The Most Expensive Colleges in the US

Jul 27, 2011

As part of 2008's Higher Education Opportunity Act, Congress mandated the creation of the College Affordability and Transparency Center (CATC), a website that allows users to easily view the most and least expensive schools in the United States. According to CATC, what schools cost the most money?

View popular schools

By Eric Garneau

money

Who Gets Your Money?

CATC lets users generate lists of the top five percent and bottom ten percent of the country's most expensive schools, divided into categories based on whether a school is public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit, and 4-year, 2-year or less than 2-year in its time to completion. Here we've compiled the top five most expensive public and private, not-for-profit 4-year and 2-year schools - because of a smaller sample size on schools that take less than two years to complete, they've been omitted. At the bottom of each list of five is the national average for schools of that type, so you can see how far each school listed (as well as your own) deviates from the norm.

School costs are also broken down into two categories, by tuition and by net price. Net price is calculated by taking the total cost of a school's tuition, average room and board, fees, books and any additional supplies needed and then subtracting the average amount of federal, state, local and institutional financial aid and grants given to each student. Because of that equation, some schools can end up having a lower net cost than tuition, though for many the net cost remains higher.

Observations

There are a few general lessons we can draw from the schools listed below. First, it seems that institutions in the East - particularly in the Northeast, and particularly private schools - tend to cost the most money (notice New Hampshire almost has a lock on the most expensive 2-year schools by net price). If you live in that region or plan to attend school there, you may have to do some careful looking to find options within your price range.

Second, perhaps surprisingly, private schools seem to have about the same variance of price range as their public brethren. Going by tuition alone, the most expensive public 4-year school costs 2.25 times as much as the national average, while the most expensive private 4-year school comes in at 2.4 times the average. Additionally, 2-year schools can have an even greater variance than their 4-year counterparts - the top 2-year public school costs 4.13 times the national average! Regardless of if you go public or private, you may end up paying significantly more than you want or need to for an education.

Now, here are the United States' most expensive schools!

Public 4-Year Schools

By Tuition

  1. Pennsylvania State University Main Campus - $14,416
  2. University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus - $14,154
  3. University of Vermont - $13,554
  4. St. Mary's College of Maryland - $13,234
  5. New Jersey Institute of Technology - $12,856

National Average: $6,397

By Net Price

  1. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - $24,192
  2. University of Guam - $23,902
  3. St. Mary's College of Maryland - $21,468
  4. Rowan University (New Jersey) - $19,344
  5. Miami University Oxford (Ohio) - $19,305

National Average: $10,747

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Private, Not-For-Profit 4-Year Schools

By Tuition

  1. Bates College (Maine) - $51,300
  2. Connecticut College - $51,115
  3. Middlebury College (Vermont) - $50,780
  4. Union College (New York) - $50,439
  5. Colby College (Maine) - $50,320

National Average: $21,324

By Net Price

  1. Art Center College of Design (California) - $39,672
  2. The New School (New York) - $39,004
  3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago - $38,965
  4. The Boston Conservatory - $37,798
  5. California Institute of the Arts - $36,997

National Average: $19,009

Public 2-Year Schools

By Tuition

  1. University of Pittsburgh Titusville - $10,430
  2. Marion Military Institute (Alabama) - $8,570
  3. Somerset County Technology Institute (New Jersey) - $8,255
  4. Rolla Technical Institute (Missouri) - $7,039
  5. White Mountains Community College (New Hampshire) - $6,707

National Average: $2,527

By Net Price

  1. Florida Keys Community College - $23,515
  2. Great Bay Community College (New Hampshire) - $17,980
  3. Manchester Community College (New Hampshire) - $17,487
  4. Nashua Community College (New Hampshire) - $17,465
  5. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (Minnesota) - $16,681

National Average: $6,780

Private, Not-For-Profit 2-Year Schools

By Tuition

  1. Landmark College (Vermont) - $45,800
  2. American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York) - $27,500
  3. Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing (Massachusetts) - $25,422
  4. Marymount College (California) - $24,582
  5. Metropolitan Career Center Computer Technology Institute (Pennsylvania) - $24,144

National Average: $11,413

By Net Price

  1. New York Methodist Hospital Center for Allied Health Education - $35,160
  2. Landmark College (Vermont) - $34,873
  3. The Ailey School (New York) - $29,476
  4. Dallas Institute of Funeral Service - $28,012
  5. Holy Name Hospital School of Nursing (New Jersey) - $27,795

National Average: $14,906

Here are some exceptionally affordable schools for low-income students.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • Master of Public Health
    • MBA - Human Resources
    • MBA - Health Care Management
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • BSFIN in Accelerated MS Finance
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • AAS in Accounting
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
    • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
    • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
    • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
    • Master of Arts in Economics
    • Master of Public Administration and Policy
    • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
    • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Communication
    • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
    • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
    • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    • Master of Public Health
    • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
    • Online Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Accounting
    • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration - Finance
    • Master of Business Administration - Marketing

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?