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21 Schools That Cost Over $50,000 a Year

Thanks to 'The Chronicle of Higher Education's' easily searchable database of colleges and universities with total expenses (including tuition, fees, room and board) over $50,000, we were able to search out and categorize some of the biggest names in top (price) tier education. Think you might be ready to blow more on a year of college than the average U.S. worker makes in the same time span? Check out these schools.

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By Sarah Wright

The Heaviest Hitters

These five are the most expensive colleges in the U.S. Would you be willing to spend that much (or more) for school every year? Plenty of students find it worth it, and the schools on this list all have excellent reputations.

1. Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY ($59,170)

2. Landmark College, Putney, VT ($57,330)

3. New York University, New York City, NY ($56,787)

4. Columbia University School of General Studies, New York City, NY ($56,310)

5. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA ($56,268)

The Ivy League

With the pomp and prestige surrounding these old-school bastions of power and wealth, it's perhaps not surprising that schools in the Ivy League are some of the most expensive in the nation. What may come as a surprise, though, is that not all of the schools in the Ivy League are members of the $50,000+ club. Princeton has an annual total cost below that threshold, and Yale is a new addition to the list. For the 2010-11 academic year, attendance at Yale cost less than $50,000, according to The Chronicle.

1. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH ($55,365)

2. Brown University, Providence, RI ($55,136)

3. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY ($54,695)

4. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA ($53,976)

5. Yale University, New Haven, CT ($52,700)

6. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA ($52,650)

Private Liberal Arts Colleges

Private liberal arts schools are notoriously expensive, and that notion is easily confirmed by taking a look at the top five most expensive schools. The top spot is held by Sarah Lawrence College, a private liberal arts school.

1. Bates College, Lewiston, ME ($55,300)

2. Vassar College, Arlington, NY ($55,135)

3. Pitzer College, Claremont, CA ($54,988)

4. Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA ($54,950)

5. Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH ($54,760)

Surprisingly Small = Surprisingly Expensive?

You might not expect colleges with fewer than 1,000 students to pack a heavy price tag, but these small schools would prove you wrong.

1. Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, OH ($51,445) - 244 Undergraduate Students

2. Bard College at Simon's Rock, Great Barrington, MA ($54,960) - 346 Undergraduate Students

3. St. John's College ($53,990) - NM Campus - 409 Undergraduate Students; MD Campus - 463 Undergraduate Students

4. Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA ($54,160) - 519 Undergraduate Students

5. Bennington College, Bennington, VT ($54,960) - 668 Undergraduate Students

Price can be an important determining factor in where you go to school, but you should also follow this advice for how to tell if a college is right for you.

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