|Harvey Mudd College|
Not so long ago, a college priced over $50,000 was viewed as a novelty. In fact, as recently as 2008, only five colleges posted prices over $50K, for tuition, fees, room and board. By 2010, the number reached 104, including the first public university to cross that line—the University of California at Berkeley. A year later, 125 colleges appeared on the $50K list and included the University of California at Santa Cruz, along with Berkeley.
Flash forward to 2015, and $50K almost seems like a bargain. This year, 88 U.S. colleges and universities are charging more than $60,000, according to data gathered by the College Board and compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. And this is up from nine colleges as recently as two years ago.
While private colleges and universities continue to dominate the list of high-end institutions, dwindling state support for postsecondary education has pushed up costs at public institutions as well.
The College Board reports that the average published price for tuition and fees at public four-year colleges is $9,410 for in-state students in 2015-16, up from $9,145 in 2014-15, a 2.9 percent increase. For out-of-state students, the average published tuition and fee price was $23,893 or 3.4 percent more than the previous year.
At private four-year colleges, average published tuition and fees went up to $32,410 from $31,283—a 3.6 percent increase. Including room and board, average charges for this year total $43,921, at private institutions.
But no one, or at least very few families, pays sticker price thanks to various forms of financial aid.
In fact, the College Board estimates that in 2015-16 full-time undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year colleges pay average net tuition and fees of about $15,000, after considering grant aid and federal education tax credits and deductions. At public institutions, average net price comes to about $4000.
But keep in mind, this doesn’t include room and board, which for public institutions added an average of $10,140 to total cost. At private colleges, room and board averaged $11,510.
Locally, a handful of private colleges appear on the $60K list. These include Georgetown University ($63,771), Johns Hopkins University ($63,750), George Washington University ($62,485) and St. Johns College of Annapolis ($60,592).
While not quite hitting $60K, the most expensive public institutions in the country for out-of-state students are the University of Michigan ($54,030), followed by UC Riverside, UC Berkeley and UC Merced. The University of Virginia ($53,482) and the College of William and Mary ($51,494) come in 5th and 9th respectively.
And based on posted “sticker price” alone, the 20 most expensive colleges in the country for 2015-16 are:
- Harvey Mudd College, CA ($67,155)
- Columbia University, NY ($65,860)
- Sarah Lawrence College, NY ($65,730)
- New York University, NY ($65,330)
- University of Chicago, IL ($64,965)
- Bard College at Simon’s Rock, MA ($64,519)
- Claremont McKenna College, CA ($64,325)
- Scripps College, CA ($64,260)
- Oberlin College, OH ($64,224)
- University of Southern California, CA ($64,132)
- Bard College, NY ($64,024)
- Haverford College, PA ($63,986)
- Northwestern University, IL ($63,983)
- Trinity College, CT ($63,920)
- Pitzer College, CA ($63,880)
- Olin College of Engineering, MA ($63,781)
- Amherst College ($63,772)
- Georgetown University, DC ($63,771)
- Southern Methodist University, TX ($63,765)
- Johns Hopkins University, MD ($63,750)