Most Expensive Colleges

Sure, college tuition is increasing rapidly. But how expensive are some colleges’ tuition rates?      

Here are the nation’s most expensive colleges, according to an article in The Washington Post, which cited a Campus Grotto finding.

Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts college in Bronxville, NY, has no specific majors or areas of study. The college, instead, encourages broad reasoning and creativity, according to its Web site. It topped the list with its tuition of $56,420.  New York University and Wesleyan University followed with tuitions of $53,589 and $53,406, respectively.

No college wants to be near the top of the tuition list, according to The Washington Post. The most expensive colleges will continually drop tuition costs, attempting to dodge the label of America’s "most expensive college."

Some universities, such as Middlebury College, freeze their comprehensive fees, attempting to fall off the expensive colleges list. It has fallen from 17th to 24th on the list by freezing its fees at tuition + 1 percent.

Other schools’ tuition figures are misleading. Some schools like George Washington University lock tuition, guaranteeing that incoming freshmen will pay the same tuition for all four or five years. Most colleges, that lock tuition, only do so for four years; George Washington, however, locks it for five years.

But, how high will tuition reach? As long as families are willing to pay a premium for a “unique college experience” then there’s no limit. Tuition rose sharply in the 1980s, which is nothing compared to today’s dramatic increases because of the economic downturn.

Colleges created a tremendous buzz and concern when they hit the $40,000 mark a few years ago. Tuition for the most expensive colleges has risen nearly $20,000 since then, which is the total cost of moderately-priced universities.

Here are the top 20 most expensive colleges, according to Campus Grotto. The plus or minus figure indicates that tuition has either increased or decreased, respectively. The dash figure indicates no change.

1. Sarah Lawrence College $56,420 -
2. New York University $53,589 -
3. Wesleyan University $53,406 +8
4. Harvey Mudd College $53,331 +5
5. Bates College $53,300 -1
6. Johns Hopkins University $53,190 -
7. Connecticut College $53,110 +1
8. Claremont McKenna College $52,995 +4
9. The George Washington University $52,980 -6
10. Scripps College $52,686 +13
11. Bard College $52,650 +8
12. Vassar College $52,640 -2
13. Bard College at Simon's Rock $52,610 +9
14. Haverford College $52,606 +1
15. Georgetown University $52,526 -8
16. Bowdoin College $52,465 -
17. Eugene Lang College $52,440 +24
18. Duke University $52,405 +9
19. University of Chicago $52,341 +9
20. Union College (NY) $52,329 +15