These days, it can seem nearly impossible to find an affordable college. Even state universities - long considered a favorite among budget-conscious families - have now become relatively expensive. But when it comes to sky-high college costs, certain cities lead the pack. (For related reading, check out Pay For College Without Selling A Kidney.)

In Pictures: 6 Ways To Fund A College Education

Keep in mind these are just the "sticker prices," meaning the actual cost of tuition and room & board. Depending on how generous the school's financial aid awards are, students may end up paying considerably less. This is especially true in the case of Ivy Leagues and exclusive liberal arts colleges, where income-based aid systems often result in students paying only a small fraction of the bill. Here's where you will find the most expensive schools in the country. (Find out what to do when your kid is ready for higher education, but you aren't in Preparing Parents' Pockets For College Tuition.)

New York City
Given the high cost of just about everything in the Big Apple, perhaps it's not surprising that you'll find some of the most expensive schools in this area. Topping CampusGrotto's list of most expensive colleges for 2009-2010 is Sarah Lawrence College, located in Bronxville, a small town a few miles from New York City. A year at this school comes with a price tag of a whopping $54,410.

Second on the list from CampusGrotto is New York University. Part of NYU's cost can be attributed to the high price of housing in New York City - the total annual cost to attend NYU includes $13,507 in room and board expenses.

Washington, D.C.
The nation's capital is home to George Washington University, and we're willing to bet our founding fathers never dreamed an education would someday cost as much as it does today. In 2008, GWU was named the most expensive college in the world (based solely on tuition costs) by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The current cost, with room and board included, is $51,730.

However, this school may not be quite as painful on the pocketbook as it may seem. According to the College Board, the average GWU financial aid package is $36,215. Also in the Washington, D.C. area is Georgetown University, which lands at the #7 slot on CampusGrotto's list due to its annual cost of $51,122.

Lewiston, Maine
The second-largest city in Maine is home to Bates College, one of the oldest coed colleges in New England. Repeatedly ranked among the top liberal arts schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report (among other sources), Bates is known for its small class size, SAT-optional admissions policy and its ban on fraternities and sororities. The annual cost at Bates is $51,300. Considering the price tag, the average Bates grad leaves with a relatively small amount of debt - around $17,945, according to the College Board.

Saratoga Springs, New York
Located a few hours from New York City at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, this town is home to Skidmore College, a small liberal arts college. The school has an annual price tag of $51,196, but it claims to meet 100% of student financial need, according to the College Board.

Baltimore, Maryland
Johns Hopkins University - perhaps best known for its medical programs and namesake hospital facilities - is based in Baltimore. However, there are several other campuses, including one in Washington. The annual cost is $51,190.

New London, Connecticut
This small port city is home to Connecticut College, a small liberal arts college that emphasizes rigorous academic standards, diversity and creative development. The annual cost is $51,115 and about 45% of the student body receives financial aid, with the average award in the range of $29,000.

The Bottom Line
The colleges on this list are among the most expensive in the world, but also continuously rank high for academic excellence and other positive qualities. While the tuition figures may seem overwhelming, it's important to run the numbers and estimate the true costs, once all available financial aid is factored in. (Check out Top Colleges For Your Tuition Buck for more.)

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Unrelenting Claw Of Bernie Madoff.

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    10 Ways Student Debt Can Destroy Your Life

    If you're getting a student loan, think critically about how you will manage your loan. Student debt could have a profound negative impact on your life.
  2. Personal Finance

    The 6 Most Expensive Apartments in New York City

    A look into the high, high, high end of New York City real estate.
  3. Professionals

    Social Security COLA in 2016? Not Likely

    A cost of living increase for Social Security doesn't look likely in 2016. Here's what retirees should know and what they can do about it.
  4. Budgeting

    How Cooking At Home Can Save You Real Dough

    Cooking at home saves time and money but most importantly, it could even help lower future health costs.
  5. Investing

    Hetty Green: Invest Like the Richest Woman in the World

    Investors would be wise to emulate the approach to the markets that Hetty Green used to grow her fortune.
  6. Investing Basics

    Tiny House Movement: Making Market Opportunities

    The tiny house movement throws all assumptions about household budgeting and mortgage management out the window, and creates new market segments too.
  7. Budgeting

    Top 10 Ways College Students Can Save Money

    College costs are soaring, but fortunately, there are several ways for college students to save money - and some are quite painless.
  8. Professionals

    How NYC's Yellow Cab Works and Makes Money

    Owning a New York City cab can be a great low-risk investment if you can afford the cost of a medallion.
  9. Home & Auto

    The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in San Francisco

    Learn about the city of San Francisco and why rent has increased so much in the past eight years. Discover more about the top five most expensive neighborhoods.
  10. Home & Auto

    The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Manhattan

    Understand why Manhattan has some of the priciest residential real estate in the world. Learn about the top four most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan.
  1. Student loans, federal and private: what's the difference?

    The cost of a college education now rivals many home prices, making student loans a huge debt that many young people face ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are Social Security benefits adjusted for inflation?

    Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation. This adjustment is known as the cost of living adjustment (COLA). For ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!