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The U.S. Department of Education has released its second annual “hall of shame” list of the nation’s most expensive colleges and universities.

Congress ordered the Education Department to compile lists of the private and public institutions with the highest tuition in an attempt to embarrass the institutions to rein in runaway price increases. This week the department also released the names of the cheapest private and public institutions, as well as those with the largest tuition price hikes.

The most  relevant lists are those that rank schools based on their tuition net prices. That is, what is the cost of the tuition after average scholarships and grants are deducted. Most students in this country don’t pay a school’s full sticker price, so that net price is what is most relevant.

Top 10 most expensive private institutions

Rest of the top 25 most expensive colleges and universities

Watch out art and music majors

Based on net price, eight of the 10 most expensive institutions are art schools or music conservatories. Slightly over half of the priciest schools are located on the East Coast and another five are located in California.

The bottom line? When looking at schools, evaluate what the net price will be for your family. You can do that by using a net price calculator that every college and university must post on its website.

In my next post, I’ll share the top 25 most expensive public colleges and universities.

by: Lynn O’ Slaughnessy