This post about tuition prices at two- and four-year colleges and universities on Gawker caught my eye yesterday. Of course, Gawker had some fun with it, skewering the New England liberal arts colleges that top the list for private four-year institutions. I mean, who doesn't like a good Middlebury joke, right?
The website hosting the data is run by the U.S. Department of Education College and Affordability Transparency Center and allows you to search via school type (two-year, four-year, public, private, etc.) and provides raw tuition and net tuition (i.e. including financial aid) data. Oddly, there does not seem to be an easy way to generate state-by-state lists ranking schools by tuition prices. Surely, that would be a popular feature for parents and students looking to get the most bang for their buck. Anyway, the website can be accessed here.
The top 25 private four-year college list might have leaned heavily on the New England "little ivies" but it also contains one local institution of higher learning—and no, surprisingly, it's not Hopkins. It's actually Annapolis's St. John's College, which came in at number 19 with a yearly comprehensive tuition (aka room and board included) of $40,392. St. John's, which has a curriculum requiring students to read the great books of the western canon, actually operates two campuses—its historic Annapolis campus and a Santa Fe, New Mexico, branch. Curiously, the Santa Fe campus costs $4 more per year to attend, making it the 18th most expensive private four-year school in the nation. So, Annapolis students (or, more specifically, their parents) can take comfort knowing they're saving almost enough to buy an extra gallon of gas compared to their New Mexican brethren.
Hopkins didn't make the top 25, but it did make the top 50, coming in at number 42 with a annual raw tuition of $39,150. For comparison's sake, the national average price for a year at a private not-for-profit, 4-year school was $21,324.
It's worth noting however, that once average financial aid and scholarship awards are factored in, neither Hopkins nor St. John's are among the country's most expensive schools. You know who is though? Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), which appears at 24 on the list ($32,712) of most expensive private, four-year nonprofit colleges sorted by net tuition.
As for public institutions, St. Mary's College is the nation's fourth most expensive public four-year school with a raw annual tuition of $13,234. When you factor in room and board, but also financial aid and scholarship monies, St. Mary's actually moves up a spot to third with net tuition bill of $21,468. The University of Maryland-University College also makes the list at number 14 with a yearly tuition of $17,626.