10 most, least expensive private colleges

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The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.

While most private colleges carry a higher sticker price than many public schools, that cost can vary.

On average, tuition and fees at private colleges cost $33,635 in the 2016-2017 school year – more than a 3 percent increase compared with last year's average, according to data reported to U.S. News by 725 ranked private schools in an annual survey.

SEE ALSO: Explore how private colleges are increasing tuition discounts

Students paying full price at New York's Columbia University pay the most of any private school, forking over $55,056 in tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year. Columbia wasn't included in the list of most expensive private schools last year because it didn't provide these cost figures to U.S. News.

The University of Chicago, the sixth most expensive private college, also wasn't among the 10 most expensive private colleges last year. The school raised its tuition by nearly 5 percent from $50,193 in 2015-2016 to $52,491 in 2016-2017.

The cost of attending one of the top 10 priciest private schools in 2016-2017, on average, amounts to $52,828 in tuition and fees for those who pay at the full rate.

RELATED: US News top colleges rankings for 2016-2017

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US News best colleges rankings: 2017

20 (tie). Emory University, Georgia 

Undergraduates: 6,867
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $47,954

(Photo via Shutterstock)

20 (tie). Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Undergraduates: 7,562
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $50,547

(Photo via Shutterstock)

20 (tie). University of California -- Berkeley 

Undergraduates: 27,496
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $13,509 (in-state); 40,191 (out-of-state)

(Photo via Getty Images)

19. Washington University in St. Louis

Undergraduates: 7,504
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $49,770

(Photo via Shutterstock)

15 (tie). Cornell University, New York

Undergraduates: 14,315
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $50,953

(Photo via Getty Images)

15 (tie). Rice University, Texas

Undergraduates: 3,910
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $43,918

(Photo via Getty Images)

15 (tie). University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Undergraduates: 8,462
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $49,685

(Photo via Getty Images)

15 (tie). Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

Total undergraduate enrollment: 6,883
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $45,610

(Photo via Shutterstock)

14. Brown University, Rhode Island

Undergraduates: 6,652
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $51,367

(Photo via Getty Images)

12 (tie). California Institute of Technology

Undergraduates: 1,001
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $47,577

(Photo via Getty Images)

12 (tie). Northwestern University, Illinois

Undergraduates: 8,314
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $50,855

(Photo via Getty Images)

11. Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

Undergraduates: 4,307
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $51,438

(Photo via Getty Images)

10. Johns Hopkins University, Maryland

Undergraduates: 6,524
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $50,410

(Photo by Danita Delimont via Getty Images)

8 (tie). University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduates: 9,726
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $51,464

(Photo by Jia He via Getty Images)

8 (tie). Duke University, North Carolina

Undergraduates: 6,639
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $51,265

(Photo by Lance King via Getty Images)

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Undergraduates: 4,527
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $48,452

(Photo by Wangkun Jia via Getty Images)

5 (tie). Stanford University, California

Undergraduates: 6,999
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $47,940

(Photo by Nancy Nehring via Getty Images)

5 (tie). Columbia University, New York

Undergraduates: 6,102
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $55,056

(Photo via Shutterstock)

3 (tie). Yale University, Connecticut

Undergraduates: 5,532
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $49,480

(Photo via Shutterstock)

3 (tie). University of Chicago

Undergraduates: 5,844
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $52,491

(Photo by Nisian Hughes via Getty Images)

2. Harvard University, Massachusetts

Undergraduates: 6,699
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $47,074

(Photo via Shutterstock)

1. Princeton University, New Jersey

Undergraduates: 5,402
Tuition and fees (2016-2017): $45,320

(Photo via Getty Images)

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On the other end of the spectrum, the 10 least expensive private colleges in 2016-2017 charge an average of $10,624 in tuition and fees.

SEE ALSO: See which colleges offer the best value

Brigham Young University—Provo carries the lowest price tag among private colleges and universities that reported tuition and fees data to U.S. News. The Utah school, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, charges Mormon undergraduates $5,300 in tuition and fees for 2016-2017. Non-Mormon students pay double that amount – shelling out $10,500 for this academic year, which is still relatively inexpensive compared with the sticker prices at most private schools.

But not all schools charge tuition. A small number of tuition-free schools, not included on this list, waive tuition.

Berea College in Kentucky, for example, offers all of its students a tuition scholarship; but these students are charged $570 in fees for the 2016-2017 school year.

SEE ALSO: Learn more about tuition-free colleges

Alice Lloyd College, also in Kentucky, waives tuition for its students who are from a Central Appalachian state – Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. But it is included in the list, as students outside the region pay $11,550 in tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year.

The tables below show the schools that charge the most and least tuition and fees in 2016-2017. Among the least expensive private colleges, the majority are in a southern state, such as Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana, and half are in the bottom one-fourth of their ranking category.

Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Most Expensive Schools

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Top 10 most expensive colleges (2016-2017)
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Top 10 most expensive colleges (2016-2017)

University of Southern California, $52,217

(Geri Lavrov via Getty Images)

Franklin and Marshall College, $52,290

(Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Tufts University, $52,430

(Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Amherst College, $52,476

(Bob Krist via Getty Images)

University of Chicago, $52,491

(blanscape via Getty Images)

Sarah Lawrence College, $52,550

(Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Trinity College, $52,760

(Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Harvey Mudd College, $52,916

 (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

Vassar College, $53,090

Columbia University, $55,056

(tupungato via Getty Images)

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Least Expensive Schools

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Top 10 least expensive colleges (2016-2017)
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Top 10 least expensive colleges (2016-2017)

10. Park University, Missouri - $12,130

(Photo via Wikipedia)

9. Jarvis Christian College, Texas - $11,720

(Photo via Facebook)

8. William Carey University, Mississippi - $11,700

(Photo via Wikipedia)

7. Our Lady of Holy Cross, Louisiana - $11,632

(Photo via Wikipedia)

6. Alice Lloyd College, Kentucky - $11,550

(Photo via Wikipedia)

5. Blue Mountain College, Mississippi - $11,212

(Photo via Facebook)

4. LeMoyne-Owen College, Tennessee - $10,900

(AP Photo/Greg Campbell)

3. Tougaloo College, Mississippi - $10,600

(AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

2. Rust College, Mississippi - $9,500

1. Brigham Young University-Provo, Utah - $5,300

(Photo by Denis Jr. Tangney via Getty Images)

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*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don't see your school on the list? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find data on tuition and fees, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2016 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The tuition and fees data above are correct as of Sept. 13, 2016.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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