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The 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the U.S.

Soaring tuition, pocketbook angst in 2012

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The 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the U.S. iStock Photo

It's not your imagination. College tuition continues to rise steeply, and for all the university administrator protestations about rising costs, one thing remains abysmally clear: Your kid's senior year of college is going to cost 33% to 52% more than his freshman year did. And freshman year is going to cost plenty.

The U.S. federal education department just released its annual college tuition index - or as some pundits call it, the "hall of shame" - and the news is not good. Public university tuition rose 15.6% between 2010-11 and 2011-12, private 4-year tuition went up 10.2%, and Sarah Lawrence lost the dubious distinction of being the most expensive university in America. Columbia University is now the priciest at $45,290 - not including room and board, books ($1,000 average) or the obligatory laptop, lab fees and other pocketbook-depleting costs everyone forgets about. Once you add in housing, textbooks and incidentals, that four-year degree is likely accompanied by a quarter-million dollar tab.

You'll find the complete list at the link above. All 65 or so private universities listed top the $40,000 mark. These are the 10 most expensive schools in the U.S.

Most Expensive Private Universities 2012

  1. Columbia University, New York: $45,290, tuition only
  2. Sarah Lawrence College, New York: $45,212
  3. Vassar College, New York: $44,705
  4. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.: $44,148
  5. Trinity College, Connecticut: $44,070
  6. Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania: $44,010
  7. Connecticut College, Connecticut: $43,990
  8. Wesleyan University, Connecticut: $43,974
  9. Bucknell University, Pennsylvania: $43,866
  10. Bard College at Simon's Rock, Massachusetts: $43,840

Most Expensive Public Universities 2012

  1. University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: $16,132
  2. Pennsylvania State, Main Campus: $15,984
  3. University of New Hampshire, Main Campus: $15,250
  4. University of Vermont: $14,784
  5. Colorado School of Mines: $14,453
  6. St Mary's College of Maryland: $14,445
  7. New Jersey Institute of Technology: $13,974
  8. College of New Jersey: $13,887
  9. University of California, Davis: $13,860
  10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: $13,838

Least Expensive Universities

The federal figures also include private schools with the lowest tuition rates. Many are schools you may not have heard of - Kentucky's Berea College, for example, is the least expensive at $910 per year. North Dakota's Turtle Mountain Community College is second at $2,250. The big surprise on the list is the third least pricey: Curtis Institute of Music ($2,300), one of the nation's top music conservatories.

The least expensive public universities include Kansas' Haskell Indian Nations University at $182, Arizona's Dine College (Navajo) at $805 and Colorado Mountain College at $1,770.

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