Most Expensive U.S. Colleges

A college degree may be losing its value, but the price tag for a four-year education continues to rise.

The cost to attend college for one year exceeded $60,000 for the first time this year, according to Campus Grotto, a college publication that compiles an annual list of the most expensive colleges.

Tuition at more than 70 colleges is more than $55,000, according to Campus Grotto, and the sticker price often makes it necessary for students to seek financial assistance through student loans and other means.

Last year, the total student debt surpassed $1 trillion.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, nearly one in every five U.S. households is saddled with student loan debt.

The Pew Report found that 40 percent of all households headed by those younger than 35 had student loan debt. Among households owing on student loans, the average outstanding loan balance increased from $23,349 in 2007 to $26,682 in 2010, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the meantiem, the cost of college degree continues to climb.

This year the cost to attend the most expensive college, Sarah Lawrence College, for one year was more than double the average outstanding loan balance in 2010. The private college in New York's Westchester County charges its students $61,236 a year for tuition, room and board and fees.

According to the Associated Press, "The average tuition at a four-year public university climbed 15 percent between 2008 and 2010, fueled by state budget cuts for higher education and increases of 40 percent and more at universities in such states as Georgia, Arizona and California."

Here's Campus Grotto's list of the top 10 most expensive colleges:

1. Sarah Lawrence College Total Cost: $61,236

2. New York University Total Cost: $59,837

3. Harvey Mudd College Total Cost: $58,913

4. Columbia University Total Cost: $58,742

5. Wesleyan University Total Cost: $58,202

6. Claremont McKenna College Total Cost: $58,065

7. Dartmouth College Total Cost: $57,996

8. Drexel University Total Cost: $57,975

9. University of Chicago Total Cost: $57,711

10. Bard College Total Cost: $57,580