Best Value Colleges For Science Careers

Science careers are a great choice for students who prefer a lab coat to a suit and tie.

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Rank 
School Name 
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
 
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
 
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
 
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
 
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
19.6%9.8%11.7%12.1%$666,000$671,000$706,000$711,000$126,000$121,00077%4$26,70010%
1Colorado School of Mines(In-State)
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROI9.8%
Annual ROI11.7%
Annual ROI12.1%
20 Year Net ROI$666,000
20 Year Net ROI$671,000
20 Year Net ROI$706,000
20 Year Net ROI$711,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Total 4 Year Cost$121,000
Grad Rate77%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$26,700
Grant Money Received10%
27.3%7.4%8.5%8.7%$597,000$602,000$637,000$642,000$195,000$190,00077%4$26,70010%
2Colorado School of Mines(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.7%
20 Year Net ROI$597,000
20 Year Net ROI$602,000
20 Year Net ROI$637,000
20 Year Net ROI$642,000
Total 4 Year Cost$195,000
Total 4 Year Cost$190,000
Grad Rate77%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$26,700
Grant Money Received10%
39.6%9.1%13.1%12.1%$529,000$519,000$577,000$567,000$101,000$111,00086%5$33,50011%
3Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus(In-State)
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROI13.1%
Annual ROI12.1%
20 Year Net ROI$529,000
20 Year Net ROI$519,000
20 Year Net ROI$577,000
20 Year Net ROI$567,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Total 4 Year Cost$111,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$33,500
Grant Money Received11%
48.1%9.0%12.3%14.5%$523,000$544,000$597,000$618,000$139,000$118,00092%4$23,90023%
4University of California-Berkeley(In-State)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI12.3%
Annual ROI14.5%
20 Year Net ROI$523,000
20 Year Net ROI$544,000
20 Year Net ROI$597,000
20 Year Net ROI$618,000
Total 4 Year Cost$139,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
58.8%9.2%10.3%11.0%$508,000$518,000$537,000$547,000$116,000$107,00066%5$17,30050%
5CUNY Bernard M Baruch College(In-State)
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI10.3%
Annual ROI11.0%
20 Year Net ROI$508,000
20 Year Net ROI$518,000
20 Year Net ROI$537,000
20 Year Net ROI$547,000
Total 4 Year Cost$116,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$17,300
Grant Money Received50%
65.5%N/A13.3%N/A$491,000N/A$684,000N/A$254,000N/A97%4$27,40016%
6Harvard University(Private)
Annual ROI5.5%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI13.3%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$491,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$684,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,400
Grant Money Received16%
79.2%9.2%11.5%11.5%$489,000$489,000$523,000$524,000$102,000$101,00062%5$22,60039%
7San Jose State University(In-State)
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI11.5%
Annual ROI11.5%
20 Year Net ROI$489,000
20 Year Net ROI$489,000
20 Year Net ROI$523,000
20 Year Net ROI$524,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,600
Grant Money Received39%
87.6%8.0%8.8%9.3%$481,000$490,000$510,000$519,000$144,000$134,00066%5$17,30050%
8CUNY Bernard M Baruch College(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI9.3%
20 Year Net ROI$481,000
20 Year Net ROI$490,000
20 Year Net ROI$510,000
20 Year Net ROI$519,000
Total 4 Year Cost$144,000
Total 4 Year Cost$134,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$17,300
Grant Money Received50%
9 (tie)8.1%8.1%12.5%12.5%$480,000$480,000$552,000$552,000$129,000$129,00091%4$33,4009%
9 (tie)College of William and Mary(In-State)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI12.5%
Annual ROI12.5%
20 Year Net ROI$480,000
20 Year Net ROI$480,000
20 Year Net ROI$552,000
20 Year Net ROI$552,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$33,400
Grant Money Received9%
9 (tie)8.1%8.1%10.1%10.1%$480,000$480,000$518,000$518,000$127,000$127,00087%4$39,70015%
9 (tie)The College of New Jersey(In-State)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI10.1%
Annual ROI10.1%
20 Year Net ROI$480,000
20 Year Net ROI$480,000
20 Year Net ROI$518,000
20 Year Net ROI$518,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$39,700
Grant Money Received15%
119.0%9.0%10.4%10.4%$465,000$465,000$488,000$488,000$100,000$100,00080%5$22,50011%
11California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo(In-State)
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI10.4%
Annual ROI10.4%
20 Year Net ROI$465,000
20 Year Net ROI$465,000
20 Year Net ROI$488,000
20 Year Net ROI$488,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,500
Grant Money Received11%
126.5%6.2%8.1%7.7%$450,000$440,000$498,000$488,000$180,000$190,00086%5$33,50011%
12Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.2%
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI7.7%
20 Year Net ROI$450,000
20 Year Net ROI$440,000
20 Year Net ROI$498,000
20 Year Net ROI$488,000
Total 4 Year Cost$180,000
Total 4 Year Cost$190,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$33,500
Grant Money Received11%
139.0%9.0%11.4%11.4%$448,000$448,000$483,000$483,000$97,900$97,90053%5$21,80048%
13San Francisco State University(In-State)
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI11.4%
Annual ROI11.4%
20 Year Net ROI$448,000
20 Year Net ROI$448,000
20 Year Net ROI$483,000
20 Year Net ROI$483,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,900
Total 4 Year Cost$97,900
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$21,800
Grant Money Received48%
147.2%7.2%8.7%8.7%$444,000$445,000$479,000$479,000$147,000$146,00062%5$22,60039%
14San Jose State University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI8.7%
20 Year Net ROI$444,000
20 Year Net ROI$445,000
20 Year Net ROI$479,000
20 Year Net ROI$479,000
Total 4 Year Cost$147,000
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,600
Grant Money Received39%
158.4%9.9%10.6%13.0%$438,000$463,000$473,000$498,000$108,000$83,00056%5$28,90025%
15University of Massachusetts-Lowell(In-State)
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI9.9%
Annual ROI10.6%
Annual ROI13.0%
20 Year Net ROI$438,000
20 Year Net ROI$463,000
20 Year Net ROI$473,000
20 Year Net ROI$498,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Total 4 Year Cost$83,000
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$28,900
Grant Money Received25%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

Science jobs encompass more than working in a lab though — a science career can mean you work in any field from anthropology to zoology. PayScale’s list of Best College ROIs for Science Jobs calculates the return on investment for schools based on alumni who work in science jobs. Job titles in this category are varied and includes workers who work in the physical science jobs like geology, chemistry, environmental science and geography; life science jobs like biology, animal science and microbiology, and social science jobs like counseling, sociology and economics.

Before we look at the best value colleges for students who want to work in a science career, we should note that PayScale’s College ROI figures are calculated based on college graduates who only earned a bachelor’s degree. We do not include individuals who go on to earn advanced degrees because we can’t accurately calculate the cost of graduate school. And since many of the highest-paying science jobs require advanced degrees, you may not see as high of numbers as you would expect. The truth is, if salary is your highest priority and you want to work in science, you’ll most likely have to go to grad school. But the schools that rank well on PayScale’s College ROI Report for science jobs provide a good return on investment for individuals who go on to work in the science field even if they only have a bachelor’s degree.


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