Aug 9, 2011

Just the Facts—The Most Expensive Colleges

The statistical wizards at the Department of Education recently introduced a nifty website listing the highest (top 5%) and lowest (bottom 10%) tuitions collected at the nation’s colleges and universities.

As an added benefit, they’ve made it possible to generate separate reports ranking total tuition and required fees as one metric and total net price as another (note that net price is defined as the cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid).

While the intent of the website was to help Congress get a fix on schools that charge chronically high tuition, it can also be helpful to students and families concerned about costs. And even with a few computational glitches and some loud complaints from the colleges named, it’s useful information to have.

Locally, the news is good. Although St. Mary’s College of Maryland appears on the highest tuition and the highest net price lists for public institutions, local schools don’t have much of a presence in either ranking. UMUC and Christopher Newport were the only other local state schools cited on the net price list.

Among local private, not-for-profit institutions, George Washington University (3), St. John’s College (13), the University of Richmond (20), Johns Hopkins University (37), Georgetown (42), and Washington & Lee (46) are ranked in the top 5 percent for tuition and required fees. Note that none of these schools appears on the list of schools with the highest net prices.

Private not-for-profit baccalaureate institutions with highest tuition (national average-$21,324):

  1. Sarah Lawrence College ($41,968)

  2. Vassar College (($41,930)

  3. George Washington College ($41,655)

  4. Columbia University ($41,316)

  5. Kenyon College ($40,980)

  6. Colgate University ($40,970)

  7. Carnegie Mellon University ($40,920)

  8. Trinity College ($40,840)

  9. Bucknell University ($40,816)

  10. Tulane University ($40,584)

  11. Skidmore College ($40,420)

  12. St. Johns College—New Mexico ($40,396)

  13. St. Johns College—Maryland ($40,392)

  14. Tufts University ($40,342)

  15. Hobart William Smith Colleges ($40,235)

Note that not one of these schools appears on the highest net price list.

Public baccalaureate institutions with highest net prices (national average-$10,747):

  1. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio ($24,192)

  2. University of Guam ($23,902)

  3. St. Mary’s College of Maryland ($21,468)

  4. Rowan University ($19,344)

  5. Miami University—Oxford ($19,305)

  6. Pennsylvania State University—Main Campus ($19,056)

  7. Pennsylvania State University—Altoona ($18,878)

  8. Pennsylvania State University—Erie-Behrend ($18,857)

  9. University of Pittsburgh ($18,786)

  10. Pennsylvania State University—Berks ($18,048)

  11. University of Cincinnati ($17,997)

  12. University of Colorado at Boulder ($17,929)

  13. University of Missouri—Kansas City ($17,782)

  14. UMUC ($17,626)

  15. Ohio University ($17,497)

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