graduation caps during commencement

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It’s one of the age-old debates of higher education — should you go to a public or private college? While there are plenty of pros and cons for each choice, perhaps the most integral factor in making the decision is simple: money.

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 Private universities tend to have more funding, thanks in large part to donations and higher tuition prices. The most renowned private schools typically receive the biggest financial contributions and, unfortunately for their students, have the highest tuition fees.

But which private schools make the biggest dent in students’ savings accounts?

Using data from the 2014-2015 school year provided by the U.S. Department of Education, StartClass identified the 25 most expensive private colleges in the country, based on the cost of tuition for full-time undergraduate students.

George Washington University was the only D.C.-area school to make the list at No. 8.

Also included below — each school’s Smart Rating — a comprehensive score that evaluates each college on a scale of 0-100 in order to rate the overall quality. The Smart Rating is determined based on the following factors: financial affordability, career readiness, admissions selectivity, expert opinion and academic excellence.

#25. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location: Troy, NY

Smart Rating: 96

2014-2015 Tuition: $47,908

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,452

#24. Hampshire College

Location: Amherst, MA

Smart Rating: 80

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,065

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,492

#23. Dartmouth College

Location: Hanover, NH

Smart Rating: 97

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,108

Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,276

#22. Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, NY

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,175

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,890

#21. Bard College

Location: Annandale-On-Hudson, NY

Smart Rating: 85

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,240

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,014

#20. Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, CT

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,272

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,906

#19. University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Smart Rating: 96

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,280

Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,445

#18. Tulane University of Louisiana

Location: New Orleans, LA

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,305

Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,290

#17. Williams College

Location: Williamstown, MA

Smart Rating: 97

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,310

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,096

#16. Union College

Location: Schenectady, NY

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,384

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,246

#15. Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, PA

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,498

Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,532

#14. Franklin and Marshall College

Location: Lancaster, PA

Smart Rating: 90

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,514

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,297

#13. Amherst College

Location: Amherst, MA

Smart Rating: 97

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,526

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,785

#12. Bard College at Simon’s Rock

Location: Great Barrington, MA

Smart Rating: 79

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,551

Undergraduate Enrollment: 350

#11. Harvey Mudd College

Location: Claremont, CA

Smart Rating: 96

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,594

Undergraduate Enrollment: 807

#10. Tufts University

Location: Medford, MA

Smart Rating: 97

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,643

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,180

#9. Oberlin College

Location: Oberlin, OH

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,682

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,894

New George Washington University Research Center

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

 

#8. George Washington University

Location: Washington, DC

Smart Rating: 95

2014-2015 Tuition: $48,760

Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,357

#7. Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Smart Rating: 97

2014-2015 Tuition: $49,022

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,917

#6. Trinity College

Location: Hartford, CT

Smart Rating: 94

2014-2015 Tuition: $49,056

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,301

#5. University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Smart Rating: 98

2014-2015 Tuition: $49,380

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,703

#4. Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY

Smart Rating: 96

2014-2015 Tuition: $49,570

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,477

#3. Landmark College

Location: Putney, VT

Smart Rating: 65

2014-2015 Tuition: $50,080

Undergraduate Enrollment: 494

#2. Sarah Lawrence College

Location: Bronxville, NY

Smart Rating: 89

2014-2015 Tuition: $50,780

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,471

#1. Columbia University in the City of New York

Location: New York, NY

Smart Rating: 98

2014-2015 Tuition: $51,008

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,970

source:  WTOP.com

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