Best Value Colleges For Engineering Majors

When choosing a major, it's important to consider what suits your interests, what major provides a promising and lucrative career, and which schools offer the best investment for your educational dollars.  Read More

Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid
Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid


1Rice University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$1,168,400
Total 4 Year Cost$204,600
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,920
2University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,103,100
Total 4 Year Cost$129,900
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
3McNeese State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,079,600
Total 4 Year Cost$63,400
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$18,760
4McNeese State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,042,200
Total 4 Year Cost$100,800
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$18,760
5Louisiana Tech University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,023,600
Total 4 Year Cost$69,400
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,840
6University of California - Berkeley(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,011,600
Total 4 Year Cost$221,400
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
7University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,005,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
8Louisiana Tech University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$989,500
Total 4 Year Cost$103,500
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,840
9University of Southern California (USC)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$967,500
Total 4 Year Cost$235,500
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,600
10University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$913,500
Total 4 Year Cost$209,500
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
11Stanford University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$909,700
Total 4 Year Cost$233,300
Grad Rate96%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,880
12University of Washington (UW) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$903,800
Total 4 Year Cost$99,200
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,520
13Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$900,300
Total 4 Year Cost$82,700
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,640
14University of Houston (UH)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$887,700
Total 4 Year Cost$85,300
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,640
15San Francisco State University (SFSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$876,600
Total 4 Year Cost$96,400
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,200

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

One major that is sure to pay you back nicely for years to come and is just as versatile as it is in demand in the real world is engineering.

Are you a problem solver at heart who loves math and science? Then engineering is definitely your calling. Engineers take scientific and mathematical principles and apply them to real-life situations to determine the best possible outcome(s) -- tinkering at its finest. PayScale's College ROI Report can show you where your educational dollars will be best spent so you can tinker away at one of the nation's best value colleges for engineer majors. Take your pick.

As the saying goes, "Everything's bigger in Texas," and this includes the expected return on investment that one of the state's top private research academies provides its engineering alumni. Coming in at number one on the College ROI Report for engineering majors is Rice University's George R. Brown School of Engineering. Depending on whether financial aid is or isn't included in the ROI calculations, net 20-year returns on investment for engineering majors at Rice are between $1,168,400 (no aid) and $1,303,700 (with aid). The net annualized ROI is slightly higher for engineering majors who do collect aid compared to those who do not, 16.3 percent versus 10.2 percent, respectively.

In addition to Rice topping the list of best value colleges for engineering majors, the university and its faculty also put a great deal of emphasis on encouraging female students to pursue engineering degrees through a variety of programs and organizations offered by the university.

Coming in at 2nd place for best value schools for engineering majors is the University of California, Berkeley ("Cal"). Based on the College ROI Report, engineering majors receive a net 20-year ROI of $1,169,600 with an annualized ROI of 16.2 percent, assuming financial aid is being collected. The figures take a slight dive for engineering majors who do not receive financial assistance, dropping to a (still impressive) $1,103,100 ROI over 20 years and 12.1 percent annualized return. Cal is the only university to consistently rank in the top three or four on the College ROI Report for multiple majors and ranking third in the world for best value colleges for engineering majors. Just so you know, you can thank UC Berkeley engineers for helping build iconic structures such as the Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge.

Third place is awarded to Louisiana's McNeese State University, home of the Cowboys. For this top engineering school, returns on investment are $1,079,600 (without financial aid) and $1,104,600 (with aid). Despite having one of the highest net annualized ROI of 18.7 percent for engineering majors getting financial aid, McNeese maintains a dismal 38 percent overall graduation rate for its engineering department, whereas Rice University and Cal both have a graduation rate of 91 percent for engineering majors. If you are one of the lucky few to make it to graduation, McNeese State University is one of the best value colleges for engineering majors to consider.

Rice University is a smart investment based on the rankings from the College ROI Report for engineering majors, but it comes with a private-school price tag. Cal gives you a bit more bang for your educational buck, regardless of what major you choose -- apparently, chart-topping is Cal's thing. Last, but definitely not least, McNeese pulls rank on the best value colleges for engineering majors list and proves that they can hang with the big boys when it comes to paying back their alumni.