The Most Expensive Colleges in the U.S.
Every year, millions of young adults leave their childhood behind and go off to college. They are told to graduate from high school, get into college and study for what will become a lifelong career. But what exactly does it cost to earn that education? In some cases, college can cost quite a bit. Let's take a look at the prices and the histories of 30 of the most expensive colleges in the United States.
Johns Hopkins University
Today, Johns Hopkins University is one of the most prestigious research universities in the United States. Its founder, Johns Hopkins was a philanthropist in the 19th century. When he died in 1873, $7 million from his estate went to fund a hospital and university to train affiliated professionals. According to the first president of Johns Hopkins University, the college was founded to encourage research for the advancement of science.
Duke University was founded in 1838. Located in North Carolina, Duke is one of the leading colleges for research, education and patient care. Their mission is to offer a superior education in liberal arts and prepare students for the rest of their lives.
Vassar has been voted as one of the best liberal arts colleges in America, but being among the best also means they can be selective with admissions. Founded in 1861, Vassar College is best known for its curricular innovation and achievements, their mission being to inspire each student to lead a life of purpose.
New York University
New York University has become one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Created in 1831, NYU now boasts the largest number of non-U.S. students in the nation — in fact, in 2018, 19% of students were not U.S. citizens.
Established in 1846, Bucknell was originally named the University at Lewisburg. It was renamed Bucknell University in 1886 to honor Mr. William Bucknell, who was a major benefactor of the school. Today, the private college is extremely selective and has a residential program, an undergraduate program and a small graduate program.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California opened in 1880 with only 10 teachers and 53 students. The surrounding city of Los Angeles was brand-new, there were no paved streets, no electricity or telephones, and no established fire system. Today, USC is one of the top research universities in the country, with thriving programs in technology, the arts and business.
Franklin and Marshall College
One of the older colleges on our list, Franklin and Marshall College was created in 1787. Originally known as Franklin College, it was named after Benjamin Franklin, who bestowed a generous monetary contribution to help fund the school. Today, the college is dedicated to liberal arts at the undergraduate level.
Another college started in the 1700s, Georgetown University was founded in 1789. It is one of the oldest Jesuit and Catholic universities in the United States. Today, the school focuses on giving students a top-notch liberal arts education as well as exposing them to different cultures and beliefs.
Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd is one of the babies on this list, age wise. Founded in 1955, after investor, Harvey Seely Mudd, the school is a liberal arts college that focuses on math, science and engineering. I know what you’re thinking; those aren’t liberal arts subjects. But Harvey Mudd College is a little different; while they spotlight those subjects, they also educate their students in the way their work impacts society and the world, looking at the bigger picture.
Columbia University is massive. It’s the largest landowner in NYC, following only the Catholic Church. Established in 1754, Columbia was originally called King’s College, and in 1896, went through a location and name change, officially becoming Columbia University. It is one of nine colleges to be created before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester
If you're set on studying music and can afford $55,000 for an education each year, then the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester is the place for you. This school was founded by the same guy that brought us Kodak, and students live and breathe music there. In fact, a T-shirt logo prominently featured at Eastman states "Eat, Sleep, Music."
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering was founded in 1997 with the goal of changing engineering education. The mission of the school is to teach students the technical innovations they need to solve the world's problems, and "to be an important and constant contributor to the advancement of engineering education in America and throughout the world."
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller, the oil industry tycoon considered to be the wealthiest American ever. The university is a research school, continuing to promote new ways of thinking. Innovative teaching methods and open discussions draw many students to the college, and its goal is to give birth to contemporary ideas that will change the world. Their motto translates to, "Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched."
In 1860, Bard College was originally established as St. Stephen’s College by John and Margaret Bard, along with the leaders of the New York City Episcopal Church. For its first six decades, Bard taught men a traditional curriculum in preparation for seminary.
Fordham University was started in 1841 by the Catholic Diocese of New York, and a Jesuit influence remains to this day. Located in the Bronx, Fordham has three main objectives: strive for excellence, fight for justice and care for others.
Brandeis University was named for Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. This medium-sized school is a research university dedicated to its mission of enabling groundbreaking discoveries. Students are encouraged to push boundaries and be curious.
Columbia University, School of General Studies
Interested in Columbia University but not necessarily in majoring in one of the sciences? The School of General Studies of Columbia University is a great option. It caters to students who want an Ivy League education in a nontraditional subject. It is lauded as one of the finest liberal arts schools in the nation.
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University was created by what is now called the United Methodist Church. Today, the school is one of the top colleges in the nation. It has been ranked among the best universities for internship opportunities. SMU strives to combine learning with hands-on experience that prepares students to reach their goals and aim higher.
In 1850, nine men got together to plan out a college to cater to what was then called the Northwest Territory. They had very little money, no land for the school and not much higher education themselves — all they had was their vision. By 1853 the group was able to make their dream a reality when they purchased a 379-acre piece of land just 12 miles north of Chicago. The first building was built in 1855, and Northwestern University opened its doors with just two teachers and 10 students.
Russell K. Pitzer, an orange grower and philanthropist, founded this school in 1963. Pitzer College started as a liberal arts institution that emphasized behavioral and social sciences. In fact, students are expected to partake in community service to this day. It was the second dedicated women's college in the United States.
Amherst is a nonprofit school that has been in existence for almost two centuries. The mission of the school is to prepare their students to use big ideas to make bigger differences in the world. The college has been a prime choice for higher education since the 19th century; President Calvin Coolidge attended in the 1890s.
From its beginning, Oberlin College has stood for social justice. Founded in 1833, Oberlin has always found something to fight for, starting with coeducation and abolition. More recently, the school took a stand against climate change. The justice-focused college has been called a "peculiar mix of scholarly ambition and stubborn moral idealism." In fact, Oberlin was the first school to award women undergraduate degrees, and was a pioneer in educating African American students.
Scripps College aims to "educate women to develop their intellects and talents through active participation in a community of scholars, so that as graduates they may contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity."
University of Pennsylvania
The oldest school on our list is also one of the oldest ones in America. The University of Pennsylvania dates back to the 1740s, when George Whitefield wanted to build a charity school in Philadelphia. Then Benjamin Franklin organized 24 of Philadelphia's leading citizens and philanthropists to form a higher educational institution.
Established in 1833 by Quakers, Haverford is well-known for its code of honor and intensive academics. Haverford believes that all students should be able to research and work directly with their ideas and the school’s available materials. Each student is expected to be an active participant in every class.
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna College is one of the leading liberal arts schools in the United States, and strives to prepare students for a future that "makes a difference." This school admits students not based on need, but based on their leadership qualities and accomplishments, resulting in a student body that is accomplished in areas beyond GPA.
Trinity College was founded in 1823 as an alternative to Yale. According to their website, Trinity College is where "liberal arts meets the real world." The school has over 2,000 undergraduate students — 50% of them are women, and 21% of them are people of color. Students hail from 41 U.S. states and 70 different countries.
Created in 1769, Dartmouth is a top Ivy League school with a rich history and some well-known alumni. One such student was Theodor Geisel, who helped write the college’s magazine. He was busted for drinking illegally, and had to change his pen name in order to continue writing for the school. The name he chose, Dr. Seuss, was the name he became known as.
Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence is a liberal arts college founded in 1926. It has long been ranked among the top liberal arts colleges. Students are challenged to think critically and apply their skills and knowledge. Classrooms are equipped with round tables to encourage deep discussions, and the school has outstanding performing arts and music facilities.
Barnard College was started in 1889 as a place to provide the same quality of education to women that was available to men. To this day, Barnard offers a rigorous curriculum that challenges young woman who exhibit curiosity and drive.