Harvey Mudd, Claremont and USC Make List of Nation's Most Expensive Colleges

Harvey Mudd College, Claremont McKenna College and USC are some of the priciest schools in the nation, according to a survey put together by Campus Grotto.

According to the ranking, more than 20 schools in the nation cost more than $55,000 for the 2011-12 school year when you tally tuition, fees, room and board. New York's Sarah Lawrence topped the list and almost hit the $60K mark with a total sticker price of $59,170.

Most of the schools on the top twenty list were on the east coast. The ranking Southern California schools included Harvey Mudd at #4 ($56,268), Claremont McKenna at #6 ($55,865) and USC at #12 ($55,384). Pitzer College came in at #21 ($54,988) and Occidental also came in lower on the list at #25 ($54,950). (The University of Chicago and Oberlin college were the lone entries from the Midwest.)

Here's the top ten, according to Campus Grotto:

1. Sarah Lawrence College $59,170
2. New York University $56,787
3. Columbia University $56,310
4. Harvey Mudd College $56,268
5. Eugene Lang College (The New School) $55,890
6. Claremont McKenna College $55,865
7. Wesleyan University $55,706
8. Bard College $55,617
9. Barnard College $55,566
10. Trinity College (CT) $55,450

Of course any financial aid officer worth their salt will tell you that the sticker price is just a sticker price. Many colleges offer hefty financial aid to qualifying students. That's why Campus Grotto says that it wants to compile an up-to-date comprehensive list that ranks colleges not just by their sticker price, but by what students actually end up paying.

The Department of Education has such a ranking, but it hasn't been updated for this school year.