Most Expensive Colleges for 2009-2010

Sarah Lawrence College

For the second year in a row, Sarah Lawrence College is the most expensive college in the nation for the 2009-2010 school year, while NYU edges out The George Washington University to take 2nd in the ranking.

Most of the colleges in the ranking of expensive colleges are private liberal arts schools located in the Northeast. Even while tuition at private colleges rose 4.3 percent for 2009-2010, the smallest increase in 37 years, many colleges have approached the $50,000 per year mark.

It is important to note that just because these schools have high tuition, doesn’t mean you will actually be paying that amount. Many of these colleges provide excellent financial aid packages. A lot of these schools offer scholarships that often cover most of the financial burden of attending the college. For example, MIT is tuition-free for families earning less than $75,000 a year.

These are prices for one year of education at traditional 4-year undergraduate colleges.

Highest Total Cost 2009-2010

CollegeTotal Cost
1. Sarah Lawrence College $54,410
2. New York University $51,991
3. The George Washington University $51,730
4. Bates College $51,300
5. Skidmore College $51,196
6. Johns Hopkins University $51,190
7. Georgetown University $51,122
8. Connecticut College $51,115
9. Harvey Mudd College $51,037
10. Vassar College $50,875
11. Wesleyan University $50,862
12. Claremont McKenna College $50,800
13. Colgate University $50,660
14. Carnegie Mellon University $50,640
15. Haverford College $50,625
16. Bowdoin College $50,485
17. Middlebury College $50,400
18. Mount Holyoke College $50,390
19. Bard College $50,380
20. Boston College $50,370
21. Franklin & Marshall College $50,360
22. Bard College at Simon's Rock $50,340
23. Scripps College $50,336
24. Babson College $50,324
25. Colby College $50,320

More: See the Top 100

Total Cost = Tuition + Room/Board

Highest Tuition 2009-2010

1. Middlebury College $43,690
2. Connecticut College $42,335
3. The George Washington University $41,610
4. Vassar College $41,335
5. Sarah Lawrence College $41,040
6. Colgate University $40,690
7. Bucknell University $40,594
8. Skidmore College $40,420
9. Carnegie Mellon University $40,300
10. Union College (NY) $40,068
11. University of Richmond $40,010
12. St. John's College $39,992
13. Franklin & Marshall College $39,930
14. Wesleyan University $39,822
15. Kenyon College $39,810
16. Dickinson College $39,780
17. Oberlin College $39,686
18. Bowdoin College $39,605
19. Bates College $39,575
20. Wheaton College (MA) $39,565
21. Carleton College $39,546
22. St. Lawrence University $39,520
23. Reed College $39,440
24. Tufts University $39,432
25. Bard College at Simon's Rock $39,380

More: See the Top 100

Data compiled by

Other Notable Colleges:
Harvard placed as the 139th most expensive college tuition wise and 112th in total cost.

Total cost is taken by adding tuition + room and board. We do not include fees when figuring the total cost. This is because many fees can be optional and can vary per student. A Student Health Insurance Fee, for example, is obviously not going to be required for a student already on their parents’ insurance plan. Some colleges also charge fees to certain majors. Including fees in the 'Total Cost' would have led to too many 'What Ifs'.

These numbers were taken directly from the college's website in October of 2009. In the case that the University does not provide an estimated cost of room and board (because some dorms on campus are priced differently), we took the price of a dorm a typical freshman would find themselves in.

Some colleges like Bates College, Colby College, Middlebury College, and Union College have a comprehensive fee (tuition + room/board). Their tuition numbers were taken by taking their total comprehensive fee and subtracting by the amount of rebate the college gives to students who choose to live off campus.

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