Small liberal arts schools tend to be more expensive

I was just playing around with the recently updated data on the College Affordability and Transparency Center, and I was struck by how many smaller liberal arts colleges are among the most expensive four-year private non-profit institutions. I expected to see more universities with expensive graduate departments and science labs.

To be sure, Columbia University tops the list with annual tuition and required fees of $45,290 during the 2011-12 school year. That might be expected with the high cost of real estate and salaries in New York City. But seven of the top 10 most expensive schools are small liberal arts colleges: Sarah Lawrence, Vassar, Trinity, Connecticut College, Wesleyan, Bucknell and Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Mass.

On the other hand, these bucolic colleges are not so much more expensive than urban universities. University of Chicago at $43,780 is nearly as pricey.

Here’s the list of the 65 most expensive four-year colleges and universities:

U.S. Department of Education
Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above with Highest Tuition
                (National Average: $22,786)
Institution State Tuition(1)
Columbia University in the City of New York NY $45,290
Sarah Lawrence College NY $45,212
Vassar College NY $44,705
George Washington University DC $44,148
Trinity College CT $44,070
Carnegie Mellon University PA $44,010
Connecticut College CT $43,990
Wesleyan University CT $43,974
Bucknell University PA $43,866
Bard College at Simon’s Rock MA $43,840
University of Chicago IL $43,780
St John’s College MD $43,656
St John’s College NM $43,655
Union College NY $43,602
Tulane University of Louisiana LA $43,434
Bard College NY $43,306
Oberlin College OH $43,210
Williams College MA $43,190
University of Richmond VA $43,170
Dickinson College PA $43,060
Dartmouth College NH $42,996
Tufts University MA $42,962
Carleton College MN $42,942
Colgate University NY $42,920
Hobart William Smith Colleges NY $42,915
Hampshire College MA $42,900
Amherst College MA $42,898
Occidental College CA $42,871
Colby College ME $42,820
University of Southern California CA $42,818
Bowdoin College ME $42,816
Bates College ME $42,800
Bennington College VT $42,800
Reed College OR $42,800
St Lawrence University NY $42,735
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY $42,704
Hamilton College NY $42,640
Kenyon College OH $42,630
Franklin and Marshall College PA $42,610
Gettysburg College PA $42,610
Pitzer College CA $42,550
Middlebury College VT $42,428
Harvey Mudd College CA $42,410
Skidmore College NY $42,380
Johns Hopkins University MD $42,280
Claremont McKenna College CA $42,240
Brown University RI $42,230
Haverford College PA $42,208
Boston College MA $42,204
Barnard College NY $42,184
University of Pennsylvania PA $42,098
Macalester College MN $42,021
Washington University in St Louis MO $41,992
Northwestern University IL $41,983
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering MA $41,950
Scripps College CA $41,950
Duke University NC $41,938
Washington and Lee University VA $41,927
Wheaton College MA $41,894
Brandeis University MA $41,860
University of Rochester NY $41,826
Ursinus College PA $41,820
Stevens Institute of Technology NJ $41,782
New York University NY $41,606
Wake Forest University NC $41,576
(1)Tuition and Required Fees, 2011-12
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2011, Institutional Characteristics component and Spring 2012, Student Financial Aid component.

POSTED BY Jill Barshay ON July 5, 2013

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