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

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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:

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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.