Best Value Colleges For Computer Science Majors

According to PayScale's College ROI Report, computer science majors have the best 20-year net return on investment out of any degrees on the list, which can probably be accredited to the high earning potential a computer science degree warrants in today's technology-driven world.  Read More

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1Stanford University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$1,619,700
Total 4 Year Cost$233,300
Grad Rate96%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,880
2University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,233,100
Total 4 Year Cost$129,900
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
3Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$1,178,500
Total 4 Year Cost$224,500
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,680
4University of California - Berkeley(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,141,600
Total 4 Year Cost$221,400
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
5University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,125,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
6Georgia Institute of Technology(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,106,300
Total 4 Year Cost$86,700
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,600
7University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,033,500
Total 4 Year Cost$209,500
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
8Georgia Institute of Technology(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,031,300
Total 4 Year Cost$161,700
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,600
9University of Utah(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,026,600
Total 4 Year Cost$86,400
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,680
10University of Washington (UW) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$1,013,800
Total 4 Year Cost$99,200
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,520
11University of Maryland - College Park(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$991,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,000
12California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$989,800
Total 4 Year Cost$93,200
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
13Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$978,500
Total 4 Year Cost$234,500
Grad Rate88%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,960
14San Jose State University (SJSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$970,000
Total 4 Year Cost$93,000
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,960
15University of Utah(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$966,600
Total 4 Year Cost$146,400
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,680

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

Use PayScale's College ROI Report to find the best value colleges for computer science majors.

The College ROI Report provides expected return on investment for different majors based on expected 20-year earnings for alumni from top universities across the nation. The return on ivnestment for computer science majors is the highest overall. By using the College ROI Report, computer science majors can use the findings to make an informed decision of which computer science programs offer the best return for their educational dollar.

Coming in at number one for best value colleges for computer science majors is Stanford University in Silicon Valley, home to some of the largest high-tech companies and startups in the world. The College ROI Report indicates that Stanford computer science majors can expect a 20-year net return on investment of $1,766,900, which amounts to a 17.5 percent net annualized ROI for students collecting financial aid. For those not collecting financial aid, return on investment decreases slightly to $1,619,700, amounting to an 11.1 percent annualized return.

Stanford might top the charts for best college for students to pursue a computer science degree, but it, unfortunately, is also at the top of the list for having one of the worst college mascots; a tree ('Cardinal", if you're feeling fancy). In fact, Stanford doesn't actually have a mascot, the school unofficially reverted to "Cardinal" because it was the university's color. Official mascot or not, Stanford's graduation rate is still near perfect at 96 percent.

The number two position is held by two different universities based on whether financial aid is or is not being collected. The University of California, Berkeley ('Cal") and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) flip-flop for second and third place on the College ROI Report for computer science majors depending on whether financial aid is factored in or not. When financial aid is a factor, MIT beats out Cal on its alumni 20-year net return on investment, but not by much. MIT's computer science alumni can expect an ROI of $1,323,600 and a net annualized ROI of 15.6 percent. Cal Bears who are get financial assistance are looking at a slightly less return than MIT Beavers, $1,299,600, but their annualized return is higher than Cal's, at 16.8 percent.

The number two and three rankings are reversed when financial aid is omitted from the calculations. Cal promises a 20-Year Net ROI for its computer science majors of $1,233,100 with an annualized ROI of 12.7 percent. Third-place MIT provides computer science majors returns that come in slightly less than Cal's; $1,178,500 and 9.8 percent, respectively.

All three top-tier best value colleges for computer science majors prove to be wise investments, especially considering that all three universities have graduation rates above 90 percent and promise 20-year returns up to nearly $2 million.

One thing's for sure, computer science majors can expect one of the most lucrative ROIs out of any degree on the College ROI Report. Use the report to see how well a computer science degree from your current or potential university pays its alumni back in the real world.