Feb 1, 2012

125 Colleges cross the $50K Mark for 2011-12

As recently as three years ago, only five colleges were priced over $50,000. This year, the number has grown to 125, including two public universities—the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of California at Berkeley, which are charging out-of-state students $51,021 and $50,703 respectively.

Locally, the number of area colleges and universities appearing on the $50K list generated by The Chronicle of Higher Education remained unchanged from last year. These include Johns Hopkins ($55,742), Georgetown University ($54,936), George Washington ($54,473), St. Johns College ($53,990), Washington and Lee ($52,614), the University of Richmond ($52,420), American ($51,719), and Loyola of Maryland ($52,485).

While private colleges and universities continue to dominate the list of high-end institutions, dwindling state support for postsecondary education has resulted in steady increases in expenses at public institutions across the country.

In fact, for the fifth consecutive year, the percent increase in average published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was higher than it was at private ones, according to the annual “Trends in College Pricing” report published by the College Board.

The average price for tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was $8,244 for in-state students in 2011-12, up from $7,613 in 2010-11, an 8.3 percent increase. At private four-year colleges, published tuition and fees went up to $28,500 from $27,265—a 4.5 percent increase.

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 the average “net price” (after grants and tax benefits are subtracted) for tuition and fees at private four-year colleges totaled $12,970. For public institutions, net price came to $2,490.

Still, it’s getting increasingly expensive for students to cross state lines to attend public institutions. Of 15 public universities charging out-of-state students $40,000 or higher in 2011-12, nine are campuses in the UC system as well as the College of William & Mary ($44,181) and the Universities of Colorado at Boulder ($41,608), Michigan at Ann Arbor ($48,040), Texas at Austin ($42,928), Vermont ($44,132) , and Virginia ($45,138).

Also appearing on The Chronicle's list of top 50 most expensive public institutions are a number of local colleges and universities, including Virginia Military Institute ($39,610), St. Mary’s College of Maryland ($37,422), the University of Maryland—College Park ($35,968) and George Mason University ($34,798).

For the complete list of colleges and universities crossing the $50K mark, visit The Chronicle of Higher Education website (a subscription may be required).
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