More colleges charging $50,000 or more a year

October 28, 2011: 7:13 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An increasing number of colleges are charging more than what the average American earns.

The number of colleges and universities with tuition and fees totaling more than $50,000 for a single year rose to 123 for the 2011-2012 year -- up from 100 institutions in the previous year. Meanwhile, the national average wage for American workers stands at a little less than $42,000 a year, according to the Social Security Administration.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, only 58 schools charged more than $50,000 a year, according to College Board data analyzed by the Chronicle of Higher Education. And the year before that, only five colleges dared to put such a high price on their institutions.

Among the elite club of colleges with combined tuition, fees, room and board exceeding $50,000 per year are Ivy leagues like Harvard and Yale, along with liberal arts colleges including Whitman, Williams, Vassar and Oberlin.

College costs climb, yet again

Sarah Lawrence College is this year's most expensive school, with a price tag of $59,170. Rounding out the top five most expensive schools are Landmark College (a two-year college in Vermont for students with learning disabilities), New York University, Columbia University and Harvey Mudd College.

Here's the full top ten list:

- Sarah Lawrence College: $59,170

- Landmark College: $57,330

- New York University: $56,787

- Columbia University, School of General Studies: $56,310

- Harvey Mudd College: $56,268

- Wesleyan University: $56,006

- Claremont McKenna College: $55,865

- Johns Hopkins University: $55,742

- Berklee College of Music: $55,615

- Bard College: $55,592

Students were dealt some major tuition hikes. This school year, 39 schools on the list raised tuition, fees room and board by more than 4%, and seven increased costs by more than 5%. The biggest jump, of 10.1%, was seen at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, followed by Berklee College of Music, which raised costs by 8.3%.

Last year, costs rose by more than 4% at 34 schools, and by more than 5% at six schools.

While no public institutions made it into the $50k club this year, that doesn't mean they haven't been hiking tuition.

Given severe budget cuts at many public schools, many state colleges and universities have boosted tuition drastically in the past year. So, while California State University still only costs $9,022 in in-state tuition for a year, that's a whopping 21% increase from the previous year. To top of page

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