Most Expensive Colleges for 2010-2011

This year saw many increases in tuition prices, some even drawing protests and near riots. There are many reasons for these increases, but it is mostly blamed on reduced state appropriations, higher health care costs, and increased utility costs.

The demand for college increases during a recession as those who can’t find work go back to school. Easy access to student aid further increases the demand for higher education, and the price sure shows it.

You will notice all the schools on this list are private. Public schools are more affordable but it should be noted they are climbing in price faster than private schools. Public 4-year in-state schools increased by 46.1% from 2000-2001 to 2009-2010, while private not-for-profit schools increased 30.8% over the same period.

Just looking at Tuition and Room & Board numbers, an additional 48 colleges passed the $50k mark this year, bringing the total to 82. As far as tuition, 43 colleges now charge over $40,000/year, compared to just 11 last year.

Taking the price of one of these institutions you can see that the cost of a 4-year degree is one fat sticker price. That sticker price will get even uglier when you consider tuition increases every year (unless you go to a school like GWU where tuition is locked in) and the fact that many students do not finish within 4 years.

Thankfully many of these colleges offer great aid packages.

It is important to note that just because these schools have high tuition does not mean you will actually be paying that amount. Many schools will provide a financial aid package that meets 100% of a student's financial need (Cost of Attendance - Estimated Family Contribution). Many of these colleges provide excellent financial aid packages, some even offering scholarships that cover most of the financial burden of attending the college.

Westlands at Sarah Lawrence College

In 2009-2010 full-time students at private not-for-profit 4-year colleges received an average of about $14,400 in grant aid, reducing the average net tuition and fees to about $11,900.

Knowing colleges provide great financial aid packages, we hope to take this list and apply grants to figure the average out-of-pocket expense for these schools (as soon as grant data is available).

Most Expensive Colleges 2010-2011

College Cost
1. Sarah Lawrence College $56,420
2. New York University $53,589
3. Wesleyan University $53,406
4. Harvey Mudd College $53,331
5. Bates College $53,300
6. Johns Hopkins University $53,190
7. Connecticut College $53,110
8. Claremont McKenna College $52,995
9. The George Washington University $52,980
10. Scripps College $52,686
11. Bard College $52,650
12. Vassar College $52,640
13. Bard College at Simon's Rock $52,610
14. Haverford College $52,606
15. Georgetown University $52,526
16. Bowdoin College $52,465
17. Eugene Lang College $52,440
18. Duke University $52,405
19. University of Chicago $52,341
20. Union College (NY) $52,329
21. Carnegie Mellon University $52,250
22. Oberlin College $52,244
23. Fordham University - Lincoln Center $52,159
24. Middlebury College $52,120
25. Cornell University $52,100

More: See the Top 100

Cost = Tuition + Room/Board

Highest Tuition 2010-2011

College Tuition
1. Middlebury College $45,185
2. Connecticut College $43,990
3. The George Washington University $42,860
4. Sarah Lawrence College $42,600
5. Vassar College $42,560
6. Bucknell University $42,112
7. Wesleyan University $41,814
8. St. John's College $41,792
9. University of Richmond $41,610
10. Colgate University $41,585
11. Union College (NY) $41,571
12. Carnegie Mellon University $41,500
13. Oberlin College $41,234
14. Williams College $41,190
15. Dickinson College $41,170
16. Bard College at Simon's Rock $41,160
16. Columbia University $41,160
18. Bowdoin College $41,150
19. Bates College $41,120
20. Franklin & Marshall College $41,090
21. Carleton College $41,076
22. Gettysburg College $41,070
23. Reed College $40,940
24. St. Lawrence University $40,905
25. Hamilton College $40,870

More: See the Top 100

Data compiled by

Other Notable Colleges:
Harvard placed as the 137th most expensive college tuition wise and 114th in total cost. Penn placed as the 113th most expensive college tuition wise and 110th in total cost.

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 and per major. 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'. We take the price a typical freshman would pay for tuition, room and board.

These numbers were taken directly from the college's website in October of 2010. In the event 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.

Press Coverage:
Washington Post
The Huffington Post
Burlington Free Press
Yale Daily News
Daily Herald (Brown University)
The GW Hatchet
Student Life (Washington University in St Louis)