America's 10 Most Expensive Colleges

Last Updated Oct 23, 2009 4:07 PM EDT

USC is the 34th most expensive college in the country.
When Bruce Grier, an associate director of admissions at the University of Southern California, spotted a headline on the Internet this week that promised to reveal America's most expensive colleges, he got worried.

"Oh boy," he thought to himself, "I hope we're not on the top 10 list!"

Grier was relieved to learn that the football power house, which charges $50,029 for tuition plus room and board, was ranked 34th. Sarah Lawrence College earned the dishonors for the priciest college in America by charging $54,410 for the current school year. And for that price, the liberal arts college in Bronxville, NY, doesn't even throw in the textbooks.

While talking to students at my son's high school today, Grier acknowledged that some parents would be "horrified" if their teenagers applied to USC because of it's published price tag. But Grier also emphasized what I've talked about many times on this college blog, a school's price tag is meaningless. Sixty percent of USC's students receive need-based financial aid and plenty of its rich kids have earned merit scholarships.

Grier didn't know until I told him that USC has a greater percentage of low-income students -- as measured by its number of federal Pell Grant recipients -- than any private school except Columbia University.

If you're curious about the identity of the nation's most expensive colleges, here are the top 10 colleges by price:
  1. Sarah Lawrence College $54,410
  2. New York University $51,991
  3. The George Washington University $51,730
  4. Bates College $51,300
  5. Skidmore College $51,196
  6. Johns Hopkins University $51,190
  7. Georgetown University $51,122
  8. Connecticut College $51,115
  9. Harvey Mudd College $51,037
  10. Vassar College $50,875
You can find the list of the 100 top colleges by cost at CampusGrotto.com.

University of Southern California image by Hot Rod Homepage. CC 2.0.

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