Firestone Library; other options are generally two miles or more from campus. More information about housing in Princeton, including pricing, is available in the Information Guide.

  • Travel & Accommodations - Washington, DC

    • The Library of Congress (101 Independence Avenue SE) and the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol Street SE) are located across the street (2nd Street SE) from one another, and just to the west of the US Capitol Building. The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are located at 1050 Independence Avenue SW and at Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, respectively. Both are on the National Mall, just south of the Smithsonian Castle, and across the street from the US Department of Energy and the northern end of the L’Enfant Promenade.

      Three major airports serve the greater Washington, DC, area: Washington Dulles International (IAD), located about thirty miles west of the city; Ronald Reagan National (DCA), just across the Potomac River; and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), located in Maryland, about thirty miles to the northeast. While DCA is conveniently located for RBS students, it offers fewer flight options compared to the other two airports; on the other hand, getting to the city from IAD or BWI takes extra time, planning, and expense. If you are arriving from a nearby state, Amtrak may offer the most convenient and affordable means of getting to the capital, with the centrally located Union Station only about a fifteen-minute walk from the Library of Congress. Students should also consider the MARC transit system, which provides cheap transportation between BWI and Union Station.

      Of the several hotels located within walking distance of the National Mall and Capitol Hill, Hotel Harrington offers some of the lowest rates; that said, the accommodations are very basic, and students should read reviews carefully before making a reservation. A reliable, nearby choice is the Capitol Hill Hotel. Another option is to stay at Club Quarters, located just northwest of the White House.

      Washington, DC, enjoys a world-class Metro system, which may prove helpful in your search for housing. You may well find it less expensive to stay at a hotel, bed and breakfast, or friend’s/relative’s house a bit further afield, but located on (or close to) one of the metro lines. The Smithsonian Station is served by the Blue and Orange Lines, while the closest Metro station to the Library of Congress and the Folger is Capitol South, also on the Blue and Orange Lines.

  • Other Costs

    • Most RBS courses have Advance Reading Lists or other assignments that the instructors require their students to work on before they arrive for class. We know that it’s not always easy to get the books and articles assigned by RBS instructors. If you are having trouble locating books, you may be able to borrow books through inter-library loan. There are a number of American used/antiquarian booksellers specializing in books on books and other subjects relevant to RBS courses. The books listed may quite possibly be found through umbrella sites like and, or on individual sites like,, or at discount prices.