New College of Florida, Sarasota, Fla.
"(New College) walks, talks and acts like a really elite private school, but it's got (public college) prices," says Donald Asher, author of "Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late-Blooming and Just Plain Different."
At New College, students design their own curriculum and receive faculty evaluations of their work instead of grades. They also graduate with very little debt. For the 2011-2012 academic year, in-state students will pay $6,032 for tuition and fees. And while many out-of-state students will balk at the $28,949 price tag, they probably won't pay that much. The NCES reports that 100 percent of New College entering freshmen receive financial aid. With aid factored in, the average family with combined incomes of $110,000 or less pays just more than $9,200 per year.