These 5 Schools Have the Highest ROI

Want the highest salary potential for your tuition dollars? PayScale's College Return on Investment report looks at the schools that have set up their graduates for the highest-earning jobs.

guy on a dime 

(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

Something to note about the rankings by school: this year, for the first time, we examined a 20-year ROI instead of a 30-year ROI.

"The reasons for doing this are twofold," says Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale. "First, previous PayScale research has shown that pay goes nowhere after age 40. ...Considering the majority of college graduates are in their early 20s when they graduate with a bachelor's degree, we focused on a 20-year ROI to bring us to the average point when pay stops experiencing real growth."

The other reason was that data from older graduates had a higher variance than was allowable for reporting.

The following schools offer the highest return on their students' investment for 2014:

1. Harvey Mudd College

Total Cost to Graduate: $229,500

20-Year Net ROI: $980,900

Annual ROI (Compared to Investing Money in Other Ways): 8.8 percent

2. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Total Cost to Graduate: $220,400

20-Year Net ROI: $837,600

Annual ROI (Compared to Investing Money in Other Ways): 8.3 percent

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Total Cost to Graduate: $223,400

20-Year Net ROI: $831,100

Annual ROI (Compared to Investing Money in Other Ways): 8.2 percent

4. Stanford University

Total Cost to Graduate: $236,300

20-Year Net ROI: $789,500

Annual ROI (Compared to Investing Money in Other Ways): 7.8 percent

5. Colorado School of Mines (In-State)

Total Cost to Graduate: $114,200

20-Year Net ROI: $783,400

Annual ROI (Compared to Investing Money in Other Ways): 11 percent

Want to see more data on the schools with the highest ROI? Adjust these listings to take into account financial aid and on- or off-campus living.

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