Top 10 Universities & Liberal Arts Colleges

U.S. News and World Reports releases its annual list of the nation’s best

Columbia University was fourth best on the list. (Photo: AP) Columbia University was fourth best on the list. (Photo: AP)

It’s that time of year: cool, crisp nights; tailgate parties; drunken football fans—and U.S News and World Report’s list of the best colleges and universities in these United States. And if your kid's got great SATs, help from related alumni and you've got more than $160,000 to pay for that four-year degree—no problem.

This year, annual tuition costs are helpfully positioned at the top (over $41,000 for Swarthmore, really?), giving credence to the argument put forth by PIMCO’s Bill Gross that college costs far outweigh intended return in post-graduation wages.  

“A mind is a precious thing to waste, so why are millions of America’s students wasting theirs by going to college?” Gross wrote in his monthly commentary in June. “All of us who have been there know an undergraduate education is primarily a four-year vacation interrupted by periodic bouts of cramming or Google plagiarizing, but at least it used to serve a purpose.”

He pointed to Peter Thiel, head of hedge fund Clarium Capital, who has established a foundation to give 20 grants worth $100,000 each to teenagers who pledge to drop out of school and become not just tech entrepreneurs but “world-changing visionaries.”

Don’t know if we’d recommend that route just yet, but here are the Top 10 national universities, as well as the Top 10 liberal art colleges, as rated by Morty Zuckerman’s crack staff.

Harvard UniversityThe Top 10 National Universities

1. Harvard University (left) (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $39,849

1. Princeton University (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $37,000

President George Bush at Yale commencement in 20013. Yale University

Tuition and Fees: $40,500

4. Columbia University

Tuition and Fees: $45,290

MIT5. California Institute of Technology (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $37,704

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (left) (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $40,732

Stanford University Library.5. Stanford (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $40,569

5. University of Chicago (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $42,783

A Penn graduate shows support for U2's Bono, who gave commencement speech.5. University of Pennsylvania (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $42,098

10. Duke University

Tuition and Fees: $41,958

college gradsThe Top 10 National Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Williams College

Tuition and Fees: $43,190

2. Amherst College

Tuition and Fees: $42,898

3. Swarthmore College

Tuition and Fees: $41,150

4. Pomona College

Tuition and Fees: $39,883

5. Middlebury College

Tuition and Fees: $53,800

college hats tossed6. Bowdoin College (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $42,816

6. Carleton College (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $42,942

6. Wellesley College (tie)

Tuition and Fees: $40,660

9. Claremont McKenna College

Tuition and Fees: $42,240

10. Haverford College

Tuition and Fees: $42,208

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Top 10 lists from AdvisorOne:

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