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Your Money > College
Most expensive colleges
As education costs increase across the U.S., the priciest institutions get even pricier.
November 5, 2003: 2:10 PM EST
By Gordon T. Anderson, CNN/Money contributing writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Even by the standards of normal educational sticker shock, this year's tuition bill was a doozy.

In October, the College Board announced that the cost of attending a public college or university rose by 9.8 percent, the largest annual increase in 30 years. Private schools were just a bit more restrained, with total costs rising 6.7 percent.

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With the average university price tag rising far faster than inflation, tuition and fees at the most expensive schools pushed higher, too. Such institutions showed relatively little price restraint, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the premier trade publication covering the business of colleges and universities.

The publication recently surveyed tuition prices -- just tuition, not including room, board, and the various student fees that bump college costs even higher -- across the nation and came up with a list of the 10 most expensive schools in the land. Most of those identified are small, elite liberal arts colleges in the Northeast.

Priciest diplomas
With tuition bills rising all across the country, here's a list of the most expensive tuitions, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The prices do not include other costs, such as room and board or activity fees.
Institution Location Tuition Increase 
Landmark College Putney, Vermont $35,300 2.9% 
Sarah Lawrence College Bronxville, N.Y. $30,824 5.0% 
Kenyon College Gambier, Ohio $30,330 5.6% 
Trinity College Hartford, Conn. $30,230 5.7% 
Hamilton College Clinton, N.Y. $30,200 5.0% 
Bowdoin College Brunswick, Maine $30,120 5.0% 
Brown University Providence, R.I. $30,078 5.6% 
Wesleyan University Middletown, Conn. $29,998 5.9% 
Colgate University Hamilton, N.Y. $29,940 5.6% 
Brandeis University Waltham, Mass. $29,875 6.1% 
 Source:  Chronicle of Higher Education

A few are relatively young. The priciest, Landmark, was founded in 1983 and targets smart kids who have learning disabilities. Brandeis, founded in 1948, is a more traditional research university with lofty (read: expensive) academic ambitions.

With the cost of providing higher education rising, many larger, elite universities have used fat endowments as a buffer. That's not possible with some of the schools on this list.

Sarah Lawrence's tiny endowment, for example, works out to about $33,000 per student. Rivals Williams and Swarthmore boast coffers about 20 times larger.

With more limited sources of financial support, tuition tends to make up a relatively greater part of the budgets at schools. Up in Maine, about 50 percent of Bowdoin's annual revenue comes from tuition. Less than one-third of well-endowed Harvard's money, in contrast, comes from tuition.  Top of page

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