Administration

A Public University Joins the Expanding $50K Club of College Prices

October 31, 2010

The ranks of the most expensive colleges have grown again: 100 institutions are charging $50,000 or more for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2010-11, according to a Chronicle analysis of data released last week by the College Board. That's well above the 58 universities and colleges that charged that much in 2009-10, and a major jump from the year before, when only five colleges were priced over $50,000.

This year marks a milestone as the first public institution has joined that elite club: the University of California at Berkeley is charging out-of-state residents $50,649 for tuition, fees, room, and board. (The price for in-state residents is only $27,770.)

All of the other 99 colleges charging $50,000 or more are private. They made up 9 percent of the 1,058 private institutions reporting any amount for tuition, fees, room, and board.

 


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To be sure, many students at the most-expensive institutions are paying significantly less than the sticker price, thanks to financial aid. Net prices, including financial aid, are not available by institution for 2010-11. But the College Board estimates that the average net price for tuition, fees, room, and board at private, four-year colleges has fallen slightly from the level five years ago, when adjusted for inflation, to $21,020 this year.

Still, some students pay the full, published prices. And college officials and analysts have worried (see last year's $50K club article) that if list prices continue to rise, they may drive away applicants and draw pressure from policy makers. A sticker price of $50,000 is more than twice the annual income for a family of four living at the poverty line, $22,050.

But other observers forecast little decline in the number of students eager to attend elite institutions charging big sticker prices.

Berkeley's charges topping $50,000 represent an outlier among the nearly 600 four-year public institutions for which the College Board reported out-of-state charges for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2010-11. The median such charge in that group was $23,526.

Only 14 public institutions besides Berkeley set those charges at $40,000 or higher in 2010-11. Of them, eight are other campuses in the University of California system. The other six institutions are the College of William & Mary and the Universities of Colorado at Boulder, Michigan at Ann Arbor, Texas at Austin, Vermont, and Virginia. [Editor's Note: The last two paragraphs were added to this article on November 2, 2010, after its original publication.]

Institutions charging $50,000 or more:

  Tuition, fees, room, and board ($)  
Institution 2010-11 2009-10 1-year increase
Sarah Lawrence College 57,384 55,788 2.9%
Landmark College 56,500 53,900 4.8%
Columbia U. School of General Studies 54,782 51,930 5.5%
Wesleyan U. 53,976 51,432 4.9%
Columbia U. 53,874 51,544 4.5%
Johns Hopkins U. 53,690 51,690 3.9%
Georgetown U. 53,591 52,161 2.7%
New York U. 53,589 51,993 3.1%
Harvey Mudd College 53,588 51,137 4.8%
Barnard College 53,496 50,969 5.0%
Bard College 53,480 51,180 4.5%
Trinity College (Conn.) 53,330 51,400 3.8%
Washington U. in St. Louis 53,315 51,193 4.1%
Bates College 53,300 51,300 3.9%
U. of Chicago 53,244 51,078 4.2%
Claremont McKenna College 53,230 51,035 4.3%
Connecticut College 53,110 51,115 3.9%
Fordham U. 53,093 50,598 4.9%
Vassar College 53,090 51,470 3.1%
Pitzer College 53,080 50,770 4.5%
George Washington U. 53,025 51,775 2.4%
Vanderbilt U. 53,000 51,228 3.5%
Haverford College 52,970 50,975 3.9%
Stevens Institute of Technology 52,965 50,750 4.4%
Babson College 52,916 50,324 5.2%
Bennington College 52,900 50,860 4.0%
Scripps College 52,900 50,550 4.6%
Bowdoin College 52,880 50,900 3.9%
New School Parsons School of Design 52,870 51,270 3.1%
Tufts U. 52,866 51,088 3.5%
Occidental College 52,815 49,702 6.3%
U. of Southern California 52,752 50,732 4.0%
Carnegie Mellon U. 52,690 51,068 3.2%
Boston College 52,624 50,970 3.2%
Bard College at Simon's Rock 52,610 50,340 4.5%
Oberlin College 52,587 50,484 4.2%
Middlebury College 52,500 50,780 3.4%
Northwestern U. 52,463 50,164 4.6%
Dartmouth College 52,445 50,084 4.7%
Eastman School of Music of U. of Rochester 52,372 50,326 4.1%
Williams College 52,340 49,880 4.9%
Union College (N.Y.) 52,329 50,439 3.7%
Cornell U. 52,316 50,114 4.4%
Bucknell U. 52,280 50,320 3.9%
Hampshire College 52,202 50,450 3.5%
St. John's College (Md.) 52,176 50,352 3.6%
St. John's College (N.M.) 52,176 49,992 4.4%
Skidmore College 52,170 51,196 1.9%
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 52,168 50,245 3.8%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 52,145 50,310 3.6%
Boston U. 52,124 50,288 3.7%
Carleton College 52,110 50,205 3.8%
Franklin & Marshall College 52,110 50,410 3.4%
Colgate U. 52,060 50,940 2.2%
Mount Holyoke College 52,036 50,576 2.9%
Colby College 51,990 50,320 3.3%
Boston Conservatory 51,985 49,856 4.3%
Dickinson College 51,975 50,219 3.5%
Wellesley College 51,950 49,848 4.2%
U. of Pennsylvania 51,944 49,986 3.9%
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering 51,925 50,025 3.8%
U. of Rochester 51,922 49,890 4.1%
Smith College 51,898 50,380 3.0%
Duke U. 51,865 49,895 3.9%
Reed College 51,850 49,950 3.8%
Bryn Mawr College 51,780 50,034 3.5%
Lafayette College 51,774 50,289 3.0%
St. Lawrence U. 51,770 49,925 3.7%
Hamilton College (N.Y.) 51,760 49,860 3.8%
Tulane U. 51,708 50,190 3.0%
Amherst College 51,520 49,078 5.0%
Swarthmore College 51,500 49,600 3.8%
Brandeis U. 51,488 49,562 3.9%
Chapman U. 51,481 49,596 3.8%
Fairfield U. 51,430 49,410 4.1%
Gettysburg College 51,390 48,460 6.0%
Brown U. 51,360 49,128 4.5%
Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts 51,350 49,810 3.1%
Berklee College of Music 51,335 48,733 5.3%
Pomona College 51,330 49,668 3.3%
Wheaton College (Mass.) 51,264 49,440 3.7%
Providence College 51,125 44,480 14.9%
Wake Forest U. 50,980 49,032 4.0%
College of the Holy Cross 50,832 49,342 3.0%
U. of Notre Dame 50,785 48,845 4.0%
Harvard College 50,724 48,684 4.2%
U. of California at Berkeley (out-of-state residents) 50,649 47,726 6.1%
Drew U. 50,647 48,385 4.7%
Washington and Lee U. 50,630 48,702 4.0%
Stanford U. 50,576 48,843 3.5%
Villanova U. 50,550 49,330 2.5%
Pepperdine U. 50,470 48,750 3.5%
West Coast U. 50,453 n/a n/a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 50,446 49,142 2.7%
U. of Richmond 50,420 48,490 4.0%
Kenyon College 50,400 48,240 4.5%
New School Mannes College of Music 50,360 48,860 3.1%
Emory U. 50,356 48,932 2.9%
Loyola Marymount U. 50,334 48,679 3.4%
Lehigh U. 50,300 48,830 3.0%
Worcester Polytechnic Institute 50,240 48,868 2.8%
American U. 50,165 47,903 4.7%
Cleveland Institute of Music 50,005 47,157 6.0%
Loyola U. Maryland 50,000 47,810 4.6%
Note: The designation "n/a" means data were not available. Students incur additional costs not included in these figures, such as books and transportation. This list includes units of institutions that are also shown on the list. In the accompanying news article, The Chronicle did not include the units in tallies of the number of institutions charging $50,000 or more.
Source: The College Board collected the figures for 2010-11 in its "Annual Survey of Colleges 2010." © 2010, the College Board. This material may not be copied, published, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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