I recently stumbled across this handy tool from the Department of Education, which generates lists of colleges by cost. The schools that usually get dinged for high tuition (and as a result, scare off low-income applicants) are the elite colleges. But many of those schools are quite rich and distribute a lot of financial aid.
Here’s a list of the top 10 most expensive four-year private nonprofits, as determined by tuition sticker price:
|Institution||State||Tuition and required fees, 2011-12|
|Columbia University in the City of New York||NY||$45,290|
|Sarah Lawrence College||NY||$45,212|
|George Washington University||DC||$44,148|
|Carnegie Mellon University||PA||$44,010|
|Bard College at Simon’s Rock||MA||$43,840|
Now here’s a list of the top 10 most expensive four-year private nonprofits, after subtracting the average amount of government and institutional grant/scholarship aid at each institution:
|Institution||State||Percent receiving grant aid||Net price after scholarships and grant aid, 2010-11|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||IL||100||$42,882|
|Ringling College of Art and Design||FL||77||$40,222|
|The Boston Conservatory||MA||65||$39,602|
|Berklee College of Music||MA||63||$38,814|
|California Institute of the Arts||CA||77||$38,802|
|The New School||NY||97||$37,779|
|Art Center College of Design||CA||66||$37,579|
|San Francisco Art Institute||CA||97||$37,527|
|New York University||NY||55||$36,834|
Notice something? There’s zero overlap between these two lists. Also, seven of the top 10 most expensive schools are arts schools or conservatories of some kind.
Some other observations:
• Half of the most expensive public four-year schools by net price are in Pennsylvania. (This is perhaps related to the fact that Pennsylvania slashed state and local appropriations per full-time equivalent student by 31.7 percent between fiscal years 2007-2012, and now has among the lowest appropriations per student among all states).
• Many of the least expensive private four-year nonprofits by net price have a religious affiliation or mission (Berea College, Family of Faith College, Bais Medrash Elyon, Hobe Sound Bible College).
• Some two-year public schools are really expensive! The net price — again, after taking into account grants and scholarships — for Florida Keys Community College is $22,933. On average two-year publics remain a pretty good deal though ($6,711 net price).