WU not among 25 most expensive colleges

| Staff Reporter

Despite its rising costs—and to the surprise of many students—Washington University was not included in Consumerist.com’s recent list of the top 25 most expensive colleges for the 2008-09 school year.

Junior Vipul Borkar, an international student from New Zealand, was shocked to learn that the University was not in the top five.

“That is really shocking. I would’ve thought Wash. U. would at least be in the top 10,” Borkar said. “I guess outside the United States you do not really hear too much about schools that are even smaller than Wash. U. The tuition here is a burden enough.”

According to the list, Wash. U. ranked in the top 50, as the 46th most expensive college, at a total cost of $47,836 per year.

The rankings are based on the total annual tuition and room and board costs of the schools, the data for which was compiled by CampusGrotto.com.

Most of the colleges on the list are private liberal arts institutions with low student-to-teacher ratios. The top five colleges on the list were Sarah Lawrence College at $53,166, George Washington University at $50,182, Georgetown University at $49,689 and Connecticut College at $49,385.

Although U.S. wages have been flatlining since 2000, according to CampusGrotto, college tuition has increased by more than three times the rate of inflation for the last 20 years.

In addition, the College Board reports that the average tuition at a private four-year college has grown by 6.6 percent each year, and the average cost of tuition for all four-year private institutions sits at $23,718.

If ranked by tuition only, the top five most expensive tuitions are those at private liberal arts colleges. Bates College ranks first at $43,950 a year, while Washington University ranks 67th at $36,200.

Many University students said they were unaware of the high tuitions of many of the liberal arts colleges and were surprised at the University’s relatively low place on the list. The high cost of many private schools, however, has not stopped parents from sending their children to these institutions.

“There isn’t much of a difference between Sarah Lawrence or Wash. U.,” senior Jonathan King said. “There’s a difference of only five grand. As far as I am concerned, any college that exceeds $40,000 is pretty much in the top 10. You only get what you pay for.”

According to the U.S. News and World Report Best College Rankings, the top 20 national universities are all private institutions. Wash. U. sits at number 12, while the University of California-Berkeley, the lone public institution that consistently flirts with the top 20, sits at number 21.

Nonetheless, tuition nowadays comprises only slightly more than 50 percent of the total cost of attendance at the average private institution. When room and board expenses are added to the tuition, the total bill comes close to or even exceeds $50,000 a year, according to MSNBC.