The Most Expensive College In The Country Will Now Cost You $60K/Year But Has A So-So Return On Investment

If you’ve got a kid looking at colleges and they’re considering any of the 100 most expensive schools in the U.S., you will need to be prepared to dish out nearly a quarter of a million dollars, as all of them now cost over $50,000/year, with the most expensive institution crossing the $60,000/year mark.

According to the annual list from the folks at CampusGrotto.com, an education at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY, will run you $61,236 for the 2012-2013 school year. That price includes tuition, room and board, and any standard, required fees. This is the first time that a school’s annual cost has surpassed the $60,000 line.

This news comes hot on the heels of another list, which ranked 50 of the country’s most expensive schools in terms of graduates’ earning potential.

In that list, which looked at median salaries of grads from the classes of 1997 and 2009, Sarah Lawrence grads paid the most ($148,570 for a four-year degree in 2009; $81,000 for 1997 grads), but came in next to last in terms of income, earning significantly less than the average, with median salaries of $39,800 for the recent grads and $72,800 for those who have been out of school for 15 years.

Between the top and bottom of the CampusGrotto most expensive list, there isn’t much of a price difference, with only $4,211 separating Sarah Lawrence from #100 Case Western Reserve.

Given that student loan debt is at an all-time high, it’s incredibly important for prospective students to be aware of their earning potential before they sign away their lives just to have a fancy name on a diploma. And even those who can afford to attend college without loans should consider whether or not that money would be better invested in something other than a brand name.

Barring regulation, which seems unlikely, the only way tuitions will drop is through the force of the market recognizing that an expensive school does not guarantee either a good job or even a fun college experience.