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MIT is most expensive

By Brian Rosenberg

MIT is now the most expensive college in the country, replacing Bennington College in Vermont, according to a recent College Board report. MIT's total expenses this year come to just under $23,000, the report states.

MIT's rise to the top comes as tuition and fees nationwide increased an average of five to eight percent from last year. According to statistics provided by the Financial Aid Office, MIT's total costs rose 6.9 percent, while the average cost of attending a four-year private college went up eight percent to $13,544.

Bonny S. Kellerman '72, associate director of admissions, said she did not think last year's increase was particularly large. "I was surprised when I heard we had jumped to the top," she said.

Vice President for Financial Operations James J. Culliton felt the College Board's report did not reflect a drastic difference between MIT's tuition and that of other schools. "[Our cost is] comparable to other schools, especially considering that the New England region has a higher cost of living than other areas," he said.

The College Board's College Cost Book gives MIT's total cost as $22,945. This figure differs by $345 from the $22,600 that the Financial Aid Office gives as its estimate of total costs. The difference stems from the College Board's inclusion of a $450 transportation expense, which the FAO does not use in its estimate.

Differences in estimates of the costs of books, supplies, and other items bring the $450 discrepancy between estimates down to $345. Two of the board's other estimates are lower than MIT estimates. The board's figure of $535 for books and materials is $40 less than the FAO's $575, and the $1260 the Board estimates for personal expenses is $65 short of the $1325 budgeted by the FAO.

That $345 substantially affects MIT's rank among the most expensive colleges. An annual cost of $22,600 would drop the Institute down to fourth, moving behind Yale University ($22,900), New York University ($22,775), and Brandeis University ($22,690).

The rest of the top 10, in order, includes Bennington College, Harvard and Radcliffe, Boston University, Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, and Stanford University. Each of these schools costs more than $22,000.

Stanley G. Hudson, associate director of the Financial Aid Office felt the numbers were misleading. "What you're getting is basically the sticker price, which very few people actually pay," he said. "It disturbs me that so little information is published on the amount of financial aid available to students." Hudson noted 56 percent of MIT students receive some financial aid.

Culliton said that MIT's higher cost includes fees other colleges omit. "Other schools often rely on outside fees [such as lab

fees], while our figures are all-inclusive," he said.

Hudson said that the numbers the board publishes are estimates, and may differ from actual costs. "The survey is passed out in December and January, and most schools don't have their budgets nailed down yet," he said. "If you looked at the actual budgets, they'd be similar, but the numbers wouldn't be the same."

The administration will likely take up the issue of rising costs at MIT with the FAO, Culliton said. Tuition alone is $15,600 this year.

This is the first year MIT has been ranked the most expensive school since the 1984-85 school year. Bennington College has been in first place since then.