Aug 16, 2012

Just the Facts: The Nation’s Priciest Colleges

St. Mary's College of Maryland
Last year, the statistical wizards at the Department of Education 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 mixed. Although St. Mary’s College of Maryland appears on both the highest tuition and highest net price lists for public institutions, local schools don’t have much of a presence in either ranking. Christopher Newport and Virginia Commonwealth University were the only other local state schools cited on the net price list.

Among local private, not-for-profit institutions, George Washington University (5), St. John’s College (8), the University of Richmond (19), Johns Hopkins University (44), Georgetown (61), and Washington & Lee (53) 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-$21,949):
  1. Connecticut College ($43,990)
  2. Sarah Lawrence College ($43,564)
  3. Columbia University ($43,304)
  4. Vassar College ($43,190)
  5. George Washington University ($42,905)
  6. Trinity College ($42,420)
  7. Bucknell University ($42,342)
  8. St. John’s College, MD ($42,192)
  9. St. John’s College, NM ($42,084)
  10. Carnegie Mellon University ($42,136)
  11. Wesleyan University ($42,084)
  12. Union College ($42,042)
  13. University of Chicago ($42,041)
  14. Bard College at Simon’s Rock ($41,982)
  15. Tulane University ($41,884)

Public baccalaureate institutions with highest net prices based on in-state tuition (national average-$10,471):
  1. University of Guam ($25,956)
  2. Miami University—Oxford ($22,303)
  3. St. Mary’s College of Maryland ($19,944)
  4. Pennsylvania State University—Main Campus ($19,816)
  5. University of Pittsburgh ($18,935)
  6. Pennsylvania State University—Erie-Behrend ($18,903)
  7. Massachusetts Maritime Academy  ($18,935)
  8. University of Missouri—Kansas City ($18,457)
  9. The College of New Jersey ($18,311)
  10. Ohio State University ($18,253)
  11. University of Colorado Bolder ($18,054)
  12. Clemson University ($17,840)
  13. Ohio University ($17,102)
  14. University of Cincinnati ($17,644)
  15. Pennsylvania State University—Altoona ($17,477)

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