The World's Most Expensive Universities

United States
No. 1: George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
Current annual tuition and fees: $39,240

It’s the most expensive four-year university in the United States--and most likely the world. Located just blocks from the White House and State Department, GW does have a front-row view of the nation’s power centers; it’s also about $3,300 more per year than cross-town rival Georgetown University, the next priciest school in Washington. GW officials point out that the school offers more need-based financial aid than any other university in the country.

United States
No. 2: Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio
Current annual tuition and fees: $38,140

With 176 faculty members and just 1,600 students, Kenyon has a faculty-to-student ratio of about nine to one, and class sizes are usually less than 15 people--so students get some bang for their buck. About 70% of Kenyon's students receive some type of financial assistance. Founded in 1824, this liberal arts school is the oldest private college or university in Ohio. Famous alums include U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, author E.L. Doctorow and actor Paul Newman.

United States
No. 3: Bucknell University
Lewisburg, Pa.
2007-2008 undergraduate tuition and fees: $38,134

With 3,400 undergraduates, Bucknell claims to be the nation's largest private liberal arts university. It offers 60 majors, and about 40% of recent graduating classes have studied abroad. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bucknell's tuition rose nearly 6% last year--about the same as other high-priced U.S. universities. Bucknell suggests that students budget about $50,000 per year for tuition, room and board and books.

United States
No. 4: Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
2007-2008 tuition and fees: $38,115

One of the "Seven Sisters" (historically all-women's liberal arts colleges in the Northeast), Vassar today is co-ed, highly selective and very expensive. With about 2,400 students, its student-faculty ratio is just nine to one. Nearly 100% of its student population lives on campus. Before graduating, Vassar students are required to be proficient in at least one foreign language. About 60% of its students receive need-based financial aid.

United States
No. 5: Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, N.Y.
2007-2008 tuition: $38,090

Nearly 1,400 undergrads--about 75% of them women--attend Sarah Lawrence College, just north of New York City. The student-faculty ratio is just 6:1. Good news for those who don't test well: Sarah Lawrence doesn't consider SAT scores in its admissions process. Financial aid is strictly need-based, with about 52% of the student population receiving some type of assistance. The average aid package: $28,720.

Quest University Canada
British Columbia, Canada
Current annual tuition: $24,000 CAD ($23,420 USD)

Located about an hour north of Vancouver, this private, non-denominational liberal arts college just opened in September 2007. Quest offers just one degree--a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences--and its 80 students take just one course at a time, in 18-day “blocks.” Private universities are relatively scarce in Canada. The most expensive public school is Acadia University in Nova Scotia, with an annual tuition of $8,062 CAD ($7,866 USD) for most Canadian students. (Residents of Nova Scotia get $500 off.)

Continental Europe
American University of Paris
Current annual tuition: 23,784 euros ($34,725 USD)

Most universities in Europe are heavily subsidized by national governments, with extraordinarily low tuition or none at all. A 2007 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that Italy had the highest average annual tuition fees--just $983 for public universities--among E.U. nations in 2003-2004, the most recent years surveyed. But the continent is speckled with private schools. One of the priciest is the American University of Paris, a 46-year-old liberal arts university that’s just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower.

United Kingdom
University of Buckingham
England, U.K.
Current annual tuition: 7,770 pounds ($15,195 USD) average

Student contributions toward tuition in the U.K. are capped at 3,070 pounds (about $6,000 USD)--but not for the University of Buckingham, the only fully private university in the country. Degree programs are condensed into two years, with the second year being slightly more expensive for British students. All told, a Buckingham education costs 15,500 pounds ($30,400 USD) for Brits, 27,000 pounds ($52,800) for international students.

Aoyama Gakuin University
Tokyo, Japan
Current annual tuition and fees: 1.25 million to 1.73 million yen ($11,700 to $16,100 USD)

Some of Japan’s best undergraduate programs are found at national universities, such as the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, which charge about 800,000 yen ($7,500) a year. Top-rated private universities, such as Waseda University and Keio University, charge more. Tuition fees vary based on major. One of the priciest is the collegiate arm of Aoyama Gakuin, a private educational institute founded in 1874 by Methodist Episcopal missionaries.

Bond University
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Current annual tuition and fees: $37,440 AUD ($32,900 USD)

The vast majority of Australian universities are publicly funded. One of the rare exceptions is also one of the most expensive: Bond University, a private, non-profit institution that opened its doors in 1989. Located in Australia ‘s booming Gold Coast region, Bond offers Aussie students small class sizes and an unusually diverse student body, about half of which is made up of foreign students.

Middle East
American University of Sharjah
United Arab Emirates
Current annual tuition and fees: 61,600 UAE dirhams ($16,770 USD)

Just as American universities are the world’s most expensive, private American-style universities in other parts of the world also charge top-dollar. One such is the American University of Sharjah, founded in 1997. It’s a sign of globalization in the Persian Gulf region. AUS has colleges of business, architecture, engineering and arts and sciences. All courses are taught in English, though the university says that it is “thoroughly grounded in Arab culture.”

Mexico/South America
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico
Current annual tuition and fees: 122,000 pesos ($11,210 USD)

Many publicly funded universities, such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico, charge only nominal fees. At the other end of the spectrum are a handful of prestigious private universities, such as Universidad Iberoamericana and Universidad Anáhuac. One of Mexico’s most respected--and expensive--universities is Tecnológico de Monterrey, a private university system founded in 1943 by Mexican businessmen.

Subscribe to receive free email updates: