Best Value Colleges For Sports

Whether you have dreams of playing collegiate sports or just rooting for the home team, PayScale's College ROI Report can guide sports fans toward colleges and universities with strong sports programs and traditions that offer the best return on investment for their educational dollars.  Read More

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1Stanford University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$809,700
Total 4 Year Cost$233,300
Grad Rate96%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,880
2Georgia Institute of Technology(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$796,300
Total 4 Year Cost$86,700
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,600
3Princeton University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$795,700
Total 4 Year Cost$217,300
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$17,040
4Virginia Military Institute (VMI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$767,300
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,800
5Brown University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$723,900
Total 4 Year Cost$229,100
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,640
6Georgia Institute of Technology(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$721,300
Total 4 Year Cost$161,700
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,600
7Rice University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$708,400
Total 4 Year Cost$204,600
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,920
8University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$703,100
Total 4 Year Cost$129,900
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
9Virginia Military Institute (VMI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$689,800
Total 4 Year Cost$173,200
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,800
10New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$680,800
Total 4 Year Cost$122,200
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$32,360
11California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$669,800
Total 4 Year Cost$93,200
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,360
12University of Pennsylvania(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$659,000
Total 4 Year Cost$234,000
Grad Rate96%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,760
13Lafayette College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$656,100
Total 4 Year Cost$226,900
Grad Rate88%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,440
14Manhattan College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$647,900
Total 4 Year Cost$185,200
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,440
15Harvard University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$646,100
Total 4 Year Cost$227,000
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,080

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

Some students seek out sports colleges simply because they love attending home games (and tailgating) with their friends. Others look for such schools because they want to participate in sports themselves and prefer schools with excellent athletics programs. Regardless of why you are looking for sports schools, consider using PayScale's information to research the best value colleges for sports throughout the nation.

With a stellar academic reputation and 36 varsity sports teams, Stanford University is easily the best value college for athletes and sports fans alike. Located in Stanford, California, which is near Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, Stanford first opened its doors in 1891 and has been producing some of the most prominent names in business, sports and other areas ever since. Ranked sixth nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI, Stanford has won 105 NCAA championships through the years, the second most in the country. Stanford alumni report a median return on investment of $809,700, a figure that shoots up to $966,900 with financial aid. The Stanford Cardinals have a well-known rivalry with UC Berkeley that culminates in the annual "Big Game" football match, and athletes from the school have won medals at every Olympics since 1912.

In addition to being a highly esteemed Ivy League school, Princeton University -- ranked ninth nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI - enjoys a strong, exceptional reputation in athletics. Indeed, the Princeton Tigers football team has won 26 national championships, which is more than any other school. Founded in 1746 and located in Princeton, New Jersey, the school boasts a Net Year Net ROI of $795,700 without financial aid and $932,500 with it. Founded in 1746, Princeton was one of the nine original Colonial Colleges and boasts one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world. The approximately 8,000 students who attend the prestigious Ivy League school proudly wear orange-and-black regalia in support of the Tigers, and games tend to be very well-attended.

For military cadets seeking higher educations, Virginia Military Institute, or VMI, is one of the top options in the nation. Those who love sports as well will be especially happy at the well-regarded military college, which is ranked 11th nationally in terms of 20 Year Net ROI. VMI strictly admits military cadets, and all students must participate in ROTC. Their sports teams are known as the Keydets, and football games at Alumni Memorial Field are well-attended and wildly popular. Located in the small town of Lexington, Virginia, VMI offers 14 majors and 23 minors in fields including the liberal arts, the humanities, English and the sciences. Many Army generals are alumni of the school, which has also produced Pulitzer Prize winners and Rhodes scholars. With a 20 Year Net ROI of $767,300 without financial aid and $813,800 with it, it's easy to see why VMI appears near the top of the sports schools return on investment list.

Brown University, an Ivy League school located in Providence, Rhode Island, is ranked 15th for 20 Year Net ROI. Alumni report a median return of investment of $723,900, which increases to $867,000 with financial aid, in the 20 years following graduation. In addition to taking their pick from nearly 80 majors, students cheer on the Brown Bears in a variety of sports. Brown University's football team was the Ivy League champion in 1999, 2005 and 2008, highlighting the prominent role that athletics plays at the school.