The Most Expensive Colleges

The U.S. Department of Education this week unveiled what may be one of the Department’s few publications of real interest to the general public: its list of most expensive colleges in the country. As Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan puts it, “Its real purpose is to keep us up-to-date on who to make fun of.”

Well America will not be disappointed. Topping the list this year is the $51,300 a year Bates College. Next up is the $51,115 Connecticut College. That’s followed by Middlebury College, which costs $50,780 a year.

These East Coast liberal-arts schools are no surprise. Most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean most prestigious, however. The sixth most expensive college in America, for instance, is Sanford-Brown College, which costs $45,628 a year. That’s more expensive than Columbia.

You’ve never heard of Sanford-Brown? Well that’s because it’s a for-profit college that only dates from the 1970s. It specializes in things like allied health, cardiovascular sonography / technology, diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and radiography. One might hope that for $45,000 these are really good programs in magnetic resonance imaging or whatever.

Well, not really. According to testimony a Sanford-Brown graduate gave to Congress last year, the college is essentially a scam. In 2007 former students sued the company, alleging that Sanford-Brown “engaged in aggressive and misleading recruiting tactics and… the nature of its curriculum, training, and faculty.”

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer