Best Value Colleges For Economics Majors

Studying economics can really pay off. *zing!* Students who major in economics learn the analytical, quantitative, writing, and thinking skills that are needed in the business world. If you major in economics, you’re likely to see big returns on your investment, provided they’ve done the research to choose a school that pays you back.

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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%N/A17.7%N/A$1,330,000N/A$1,523,000N/A$254,000N/A97%4$27,40016%
1Harvard University(Private)
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI17.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,330,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,523,000
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%
29.1%N/A14.7%N/A$1,135,000N/A$1,289,000N/A$243,000N/A92%4$23,6006%
2Washington and Lee University(Private)
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,135,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,289,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$243,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,600
Grant Money Received6%
38.7%N/A16.5%N/A$1,100,000N/A$1,291,000N/A$255,000N/A94%4$32,20013%
3Stanford University(Private)
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI16.5%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,100,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,291,000
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%
48.5%N/A14.0%N/A$1,064,000N/A$1,225,000N/A$257,000N/A96%4$28,70013%
4Brown University(Private)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,064,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,225,000
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%
58.5%8.5%13.6%13.6%$1,048,000$1,048,000$1,200,000$1,200,000$254,000$254,00095%4$24,60010%
5University of Notre Dame(Private)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI13.6%
Annual ROI13.6%
20 Year Net ROI$1,048,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,048,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,200,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,200,000
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,600
Grant Money Received10%
6N/AN/AN/AN/A$1,045,000N/A$1,045,000N/A$0N/A86%4N/AN/A
6United States Naval Academy(Service Academy)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,045,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,045,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$0
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4
Loan AmtN/A
Grant Money ReceivedN/A
78.6%N/A16.1%N/A$1,018,000N/A$1,194,000N/A$240,000N/A97%4$18,10017%
7Princeton University(Private)
Annual ROI8.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI16.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,018,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,194,000
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%
88.3%8.4%12.4%12.6%$1,008,000$1,014,000$1,144,000$1,150,000$258,000$252,00090%4$25,80016%
8Brandeis University(Private)
Annual ROI8.3%
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI12.4%
Annual ROI12.6%
20 Year Net ROI$1,008,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,014,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,144,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,150,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Total 4 Year Cost$252,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,800
Grant Money Received16%
98.3%N/A14.4%N/A$990,000N/A$1,160,000N/A$255,000N/A90%4$27,80015%
9Colgate University(Private)
Annual ROI8.3%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.4%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$990,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,160,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$255,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,800
Grant Money Received15%
108.1%N/A13.4%N/A$987,000N/A$1,149,000N/A$263,000N/A94%4$26,10013%
10Georgetown University(Private)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI13.4%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$987,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,149,000
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%
118.6%8.7%12.2%12.5%$956,000$962,000$1,066,000$1,073,000$229,000$222,00085%4$24,20017%
11DePauw University(Private)
Annual ROI8.6%
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI12.2%
Annual ROI12.5%
20 Year Net ROI$956,000
20 Year Net ROI$962,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,066,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,073,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Total 4 Year Cost$222,000
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,200
Grant Money Received17%
1210.8%11.7%15.1%17.4%$947,000$968,000$1,021,000$1,042,000$139,000$118,00092%4$23,90023%
12University of California-Berkeley(In-State)
Annual ROI10.8%
Annual ROI11.7%
Annual ROI15.1%
Annual ROI17.4%
20 Year Net ROI$947,000
20 Year Net ROI$968,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,021,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,042,000
Total 4 Year Cost$139,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
138.5%8.5%14.0%14.0%$943,000$943,000$1,088,000$1,088,000$229,000$229,00093%4$29,50015%
13Rice University(Private)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI14.0%
Annual ROI14.0%
20 Year Net ROI$943,000
20 Year Net ROI$943,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,088,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,088,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$29,500
Grant Money Received15%
148.0%N/A11.5%N/A$942,000N/A$1,064,000N/A$260,000N/A90%4$32,00011%
14Carnegie Mellon University(Private)
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI11.5%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$942,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,064,000
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%
157.8%7.8%14.0%14.0%$925,000$925,000$1,100,000$1,100,000$262,000$262,00095%4$28,60014%
15University of Pennsylvania(Private)
Annual ROI7.8%
Annual ROI7.8%
Annual ROI14.0%
Annual ROI14.0%
20 Year Net ROI$925,000
20 Year Net ROI$925,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,100,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,100,000
Total 4 Year Cost$262,000
Total 4 Year Cost$262,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,600
Grant Money Received14%

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

Economics is usually grouped within the social science family, but it’s becoming an increasingly popular major, since it forces students to learn a variety of valuable skills, like statistics, critical thinking, finance and more. If you use PayScale’s College ROI Report, you’ll find that there are many colleges where an economics degrees leads to a high return on investment. This list can help you find the best value colleges for economics majors.

High on our list is the University of Pennsylvania, often referred to simply as “Penn”. This Ivy League school is revered as one of the top research academies in the nation and his home to The Wharton School of Business, the most famous business school in the nation, so it should come as no surprise that it takes the cake for rewarding its economics alumni with a hefty return on investment for their educational dollars.

Penn is a private school, and an expensive one at that, but many of the best value schools for economics majors on our list are public colleges and universities. (Leave it to economics majors to find a good value, right?)

Economics majors at The University of California, Berkeley can also expect ROIs that rank highly. Even out-of-state Cal students see an excellent return on investment despite much higher tuition.

America’s eighth-oldest university and “The Birthplace of College Football,”

Looking at the numbers from the College ROI Report, economics majors can surely count on a decent return on their educational dollars, especially from these top-tier schools. Consider a higher education in economics because the career opportunities are nearly limitless and are in high demand, plus you’ll get your money’s worth.


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