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Most Expensive US College Now Tops $60K a Year

Most Expensive US College Now Tops $60K a Year

For the first time ever, an American college has passed the $60,000 mark in total cost for a single year.

Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, N.Y., costs $61,236 a year for tuition, room and board, and fees, according to Campus Grotto, a website that covers a range of college issues including costs.

College costs began to rise at a rate faster than inflation in the early 1990s, and this year 74 colleges charge more than $55,000 a year — up from just 19 last year.

The default rate on federal student loans is at 13.4 percent for the first three years that students are required to make payments, and student debt now tops $1 trillion.

“Between costs approaching $60,000 a year, an increase in student loan defaults, and over $1 trillion in student loan debt, it’s clear that the current model of raising tuition every year (at a rate higher than inflation) is unsustainable,” Campus Grotto observes.

High college costs impact taxpayers as well. In its fiscal 2013 budget request, the Department of Education said the federal government in fiscal 2012 would provide $217 billion in grants, loans and work-study assistance for college students.

In terms of tuition and fees, Columbia University in New York City is the most expensive college as of September 2012, at $47,246 a year, ahead of Sarah Lawrence ($46,924) and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. ($46,270).

But factoring in room and board, Sarah Lawrence is tops, followed by New York University ($59,837), Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. ($58,913), Columbia University ($58,742), and Wesleyan University in Macon, Ga. ($58,202).

Those figures do not include books, supplies and personal expenses.

Rounding out the top 10, with total costs for tuition, room and board, and fees of at least $57,580 a year, are Claremont McKenna College, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, University of Chicago, and Bard College.

Among Ivy League schools, Yale University costs $55,300 and Harvard College costs $54,496.

One high-priced private school has opted to freeze tuition, room and board for the second year in a row. Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s school in South Hadley, Mass., will remain at $53,596 this year — $41,270 for tuition, $12,140 for room and board, and $186 for fees.

The price freeze dropped Mount Holyoke from 61st on the most expensive list all the way to No. 94.

Campus Grotto said: “It will be interesting if we see more of these tuition freezes in the coming years.”

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