College costs, public and private, continue to rise

If you’re looking for a college education, plan to be in debt for a long, long time. The cost of schools is on the rise – again.

According to a study by Campus Grotto, an online magazine for college students, the price of tuition and fees has gone up wildly in the past few years alone. The magazine put together a list of the most expensive colleges in America, and reflected on the differences found when comparing the first such list, compiled only five years ago.

“While the names on the list haven’t changed much over the years, the numbers sure have,” says the magazine in introducing its report. “When we first started ranking colleges by cost back in 2007, only one school (GWU) had a total cost of over [$50 thousand], now 111 do. Back then not a single school had tuition over [$40 thousand] now 80 have passed that mark.”

Campus Grotto keeps a list for the cost of tuition, one for tuition and fees and another for all that plus the cost of housing.

In tuition and fees alone, the most expensive college is Middlebury College, at $45,935 per year. Sarah Lawrence comes in second, costing $44,220 yearly. Sarah Lawrence, however, comes in first place in the “most expensive college” category, with an overall cost of $59,170 yearly, or a whopping $236, 680 for four years, the minimum amount of time necessary for a Bachelors Degree.

Aside from the high prices, there are some surprises in the list. Harvard University, for example, considered the best university in the U.S., and one of the best in the world, came in at 82 in total cost, and 146 in tuition.

The public University of California Los Angeles, looking at out of state rates, came in 120th for total cost, and UC Berkley was in the 115th spot.

The list comes with a caveat: The list is based on “sticker price,” and many colleges and universities bring costs down through a mix of scholarships and need-based aid.

Still, says the magazine, “The price of higher education is getting ridiculous,” and notes that many students are transferring away from expensive private universities to local universities and taking advantage of in-state tuition.

But even public universities are not necessarily that cheap. While none charge anywhere near $50,000, some are quite expensive, often out of reach for middle-class students. The University of Pittsburgh-Main Campus, for example, costs $12,876 yearly and the University of Vermont costs students $12,054. In all, about 25 public schools cost more than $10,00 yearly, and, due to budget cuts, the price has continued to rise.

Photo: Campus of Sarah Lawrence, the nation’s most expensive university. Sean Fraga // CC 2.0