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PayScale Releases 2015 College Return on Investment Report

Vast Majority of Schools In Report Have 20-year Annualized ROI Higher Than US Treasury Bonds; Texas, California, and Washington have the highest average percentage of alumni who stay and work in the state after graduation

Seattle – March 5, 2015 – PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, today announced the 2015 PayScale College Return on Investment (ROI) Report.

“How much student loan debt college kids and their families take on has serious implications for their future financial health.  With average student loan debt hovering around $30K, students can’t afford not to consider earning potential post-graduation.  This is why PayScale produces an annual College ROI Report.  We want to ensure that students have access to the best information available when evaluating the financial return on their college investment and when making decisions on how to best fund their education,” said Lydia Frank, Editorial Director, PayScale.

The full report can be found here: http://payscale.com/college-roi

Highlights from PayScale’s 2015 College ROI Report include:

  • The top schools overall for 20-Year Net college return on investment (not taking into account financial aid) are Harvey Mudd College, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Stevens Institute of Technology.
  • Engineering schools continue to dominate the top of the list. The schools ranked 1 through 4, overall, and 7 out of the top 10 schools, are engineering schools. The average 20-Year Net ROI for Engineering schools is $677,500 while For Profit, Liberal Arts, Religious, Art, and Music & Design Schools all have an average 20-Year Net ROI of less than $250,000.
  • Alumni who majored in engineering, computer science & math or business fields or ended up working in business/finance or computer and math careers have the best chance of seeing a 20-Year Net ROI above $1 million.
  • State Schools dominate the list when sorted by 20-Year Annualized ROI % which is indicative of their relative low cost when compared to Private Schools. Thirty-seven out of the top 40 schools, overall, for Annualized ROI have four-year on-campus costs below $100,000. Brigham Young University (BYU), a private school, is the exception to the rule, ranking second overall on Annualized ROI. The average 20-year Annualized ROI of the included schools is 8.94%.
  • The 20-year Annualized ROI for both Apple (24.8%) and Microsoft (15.2%) beat out the Annualized ROI for all schools included in the report. 
  • More than 88 percent of schools included in the report have a 20-year Annualized ROI higher than US Treasury Bonds (2.5%), but only 24 percent of schools included have an Annualized ROI higher than the S&P 500 (7.8%).
  • All public Engineering schools included in the report have a 20-year Annualized ROI above the Vanguard Total Stock Index (9.8%) while all private Engineering schools have an Annualized ROI that falls below it.
  • Texas, California, and Washington have the highest average percentage of alumni who stay and work in the state after graduation at 85%, 84%, and 78%, respectively. Vermont has the lowest average percentage of alumni who stay in the state at 19%.

“The country is reaching crisis levels in terms of student loan debt, which now exceeds $1 trillion.  This situation has broad economic implications for students facing underemployment and possibly delaying life decisions like marriage, home buying, and starting a family. These major milestones help drive the economy, and a weakened economy affects everybody, not just new college grads,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist, PayScale.

Adds Bardaro: “In a recent report to Congress, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen talked about the struggles of the Millennial generation saying ‘They’re certainly waiting longer to buy houses, to get married. They have a lot of student debt. They seem quite worried about housing as an investment. They’ve had a tough time in the job market.’”

Full Methodology can be found here: http://www.payscale.com/college-roi/methodology

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world containing more than 40 million salary profiles, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real-time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index™, PayScale’s subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate™, PayScaleInsight™, and PayScale Insight Expert™. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is used by more than 3,000 customers including Cummins, Warby Parker, Zendesk, Clemson University and Covenant Dove. For more information, visit: www.payscale.com or follow PayScale on Twitter: http://twitter.com/payscale

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