PayScale just released our 2013 College ROI Report, which measures the cost of attending over 1,000 colleges to median alumni salaries. Once again, Engineering Schools and Research Universities dominate the list of schools who offer the biggest return on investment for your hard-earned tuition dollars. For the second year in a row, Harvey Mudd College took home top honors, beating out better-known institutions like MIT and Caltech.
In fact, many of the schools that top out our ROI list are names you may not be all that familiar with. Thanks to a change in the way that PayScale ranks ROI, (we are no longer weighing graduation rates in our calculations), some surprising names make it into the top ten, like NYU Poly, which came in at number three.
Geographically, the Northeast had the strongest showing, with the most schools in the top thirty. However, the West Coast didn’t fair too poorly- not only did they have both the number one and number two schools overall, Harvey Mudd and Caltech, respectively, but Stanford, which came in at number eight, beat out all of the Ivy League Schools. The highest-ranking Ivy League school was Harvard, which came in at number twelve.
Looking at The PayScale ROI Report, it’s pretty obvious that schools with strong engineering focuses dominate. Only one school in our top ten list, Stanford, isn’t identified as an Engineering School. Seven out of the top ten schools are identified as Research Universities, another strong category. Graduates of these schools tend to go into the highest-paying fields, such as Engineering and IT. Once again, The PayScale College ROI Report fuels what PayScale has been saying all along – if you want to earn a big salary, study a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subject and work in one of those fields.
Liberal Arts majors don’t need to feel hopeless though. We included a Top Ten list of Liberal Arts Schools, which gives some examples of schools pumping out English and Social Science majors who go on to fulfill their earning potential. Keep your eyes on PayScale’s Career News in the coming weeks for further discussion of the value of Liberal Arts educations and how Liberal Arts majors can parlay their education into profitable careers. Also, it should be noted that number one school, Harvey Mudd, is classified as both an Engineering school and a Liberal Arts school. Maybe it’s the focus on a universal education that gives Harvey Mudd its edge.
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Do you think you got a positive return on investment from your education? Tell us in the comment section or on Twitter.