Endowment funds last year: $7.8 billion ($7,789,578,000)
Change from previous year: 19.5%
Students last fall: 28,221
Undergraduate tuition: $59,208 for tuition, room and board for the 2011-12 academic year for New York residents. New York is an expensive place for any purpose, and Columbia University can claim the most expensive year of undergraduate cost of attendance on our list. That has much to do with the high price and scarcity of real estate in the Big Apple, and the school's efforts to expand and develop its campus have been fraught with obstacles and local opposition. The school's massive 17-acre, $6.3-billion expansion plan finally had to get permission from the state supreme court to proceed, in a ruling that allowed the university to force property holders to sell it the required land in late 2010.