Best Value Sober Schools

If you want to spend more time studying and less time partying, consult the PayScale College ROI Report for sober schools rankings to determine which sober schools offer the best returns on investment.  Read More

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1Brigham Young University (BYU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$615,700
Total 4 Year Cost$67,300
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,200
2University of Houston (UH)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$487,700
Total 4 Year Cost$85,300
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,640
3University of Houston (UH)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$455,900
Total 4 Year Cost$117,200
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,640
4Grove City College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$379,400
Total 4 Year Cost$93,600
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$43,600
5Calvin College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$288,000
Total 4 Year Cost$155,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,120
6Mills College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$174,600
Total 4 Year Cost$218,400
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,760
7St. Olaf College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$150,900
Total 4 Year Cost$198,500
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,480
8Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$135,600
Total 4 Year Cost$162,300
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,640

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

While many colleges and universities across the United States are known as partying havens -- especially for undergraduates -- a select minority of institutes of higher education have strong policies regarding alcohol. The majority of colleges and universities that restrict the use of alcohol on campus are affiliated with various religions, but some of them simply have more conservative reputations and ideologies. Students who prefer to steer clear of alcohol may have fewer schools to choose from, but they're out there. PayScale's rankings for the best value sober schools in the country are based on The Princeton Review's list of the top 20 sober schools in the United States.

With a ranking of 42 on our 20 Year Net ROI list, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, easily earns the top slot in our list of sober schools. BYU, or The Y, is closely affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints. The LDS faith, or Mormon faith, expressly prohibits the use of alcohol, and the honor code of BYU -- whose student population is 98 percent Mormon - reflects this. Students are expected to abstain from drinking alcohol and may be warned or expelled for failing to do so. BYU alums report a median return on investment of $615,700, which increases to $633,100 with financial aid, and the university's 11 colleges and schools span a number of programs, including engineering, law, management and the liberal arts. Named the #1 Stone-Cold Sober School in the U.S. by the Princeton Review, BYU offers a sober schools return on investment students can benefit from enormously.

Despite not being a private school or being affiliated with any particular religion, the University of Houston is among the best value sober schools students can attend. The 20 Year Net ROI of the Houston-based school, which offers more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges, is $487,700 without financial aid and $526,600 with it. Through the years, the school has earned a reputation for not being much of a party school, which may explain why it appears on Princeton Review's list of the Top 20 Sober Schools.

Grove City College, a private, non-denominational Christian college in Grove City, Pennsylvania, has a strong alcohol use policy. Essentially, students are not permitted to partake on campus. Located about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, the small college strives to provide a "thoroughly Christian environment," which explains why alcohol use is frowned upon. Offering 55 majors in the liberal arts, engineering and the sciences, Grove City College has many strong think tank connections and offers more than 150 clubs and organizations for students. Grove City alumni report a median return of investment of $379,400 without financial aid and $401,100 with it, so it's easy to see why it's among the best value sober colleges in the nation.

Situated on a 390-acre campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin College -- which is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church -- prohibits the possession or consumption of alcohol entirely. Named in honor of Protestant reformer John Calvin, the private college offers majors and minors across 115 fields. The 20 Year Net ROI of the school, which is best known for its engineering, nursing and business programs, is $288,000. With financial aid, that number jumps up to $343,800. Founded in 1876, Calvin College has a student body of around 4,000 students, who enjoy access to more than 70 clubs and organizations. When it comes to sober college life, few schools come close to offering this kind of value.