The academic community—and college grads sporting the alma mater sweatshirt—wait with bated breath for the annual university rankings. Will Williams or Amherst get the top liberal arts spot? Is this year’s top university Harvard or Princeton? There are a handful of highly regarded listmakers, and Forbes is particularly reputable. Their 2010 list is out, and the best U.S. institution of higher learning is: Williams College.
One List To Rule Them All
Forbes combines colleges and universities into one list, and Williams ranks just above Princeton University (#2), Amherst College (#3), the U.S. Military Academy (#4), and M.I.T (#5). Lauded for its low professor-to-student ratio and small population, the small liberal arts college in the Massachusetts Berkshires has consistently battled for top rankings over the past few years. We can’t claim surprise at this year’s results, as our fabulous intern Kaitlin—a tribute to the school’s reputation—is headed back in only a few weeks, and is already on the edge of her seat!
The Price Of Knowledge Is Steep
But attending such a distinguished institution of higher learning will cost you: to the tune of about $150,000. Believe it or not (and any parent who has paid for a college education will believe it), Williams isn’t the most expensive college out there. Big-name universities such as Stanford and Yale can exceed Williams’ tuition by another $2,000 or $3,000 per year. Not every family has to pay full tuition, room, and board—schools pride themselves on generous financial aid programs—but every parent should be prepared to shell out some serious cash.
It’s Never Too Early To Think About College
It may be hard to believe that your infant niece/daughter/sister will ever lug her duffel bag into a cramped freshman double, but the best defense against the astronomical prices of that double is a good offense. Stockpiling money for a young child’s future tuition in a 529 plan or high-yield savings account will allow a lot more freedom when it comes time to pick a college. One of the neat things about 529 plans is that anyone can contribute (attention, Aunt LearnVester!) to a child’s account, not just her parents. So come your favorite munchkin’s next birthday, forego the Silly Bands and give her parents a gift as well: a donation to her future education.
Current students and grads: What do you think of your own alma mater—price tag and all? Does it live up to the hype? Leave a comment and let us know!