Most Expensive Colleges 2011

  1.  College Costs Reach New Highs
    1

    College Costs Reach New Highs

    The slow but painful escalation of college tuition each fall is a given, even in a shaky economy. This year, college costs are again on the rise, says the latest report from the College Board, a higher-education membership association based in New York. According to the report, released on Oct. 26, the average published cost of annual tuition and fees at private four-year colleges is $28,500, up 4.5 percent from last year. Room and board drives that figure up to $38,589.

    At public four-year colleges, the cost is 8.3 percent higher than last year, with in-state tuition averaging $8,244. Out-of-state tuition averages $20,770 a 5.7 percent increase over last year.

    Which institutions out there have the potential to break the bank? Using the College Board's database of self-reported numbers from 3,924 colleges and universities, Bloomberg Businessweek has compiled a list of the nation's 50 costliest colleges and universities, ranked from the highest tuition and fees to the lowest.

    This year, Columbia University in New York City—the third most expensive school in our 2010 ranking—rose to the No. 1 spot as the school with the highest tuition and fees, clocking in at $45,290, a nearly 5 percent increase from a year earlier.

    However, tuition and fees make up just one part of the overall financial picture. At most schools, the total annual cost of attending the institution, a figure that includes room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation, can easily add $12,000 or more to the bill. Of the 50 schools on our list, the median annual cost was $57,215. Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., is overall the priciest school on our list, with annual costs totaling $60,570, up $1,786 from 2010.

    While these numbers may seem high, financial aid packages and scholarships can help offset the sticker shock. The median financial aid package at these 50 schools is $35,264, a more than 60 percent discount off total costs. Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., offered the most generous financial aid package of the schools listed, giving students on average $41,672 in assistance.

    Our ranking is based on out-of-state tuition and fees for the 2011-12 academic year. Where multiple schools at a single university or university system reported different costs, only the school with the highest tuition is listed. Our list is limited to schools accessible to the majority of college-bound students. To provide a more complete picture of what families typically pay for college, we've included data on room and board, books and supplies, estimated personal expenses, and transportation expenses, as well as financial aid.

  2. No. 1 Columbia University
    2

    No. 1 Columbia University

    New York

    Tuition & Fees: $45,290
    Room & Board: $11,020
    Books & Supplies: $2,807
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $59,117

    Average Financial Aid Package: $40,259
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 82 percent

  3. No. 2 Sarah Lawrence College
    3

    No. 2 Sarah Lawrence College

    Bronxville, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $45,212
    Room & Board: $13,958
    Books & Supplies: $600
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $800
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $60,570

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,056
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 81 percent

  4. No. 3 Vassar College
    4

    No. 3 Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $44,705
    Room & Board: $10,430
    Books & Supplies: $860
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,200
    Transportation: $465

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,660

    Average Financial Aid Package: $41,054
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 86 percent

  5. No. 4 George Washington University
    5

    No. 4 George Washington University

    Washington, D.C.

    Tuition & Fees: $44,148
    Room & Board: $10,325
    Books & Supplies: $1,275
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,400
    Transportation: $1,000

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,148

    Average Financial Aid Package: $38,579
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 71 percent

  6. No. 5 Trinity College
    6

    No. 5 Trinity College

    Hartford

    Tuition & Fees: $44,070
    Room & Board: $11,380
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: $250

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,700

    Average Financial Aid Package: $37,881
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 90 percent

  7. No. 6 Connecticut College
    7

    No. 6 Connecticut College

    New London, Conn.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,990
    Room & Board: $10,980
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $500
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,470

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,762
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 81 percent

    Photographer: Jessica Hill/AP Photo

  8. No. 7 Wesleyan College
    8

    No. 7 Wesleyan College

    Middletown, Conn.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,974
    Room & Board: $12,032
    Books & Supplies: $1,333
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,332
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,671

    Average Financial Aid Package: $35,985
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  9. No. 8 Bucknell University
    9

    No. 8 Bucknell University

    Lewisburg, Pa.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,866
    Room & Board: $10,374
    Books & Supplies: $900
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $2,000
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,140

    Average Financial Aid Package: $27,000
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 78 percent

  10. No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University
    10

    No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh

    Tuition & Fees: $43,812
    Room & Board: $11,110
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,400
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,322

    Average Financial Aid Package: $28,849
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 75 percent

  11. No. 10 St. John's College
    11

    No. 10 St. John's College

    Annapolis, Md.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,656
    Room & Board: $10,334
    Books & Supplies: $630
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $400
    Transportation: $350

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,370

    Average Financial Aid Package: NA
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: NA

  12. No. 11 Tulane University
    12

    No. 11 Tulane University

    New Orleans

    Tuition & Fees: $43,434
    Room & Board: $11,450
    Books & Supplies: $1,200
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: $849

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,933

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,341
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 63 percent

  13.  No. 12 Bard College
    13

    No. 12 Bard College

    Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,306
    Room & Board: $12,286
    Books & Supplies: $950
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $800
    Transportation: $950

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,292

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,952
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  14. No. 13 Oberlin College
    14

    No. 13 Oberlin College

    Oberlin, Ohio

    Tuition & Fees: $43,210
    Room & Board: $11,550
    Books & Supplies: $830
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $978
    Transportation: $700

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,268

    Average Financial Aid Package: $30,901
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 83 percent

  15. No. 14 Williams College
    15

    No. 14 Williams College

    Williamstown, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,190
    Room & Board: $11,370
    Books & Supplies: $800
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,200
    Transportation: $692

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,252

    Average Financial Aid Package: $41,672
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 82 percent

  16. No. 15 University of Richmond
    16

    No. 15 University of Richmond

    Richmond, Va.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,170
    Room & Board: $9,250
    Books & Supplies: $1,050
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $53,470

    Average Financial Aid Package: $38,477
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 81 percent

  17. No. 16 Dickinson College
    17

    No. 16 Dickinson College

    Carlisle, Pa.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,085
    Room & Board: $10,800
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,200
    Transportation: $300

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,385

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,695
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 87 percent

  18. No. 17 Bard College at Simon's Rock
    18

    No. 17 Bard College at Simon's Rock

    Great Barrington, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $43,000
    Room & Board: $11,960
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $640
    Transportation: $1,000

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,600

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,336
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 88 percent

  19. No. 18 Dartmouth College
    19

    No. 18 Dartmouth College

    Hanover, N.H.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,996
    Room & Board: $12,369
    Books & Supplies: $1,618
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,381
    Transportation: $775

    Total Annual Expenses: $59,139

    Average Financial Aid Package: $40,433
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 83 percent

  20. No. 19 Tufts University
    20

    No. 19 Tufts University

    Medford, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,962
    Room & Board: $11,512
    Books & Supplies: $2,134
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,608

    Average Financial Aid Package: $32,843
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 77 percent

  21. No. 20 Occidental College
    21

    No. 20 Occidental College

    Los Angeles

    Tuition & Fees: $42,960
    Room & Board: $11,990
    Books & Supplies: $1,180
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,440
    Transportation: $862

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,432

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,612
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 80 percent

    Photographer: Kirby Lee/Getty Images

  22. No. 21 Carleton College
    22

    No. 21 Carleton College

    Northfield, Minn.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,942
    Room & Board: $11,238
    Books & Supplies: $730
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $727
    Transportation: $700

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,337

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,708
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  23. No. 22 Colgate University
    23

    No. 22 Colgate University

    Hamilton, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,920
    Room & Board: $10,650
    Books & Supplies: NA
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $53,570

    Average Financial Aid Package: $39,896
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 85 percent

  24. No. 23 Hobart and William Smith Colleges
    24

    No. 23 Hobart and William Smith Colleges

    Geneva, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,915
    Room & Board: $10,853
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $600
    Transportation: $210

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,578

    Average Financial Aid Package: $31,015
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 80 percent

  25. No. 24 Amherst College
    25

    No. 24 Amherst College

    Amherst, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,898
    Room & Board: $11,200
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,800
    Transportation: $600

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,498

    Average Financial Aid Package: $40,441
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 87 percent

  26. No. 25 Hampshire College
    26

    No. 25 Hampshire College

    Amherst, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,880
    Room & Board: $11,180
    Books & Supplies: $700
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $700
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,460

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,740
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  27. No. 26 University of Southern California
    27

    No. 26 University of Southern California

    Los Angeles

    Tuition & Fees: $42,818
    Room & Board: $12,078
    Books & Supplies: $1,500
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $896
    Transportation: $580

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,872

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,291
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 60 percent

  28. No. 27 Bowdoin College
    28

    No. 27 Bowdoin College

    Brunswick, Maine

    Tuition & Fees: $42,816
    Room & Board: $11,654
    Books & Supplies: $820
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,250
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,540

    Average Financial Aid Package: $35,470
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 73 percent

  29. No. 28 (tie) Reed College
    29

    No. 28 (tie) Reed College

    Portland, Ore.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,800
    Room & Board: $11,050
    Books & Supplies: $950
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $900
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,700

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,856
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 81 percent

  30. No. 28 (tie) Bennington College
    30

    No. 28 (tie) Bennington College

    Bennington, Vt.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,800
    Room & Board: $12,160
    Books & Supplies: $800
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $2,100
    Transportation: $450

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,310

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,719
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 80 percent

  31. No. 30 University of Chicago
    31

    No. 30 University of Chicago

    Chicago

    Tuition & Fees: $42,783
    Room & Board: $12,633
    Books & Supplies: $1,050
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,919
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,385

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,740
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  32. No. 31 Johns Hopkins University
    32

    No. 31 Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore

    Tuition & Fees: $42,780
    Room & Board: $12,962
    Books & Supplies: NA
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,742

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,193
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 80 percent

  33. No. 32 St. Lawrence University
    33

    No. 32 St. Lawrence University

    Canton, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,735
    Room & Board: $11,005
    Books & Supplies: NA
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $53,740

    Average Financial Aid Package: $37,509
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 88 percent

    Photographer: Lance Wheeler/AP Photo

  34. No. 33 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    34

    No. 33 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Troy, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,704
    Room & Board: $11,975
    Books & Supplies: $2,500
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,179

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,430
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 86 percent

  35. No. 34 Hamilton College
    35

    No. 34 Hamilton College

    Clinton, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,640
    Room & Board: $10,830
    Books & Supplies: $1,300
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: $1,500

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,270

    Average Financial Aid Package: $38,222
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 83 percent

  36. No. 35 Kenyon College
    36

    No. 35 Kenyon College

    Gambier, Ohio

    Tuition & Fees: $42,630
    Room & Board: $10,020
    Books & Supplies: $1,800
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: $1,450

    Total Annual Expenses: $55,900

    Average Financial Aid Package: $30,623
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 76 percent

    Photographer: Taro Yamasaki/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

  37. No. 36 (tie) Gettysburg College
    37

    No. 36 (tie) Gettysburg College

    Gettysburg, Pa.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,610
    Room & Board: $10,180
    Books & Supplies: $1,100
    Estimated Personal Expenses: NA
    Transportation: $1,100

    Total Annual Expenses: $54,990

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,937
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: NA

    Gettysburg #9 Hannah Church runs around Bowdoin #15 Emily French during the Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship held at Motamed Field on the Adelphi University campus in Garden City, NY. Gettysburg College defeated Bowdoin College 16-5 to win their national title, May 22, 2011. Photographer: John Munson/AP Photo

  38. No. 36 (tie) Franklin & Marshall College
    38

    No. 36 (tie) Franklin & Marshall College

    Lancaster, Pa.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,610
    Room & Board: $11,500
    Books & Supplies: $1,200
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,270
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,580

    Average Financial Aid Package: $35,253
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 76 percent

  39. No. 38 Pitzer College
    39

    No. 38 Pitzer College

    Claremont, Calif.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,550
    Room & Board: $12,438
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,988

    Average Financial Aid Package: $39,076
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 71 percent

  40. No. 39 Harvey Mudd College
    40

    No. 39 Harvey Mudd College

    Claremont, Calif.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,410
    Room & Board: $13,858
    Books & Supplies: $800
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $900
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,968

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,740
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 84 percent

  41. No. 40 Skidmore College
    41

    No. 40 Skidmore College

    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,380
    Room & Board: $11,304
    Books & Supplies: $1,300
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,216
    Transportation: $300

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,500

    Average Financial Aid Package: $34,915
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 86 percent

  42. No. 41 Stevens Institute of Technology
    42

    No. 41 Stevens Institute of Technology

    Hoboken, N.J.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,376
    Room & Board: $12,900
    Books & Supplies: $900
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $750
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,926

    Average Financial Aid Package: NA
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: NA

    Photographer: Joe Epstein/AP Photo

  43. No. 42 Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
    43

    No. 42 Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

    Rochester, N.Y.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,291
    Room & Board: $12,330
    Books & Supplies: $650
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,500
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,771

    Average Financial Aid Package: NA
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: NA

  44. No. 43 Claremont McKenna College
    44

    No. 43 Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont, Calif.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,240
    Room & Board: $13,625
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,865

    Average Financial Aid Package: $35,419
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 97 percent

  45. No. 44 Brown University
    45

    No. 44 Brown University

    Providence

    Tuition & Fees: $42,230
    Room & Board: $10,906
    Books & Supplies: $2,902
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,636
    Transportation: $300

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,974

    Average Financial Aid Package: $37,355
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 91 percent

    Photographer: Stew Milne/AP Photo

  46. No. 45 Haverford College
    46

    No. 45 Haverford College

    Haverford, Pa.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,208
    Room & Board: $12,842
    Books & Supplies: $1,194
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,468
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,712

    Average Financial Aid Package: $36,749
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 86 percent

  47. No. 46 Boston College
    47

    No. 46 Boston College

    Chestnut Hill, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,204
    Room & Board: $12,875
    Books & Supplies: $900
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,000
    Transportation: $200

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,179

    Average Financial Aid Package: $31,597
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 85 percent

  48. No. 47 Barnard College
    48

    No. 47 Barnard College

    New York

    Tuition & Fees: $42,184
    Room & Board: $13,382
    Books & Supplies: $1,146
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,366
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $58,078

    Average Financial Aid Package: $39,578
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 77 percent

  49. No. 48 University of Pennsylvania
    49

    No. 48 University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia

    Tuition & Fees: $42,098
    Room & Board: $11,878
    Books & Supplies: $1,160
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $2,224
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $57,360

    Average Financial Aid Package: $35,264
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 82 percent

  50. No. 49 Brandeis University
    50

    No. 49 Brandeis University

    Waltham, Mass.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,060
    Room & Board: $11,894
    Books & Supplies: $1,000
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $1,500
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $56,454

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,646
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 78 percent

    Photographer: Josh Reynolds/AP Photo

  51. No. 50 Macalester College
    51

    No. 50 Macalester College

    St. Paul, Minn.

    Tuition & Fees: $42,021
    Room & Board: $9,396
    Books & Supplies: $990
    Estimated Personal Expenses: $870
    Transportation: NA

    Total Annual Expenses: $53,277

    Average Financial Aid Package: $33,891
    Freshman Aid Applicants Receiving Need-Based Assistance: 91 percent