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 credited to the high earning potential a computer science degree warrants in today’s technology-driven world.

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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
110.0%N/A17.9%N/A$1,452,000N/A$1,643,000N/A$255,000N/A94%4$32,20013%
1Stanford University(Private)
Annual ROI10.0%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI17.9%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,452,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,643,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$255,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,200
Grant Money Received13%
212.6%13.6%17.0%19.3%$1,361,000$1,382,000$1,435,000$1,457,000$139,000$118,00092%4$23,90023%
2University of California-Berkeley(In-State)
Annual ROI12.6%
Annual ROI13.6%
Annual ROI17.0%
Annual ROI19.3%
20 Year Net ROI$1,361,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,382,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,435,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,457,000
Total 4 Year Cost$139,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
39.7%10.2%11.8%12.5%$1,264,000$1,285,000$1,338,000$1,359,000$236,000$215,00092%4$23,90023%
3University of California-Berkeley(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI9.7%
Annual ROI10.2%
Annual ROI11.8%
Annual ROI12.5%
20 Year Net ROI$1,264,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,285,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,338,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,359,000
Total 4 Year Cost$236,000
Total 4 Year Cost$215,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
49.2%N/A16.7%N/A$1,250,000N/A$1,443,000N/A$261,000N/A98%4$21,50017%
4Yale University(Private)
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI16.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,250,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,443,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$261,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate98%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$21,500
Grant Money Received17%
59.5%N/A17.1%N/A$1,235,000N/A$1,411,000N/A$240,000N/A97%4$18,10017%
5Princeton University(Private)
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI17.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,235,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,411,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$18,100
Grant Money Received17%
69.1%N/A14.6%N/A$1,204,000N/A$1,364,000N/A$257,000N/A96%4$28,70013%
6Brown University(Private)
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.6%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,204,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,364,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$257,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate96%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received13%
78.9%N/A15.5%N/A$1,195,000N/A$1,379,000N/A$265,000N/A97%4$24,70015%
7Dartmouth College(Private)
Annual ROI8.9%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.5%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,195,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,379,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$265,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,700
Grant Money Received15%
812.5%12.7%17.1%17.6%$1,188,000$1,193,000$1,257,000$1,262,000$125,000$120,00087%4$22,80026%
8University of California-San Diego(In-State)
Annual ROI12.5%
Annual ROI12.7%
Annual ROI17.1%
Annual ROI17.6%
20 Year Net ROI$1,188,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,193,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,257,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,262,000
Total 4 Year Cost$125,000
Total 4 Year Cost$120,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$22,800
Grant Money Received26%
98.8%N/A12.3%N/A$1,134,000N/A$1,256,000N/A$260,000N/A90%4$32,00011%
9Carnegie Mellon University(Private)
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI12.3%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,134,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,256,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$260,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,000
Grant Money Received11%
108.8%8.8%13.2%13.2%$1,133,000$1,133,000$1,275,000$1,275,000$258,000$258,00094%4$32,10015%
10Cornell University(Private)
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI8.8%
Annual ROI13.2%
Annual ROI13.2%
20 Year Net ROI$1,133,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,133,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,275,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,275,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,100
Grant Money Received15%
1113.0%12.6%16.9%16.1%$1,129,000$1,121,000$1,181,000$1,173,000$107,000$115,00084%4$24,30019%
11University of Washington-Seattle Campus(In-State)
Annual ROI13.0%
Annual ROI12.6%
Annual ROI16.9%
Annual ROI16.1%
20 Year Net ROI$1,129,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,121,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,181,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,173,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,300
Grant Money Received19%
128.9%N/A15.1%N/A$1,126,000N/A$1,292,000N/A$249,000N/A93%4$30,20015%
12Massachusetts Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI8.9%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,126,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,292,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$249,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,200
Grant Money Received15%
138.7%N/A14.0%N/A$1,123,000N/A$1,284,000N/A$263,000N/A94%4$26,10013%
13Georgetown University(Private)
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,123,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,284,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$263,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$26,100
Grant Money Received13%
14 (tie)13.3%13.3%14.8%14.8%$1,120,000$1,120,000$1,143,000$1,143,000$100,000$100,00080%5$22,50011%
14 (tie)California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo(In-State)
Annual ROI13.3%
Annual ROI13.3%
Annual ROI14.8%
Annual ROI14.8%
20 Year Net ROI$1,120,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,120,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,143,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,143,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,500
Grant Money Received11%
14 (tie)8.5%8.1%14.9%13.5%$1,120,000$1,097,000$1,304,000$1,281,000$272,000$294,00094%4$35,90017%
14 (tie)Columbia University in the City of New York(Private)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI14.9%
Annual ROI13.5%
20 Year Net ROI$1,120,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,097,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,304,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,281,000
Total 4 Year Cost$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$294,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$35,900
Grant Money Received17%

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

In case you hadn’t noticed, technology is ubiquitous these days, permeating every facet of our world, from the iPhone in your pocket to Google’s self-driving cars roaming the streets outside your office. This explosion in tech means there’s a relative scarcity of employees who can invent, code, develop build it all, and computer science and math majors are poised to cash in on that shortage. PayScale’s 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, and the return on investment for computer science majors is the highest overall. And 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.

Perennially coming in as 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. 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.

Another high-ranked school for computer science majors in our College ROI report is a consistently high performer across the board: UC Berkeley.

All three top-tier best value colleges for computer science majors prove to be wise investments. 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 PayScale’s College ROI Report to see how well a computer science degree from your current or potential university pays its alumni back in the real world.


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