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The most expensive colleges in America—really

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 | 2:38 PM ET
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. A dubious one, anyway.

The absolute priciest four-year college education in the country can be had at ... New York University, according to a new survey.

The analysis, by Business Insider, ranks the all-in cost of attending college—tuition, room and board and required fees.

An earlier analysis, by the Department of Education, ranked NYU 64th among private four-year colleges, but that listing just counted tuition.

NYU is followed closely by Harvey Mudd College, part of California's Claremont Colleges, and Bard College in upstate New York.

The top 20, in descending order of cost, are:

  1. New York University, $61,977
  2. Harvey Mudd College, $61,760
  3. Bard College, $61,446
  4. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, $60,779
  5. Sarah Lawrence College, $60,656
  6. Wesleyan University, $60,214
  7. Dartmouth College, $60,201
  8. University of Chicago, $60,039
  9. Bard College at Simon's Rock, $60,003
  10. Trinity College, $59,860
  11. Johns Hopkins University, $59,802
  12. Fordham College, $59,802
  13. Carnegie Mellon University, $59,632
  14. University of Southern California, $59,615
  15. Occidental College, $59,592
  16. Scripps College, $59,570
  17. Oberlin College, $59,474
  18. Haverford College, $59,446
  19. Pitzer College, $59,416
  20. Northwestern University, $54,389

College education costs have been rising steadily for years, outpacing inflation. Between 1982-1983 and 2012-2013, tuition and fees for a private four–year college education rose 167 percent, and the price tag for a public four–year education climbed 257 percent, according to the College Board.

(Read More: What College Tuition Will Look Like in 18 Years)

How can college grads stand out?
The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree or higher is just under 4 percent. New college graduates Ryan Boepple of Syracruse University and Brooke Flanagan of Colgate University talk about their time and money invested in college as they face the job market.

Not surprisingly, student loan debt is also a growing problem, particularly now that Congress has allowed the interest rate on student loans to double.

(Read More: Student Loan Rates Double)

Luckily, Fiske has published its list of colleges that offer the best buy in terms of academics and affordability. The flagship public universities on the list, in no particular order, include the University of Florida, the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Affordable is relative, however. The College Board pegged a moderate budget for the 2012-2013 school year at a public university at more than $22,000, and over $43,000 for a private institution.

Get your wallet ready.

—By CNBC's Kelley Holland.

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