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Government ranks college costs, provides price data


Private four-year colleges

1. Bates, Maine $51,300*

2. Connecticut, Conn. $51,115*

3. Middlebury, Vt. $50,780*

4. Union, N.Y., $50,439*

5. Colby, Maine $50,320*

6. Sarah Lawrence N.Y. $41,968

7. Vassar, N.Y. $41,930

8. George Washington University, D.C. $41,655

9. Columbia U., N.Y. $41,316

10. Kenyon, Ohio, $40,980

National average $21,324

*Fee includes room and board.

Updated: July 21, 2011 9:01AM

You can find out which colleges are the most and least expensive using a new tool from the federal government. The College Affordability and Transparency Center ranks colleges nationally based on cost.

You select the type of institution — 4-year or 2-year, public or private, for profit or not-for-profit — and the site,, ranks all the colleges within those categories by highest or lowest tuition. Colleges can also be ranked by highest or lowest “net price,” which averages the total cost — tuition, books, room and board minus the average amount of financial aid provided to students.

For more in-depth information, there’s College Navigator, a tool on the National Center for Education Statistics website. College Navigator helps you search for American colleges by location, degree level offered, majors offered and type of institution. The program even lets users search for colleges within a certain number of miles from a specific zip code.

The database contains information on every college in the country, public and private. Information provided includes the teacher-to-student ratio, average tuition for in-state and out-of-state students, average cost of room and board, types of financial aid provided, average SAT and ACT scores of accepted students, retention rates, and number of arrests on campus.

Some of the information is updated through only 2009, but the average tuition cost provided for most schools is current through spring 2011. College Navigator said the information was gathered from the schools themselves. The tuition figure adds base tuition to average fees.

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