Navigating the path to higher education can be daunting.
There are an overwhelming number of variables to consider, and finances usually
sit right at the top of the list. The rising cost of education has ushered in
an ongoing debate about how we measure the return on investment (ROI) of a college
Wall Street Journal recently turned to PayScale’s data help
guide college hopefuls through this process. The result is a handy interactive
worksheet that allows you to calculate the ROI for any school you may be
Tuition, housing, food, transportation, and student supplies
are important factors to consider when calculating college costs. If you’re
fortunate enough to be able to pay out of pocket you may not have much to worry
about. Sadly, this is not the reality for many Americans. And if you are lucky
enough to get a little help from your family, mom and dad probably don’t want
to sink thousands of their hard-earned dollars into a basket-weaving degree, no
matter how passionate you are about textiles.
One way for evaluating potential educational decisions is
to compare the overall cost with your post-graduate earning potential. The
method is simple: Add up the total cost of school, and subtract any aid you
are expecting. (This can come in the form of scholarships, federal loans,
grants, etc.) Subtract the amount you can expect in aid from the overall cost to
determine the net price. Compare this to the median salary range for your
degree path and school, and can get a pretty good projection on the fiscal
outlook for the school and major you have in mind.
According to PayScale and The
Wall Street Journal, students who plan to attend Harvey
Mudd College should give themselves a pat on the back, as it ranks in the
top for schools with the best ROI, starting salary for grads, and default rate
for loans. MIT
Tech graduates are also looking at the possibility of a bright financial
future. Take a look at the worksheet, and use it to compare your options. With
data on your side, you’ll be able to make these tough decisions with ease and
What are some of the financial factors you consider when
thinking about the ROI of higher education? We would love to hear all about
your findings. Leave a comment or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ValueofEd.