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Top 15 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities: 2021

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Related: 12 Best Value Colleges: Princeton Review, 2021

Last year, millions of college students across the U.S. attended classes online rather than in person because of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, college tuition prices remained largely unchanged or even increased during the 2020–21 school year, especially at some of the country’s priciest institutions, according to a new report from ACE Cash Express, a loan provider.

Some elite schools, such as Stanford University and Wellesley College, raised undergraduate tuition by 4% to 5%, according to GoBankingRates.

ACE noted that students and families were not amused and some filed lawsuits, citing a report by Best Colleges.

ACE asked whether, in the end, it is worth it to attend such an expensive college or university. Of course, there are many reasons why students compete for admission to elite — and super expensive — schools.

For the lender, the answer came down to the salary graduates of these institutions can expect to receive upon entering the job market.

Its researchers compiled a list of the most expensive schools by combining a CBS ranking of the priciest four-year colleges, drawn from data by the National Center for Education Statistics, and starting salaries from Payscale’s annual College Salary Report.

We updated the ranking to include PayScale’s 2021 data on median salaries for graduates with 0-5 years of work experience. We also added the salary site’s estimate of the average yearly “return on investment” graduates can expect on their tuition dollars.

See the gallery for the 15 most expensive colleges and universities in 2021.