Paying for College

America's Most Expensive Colleges 2010

Here we go again. It's head-explosion time. Just when you thought higher education couldn't get any more costly, here comes Forbes' latest report on how to spend more on a year of college than you may make in one year. (Cautionary note: Many families don't pay full "sticker price" for college, but some still do.) In my opinion, this whole cost issue raises the specter of "prestige" once again. Lots of folks equate price with quality. You know, the old "If it costs more, it's gotta be better" school of thought. Of course, this should lead one to explore the annual "best buys in higher education" types of surveys, some of which we have discussed here. However, the focus of my post today is the schools that cost the most.

If you follow Admit This!, you'll have seen my comments on how the rise in college costs has far exceeded America's inflation rate across the decades. Similar to complaining about rising medical costs, there's really not a whole lot we can do about it, except exert our power as consumers. The problem with this approach is that the most expensive schools in this country have absolutely no problem filling their freshman classes year after year and many of them have waiting lists hundreds deep, just for good measure. There's always someone willing to pay. Market forces can be a two-edged sword and it looks like there's little hope of slashing higher education costs, at least in the near future.

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