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College ROI Report: These 5 Schools Offer the Highest Return on Investment

Money might not buy happiness, but lack of money can sure set you up for a world of misery. Just ask any of the 6.9 million Americans – as of July, 2015 – who hadn't made a payment on their federal students in 360 days. In fact, about 17 percent of all borrowers were severely delinquent in paying their student loans last year. Why? Well, for one thing, it's hard to stay on top of your loans if you can't get a job with a salary high enough to pay them. For this reason, PayScale's College ROI Report is a valuable tool for entering students. While of course college choice needs to be based on a variety of factors like career goals, interests, and aptitude, thinking about life after graduation, professionally and financially, is also key. College isn't just vocational training, but if you're going to get into debt, you need to set yourself up to get a job that will allow you to pay off those loans.

Money might not buy happiness, but lack of money can sure set you up for a world of misery. Just ask any of the 6.9 million Americans – as of July, 2015 – who hadn’t made a payment on their federal students in 360 days. In fact, about 17 percent of all borrowers were severely delinquent in paying their student loans last year. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s hard to stay on top of your loans if you can’t get a job with a salary high enough to pay them.

For this reason, PayScale’s College ROI Report is a valuable tool for entering students. While of course college choice needs to be based on a variety of factors like career goals, interests, and aptitude, thinking about life after graduation, professionally and financially, is also key. College isn’t just vocational training, but if you’re going to get into debt, you need to set yourself up to get a job that will allow you to pay off those loans.

mit

(Photo Credit: shoothead/Flickr)

Do You Know What You're Worth?

This year, PayScale’s College ROI Report ranks 962 colleges and universities: 442 public (including both in-state and out-of-state costs), 505 private not-for-profit, and 15 private for-profit. The rankings are based on net 20-year ROI of on-campus costs (without financial aid). Schools that don’t provide on-campus costs were not listed in the main ranking.

Engineering schools continue to dominate the top of the list. The top three schools and six out of the top 10 are engineering schools. The average net ROI for engineering schools is more than three times that of liberal arts, religious, arts, music, or design schools. ($756,000 average net ROI for engineering schools; $250,000 for the others.)

On the annualized ROI side, public schools took nearly all of the top 100 spots, because of their relatively low cost; among private schools, only Brigham Young University and Park University made the list, due to their inexpensive on-campus costs.

The full list of Best Value Colleges is here; these are the top five:

1. California Institute of Technology (Caltech):

20-Year Net ROI: $973,000

Typical 4-Year Cost: $230,000

Average Loan Amount: $19,000

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

20-Year Net ROI: $972,000

Typical 4-Year Cost: $232,000

Average Loan Amount: $32,200

3. (tie) Harvey Mudd College

20-Year Net ROI: $945,000

Typical 4-Year Cost: $249,000

Average Loan Amount: $24,400

3. (tie) SUNY – Maritime College (In-State)

20-Year Net ROI: $945,000

Typical 4-Year Cost: $89,000

Average Loan Amount: $32,000

5. SUNY – Maritime College (Out-of-State)

20-Year Net ROI: $908,000

Typical 4-Year Cost: $126,000

Average Loan Amount: $32,000

Tell Us What You Think

How did you choose your school? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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