nyustreet.jpgFor three years straight, NYU has dominated the annual Princeton Review "College Hopes and Worries" survey, coming in as the #1 “dream school” for college-bound students. But now NYU’s reign of dreams has turned into a humiliating nightmare, as the 2008 survey shows the university plummeting to the #4 slot, bested by Harvard, Stanford and Princeton.

Columbia University also took a hit, dropping down two slots from last year to #7. Is attending college in New York so over in this post-Sex and the City era?

Princeton Review attributes Harvard's #1 ranking to the school’s reformed financial-aid program, which covers some or all of the tuition costs for talented students from low-income families. NYU tuition, on the other hand, still requires deep pockets or debt for all, and as the university relentlessly expands throughout downtown Manhattan, costs have skyrocketed. It seems the university is increasingly pricing out the less well-heeled dreamers, and according to the Princeton Review, 84% of the 8,776 college applicants surveyed said that financial aid will be "very necessary" for them.

Photo: Rob Hoey