The Nation's 25 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities

Last Updated Jun 30, 2011 4:03 PM EDT

In hopes of shaming colleges into putting the brakes on their spiraling prices, the U.S. Department of Penn StateEducation today released its lists of the nation's most expensive colleges and universities.

I didn't see any surprises on the list of the most expensive four-year private schools, which contained the usual elite schools. Sarah Lawrence College, a perennial winner in the most expensive college contest, bagged first place. Tuition for this liberal arts college was listed at $41,968. Actually it's higher now since the federal government used 2009-2010 figures to compiles its lists.

Most Expensive State Universities

On the list of the most expensive state colleges, public universities in Pennyslvania crushed the competition. Penn State, Pennsylvania's flagship, ranked No. 1 with a tuition of $14,416. The second most expensive state school was the University of Pittsburgh ($14,154 tuition) while 19 satellite Penn State campuses made the list of the 30 most expensive state schools. Aren't you glad you don't live in Pennsylvania?

25 Most Expensive Private Colleges

  1. Sarah Lawrence College $41,968
  2. Vassar College $41,930
  3. George Washington U. $41,655
  4. Columbia University $41,316
  5. Kenyon College $40,980
  6. Colgate University $40,970
  7. Carnegie Mellon U. $40,920
  8. Trinity College $40,840
  9. Bucknell University $40,816
  10. Tulane University $40,584
  11. Skidmore College $40,420
  12. St John's College $40,396
  13. St John's College $40,392
  14. Tufts University $40,342
  15. Hobart William Smith Colleges $40,235
  16. Bard College at Simon's Rock $40,165
  17. Dickinson College $40,114
  18. Wesleyan University $40,092
  19. Bowdoin College $40,020
  20. University of Richmond $40,010
  21. Oberlin College $40,004
  22. Franklin & Marshall College $39,980
  23. Hampshire College $39,912
  24. Bard College $39,880
  25. Wheaton College MA $39,850

Will College Prices Continue Rising Faster Than Inflation?

Will releasing the names of the nation's most expensive schools slow down the pace of rising prices? I doubt it.

State schools will continue to raise prices because they are getting squeezed by their state governments. Meanwhile, private schools, such as Sarah Lawrence, justify their prices by insisting that their financial aid packages compensate for mind-boggling prices. Here's what I wrote about that argument in a post last year:

Bottom Line:

Don't hold your breath for lower college prices. I just don't see it happening.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.

Read More on CBS MoneyWatch:

Why America's Most Expensive Colleges Could Hurt Your Wallet
Where Professors Send Their Children to College
25 Private Colleges With the Best Graduation Rates
Here's the Nation's Easiest College Major
Penn State image by shidairyproduct. CC 2.0.

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