Dec 19, 2014

57 colleges and universities top $60K

Sarah Lawrence College

It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were marveling over colleges charging over $50,000, for tuition, fees, room and board.  In fact, as recently as 2008, only five colleges were priced over $50K.  By 2010, however, 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 2014, and $50K seems almost like a bargain.  This year, 57 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 last year.

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

The average price for tuition and fees at public four-year colleges is $9,139 for in-state students in 2014-15, up from $8,885 in 2013-14, a 2.9% increase.  For out-of-state students, the average published tuition and fee price was $22,958.  

At private four-year colleges, published tuition and fees went up to $31,231 from 30,131—a 3.7% 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 full-time undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year colleges receive an average of about $18,870 in grant aid from all sources and education tax benefits to help them pay the 2014-15 published tuition and fees of $31,231. At public institutions, average net price comes to about $3,030 for in-state students.  

But keep in mind, this doesn’t include room and board, which for public institutions added an average of $9,804 to total cost.  At private colleges, room and board averaged $11,188.

Locally, a handful of private colleges appear on the $60K list.  These include Johns Hopkins ($61,806), Georgetown ($60,720), and George Washington ($60,550).

While not quite hitting $60K, the most expensive public institutions in the country for out-of-state students are the University of Virginia ($52,236) followed by the University of Michigan ($52,152) and virtually the entire University of California state system.

And based on “sticker price” alone, the fifteen most expensive colleges in the country for 2014-15 are

  1. Sarah Lawrence College:  $65,480
  2. Harvey Mudd College:  $64,427
  3. Columbia University:  $63,440
  4. New York University:  $62,930
  5. University of Chicago:  $62,458
  6. Claremont McKenna College:  $62,215
  7. Bard College:  $62,012
  8. Scripps College:  $61,927
  9. Dartmouth College:  $61,927
  10. Landmark College:  $61,898
  11. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering:  $61,881
  12. Fordham University:  $61,832
  13. Johns Hopkins University:  $61,806
  14. Oberlin College:  $61,788
  15. Haverford College:  $61,784

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