Attending UC Berkeley for $50,649

I’m not surprised by much that I read about the higher-ed world, but even I was amazed at how quickly private colleges are blowing by the $50,000 price tag.

After crunching College Board data, The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a list of the nation’s 100 top colleges by price, which all cost at least $50,000. Two years ago, only five schools made this list of dubious distinction. As I mentioned in a recent post for my other college blog over at CBSMoneyWatch, some of the most expensive schools are already gunning for the $60,000 mark.

UC Berkeley Made the List

The nation’s 100 most expensive schools are private except for the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley is now charging $50,649 for tuition, fees and room and board for its out-of-state students, which makes it only $75 cheaper than Harvard. In contrast, Californians who attend UC Berkeley pay $27,770. Due to its financial crisis, Cal Berkeley is accepting more kids from elsewhere in the country and world. If I remember correctly, 20% of Cal’s latest freshmen class are outsiders.

Frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend over $50,000 for an undergraduate degree at a state university that’s struggling financially. But as a Californian, I’m glad that there are wealthy families, who are eager to ship their kids off to schools with great brand names. These parents can help our troubled flagship with what it needs most — cold cash.

You can find the names of the 100 most expensive colleges with $50,000+ price tags on The Chronicle’s website. For those who are curious, UC Berkeley is ranked as the 83rd most expensive school for the outsiders.

25 Most Expensives Colleges

  1. Sarah Lawrence College…………………….$57,384
  2. Landmark College…………………………….$56,500
  3. Columbia U. School of Gen. Studies……$54,782
  4. Wesleyan University…………………………$53,976
  5. Columbia University…………………………$53,874
  6. Johns Hopkins University………………….$53,690
  7. Georgetown University……………………..$53,591
  8. New York University…………………………$53,589
  9. Harvey Mudd College……………………….$53,588
  10. Barnard College……………………………….$53,496
  11. Bard College……………………………………$53,480
  12. Trinity College…………………………………$53,330
  13. Washington University, St. Louis……….$53,315
  14. Bates College……………………………………$53,300
  15. University of Chicago……………………….$53,244
  16. Claremont McKenna College………………$53,230
  17. Connecticut College…………………………..$53,110
  18. Fordham University…………………………$53,093
  19. Vassar College………………………………….$53,090
  20. Pitzer College…………………………………..$53,080
  21. George Washington University……………$53,025
  22. Vanderbilt University…………………………$53,000
  23. Haverford College………………………………$52,970
  24. Stevens Inst. of Technology…………………$52,965
  25. Babson College…………………………………..$52,916

If you’re wondering why we should care if elite schools charge obscene amounts of money when most kids don’t attend these schools, I explain why here: Why America’s Most Expensive Colleges Could Hurt Your Wallet

Further reading:

UC Admissions: 7 Facts You Need to Know

UC and Cal State Crisis Prompts Students to Look Elsewhere

The Shrinking Odds of Getting Into Berkeley

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and She also writes a college blog for  CBSMoneyWatch and US News. Follow her on Twitter.

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4 Responses to Attending UC Berkeley for $50,649

  1. rowan April 29, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    as an out of stater who can’t attend due to the price, let’s just say this isn’t a good development in terms of empowering the next generation through education and ushering in an age of greater equality. .instead, the reality of the income gap is harsher than ever

  2. Milan Moravec July 31, 2011 at 4:00 am #

    Like any addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward correcting it. University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom.

    Recruits (using California tax $) out of state, foreign $50,000 tuition students who displace qualified sons, daughters of Californians from public university
    education.
    Spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his & vice chancellors work
    (prominent East Coast University accomplishing same 0 cost).
    University accrues $150 million of inefficiencies over his 8 year reign.
    Pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures.
    In procuring $3,000,000 consultants failed to receive proposals from other firms.
    Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010.
    Ranking : QS academic falls below top ten
    Tuition to Return on Investment drops below top10.
    NCAA places basketball program on probation: absence institutional control.

    These are not isolated examples: it’s all shameful. There is no justification for such irregularities by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.

    Birgeneau’s practices will not change. University of California Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing must do a better job of vigorously enforcing oversight by President Yudof than has been done in the past to Birgeneau who treat the university as his fiefdom.

    Until demonstrable action is swiftly applied to chancellors by the UC Board of Regents/President Yudof, the University of California shouldn’t come to the Governor or public for support for any taxes, additional funding.

    I have 35 years’ consulting experience; have taught at UC Berkeley, where I observed the culture & the way senior management works. No, I was not fired or downsized & have not solicited contracts from Cal.

  3. Patricia November 7, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    I’m not sure what to do about it but colleges with huge endowments should go the to hall of shame. Even for families that qualify for need based aid, there is no way to finance even 80k without borrowing and the unsubsidized loans are a national disgrace. We are trying not to use up our home equity, but neither do I want to send my son to a state school when our state is in a financial mess.
    What do you recommend?

  4. Transparency November 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Looking for examples on why UC Berkeley is one of the most expensive universities? It’s not the salaries of staff. It is not the salaries of faculty. Details follow…When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

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