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Jul 12, 2014 05:17 AM EDT

Top 10 Expensive Private Colleges in the United States

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The Columbia University tops the list of most expensive colleges in the United States by tuition, according to a Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency Center survey.

In 2012-2013 academic year, annual undergraduate tuition at Columbia was $45,028 (including room and board). To combat heavier tuition load, 56 percent of all undergraduates in the Class of 2016 are applicable for financial aid. The average financial aid package for these students exceeds $30,000.

All the private institutions with highest tuition rates are located on the East Coast and the top three are in the New York State, cbs News reports.

"These lists support our efforts to make college more accessible and to help families make informed decisions on the single most important investment students can make in their own futures," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, City Town Info reports.

Columbia is followed by Sarah Lawrence College. For the 2014-15 academic year, average undergraduate tuition costs $49, 680. The average financial aid package for eligible students at Sarah Lawrence in the fall of 2013 was $38,521, and 78 percent of students receive the assistance.

At No. 3 is Vassar College, where the tuition and fee for the 2014-14 academic year costs $48, 840. Plus, students need to shed extra $2, 250 for books, supplies, personal expenses and allowance for transportation.

The Wesleyan University in Connecticut is listed in the fourth position. The University officials welcome diverse students into their campus regardless of their financial circumstances. Students are financially assisted either through loans, grants and part-time employment.

The university suggests students to borrow no more than a total of $19,000 over four years in an attempt to avoid students graduating with heavy debt burdens.

Top 10 Expensive Private Colleges in the United States:

1. Columbia University (N.Y.) $47,246

2. Sarah Lawrence College (N.Y.) $46,924

3. Vassar College (N.Y.) $46,270

4. Wesleyan University (Conn.) $45,928

5. George Washington University (D.C.) $45,780

6. Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) $45,760

7. Trinity College (Conn.) $45,730

8. University of Chicago (Ill.) $45,609

9. Bucknell University (Pa.) $45,378

10. Tulane University (La.) $45,240

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