Best Value Party Colleges

As the holder of a degree from a so-called “party school,” this writer knows it’s possible to balance all-night study sessions with the occasional social gathering and libation — read: “kegger” — and still receive a great education at a good value.

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RankSchool Name20 Year Net ROI
Total 4 Year Cost
Graduation Rate
Typical Years to Graduate
Average Loan Amount
Rank:1School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$713,000Total 4 Year Cost:$240,000Graduation Rate:89%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$37,400
Rank:2School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$635,000Total 4 Year Cost:$257,000Graduation Rate:88%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$32,700
Rank:3School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$622,000Total 4 Year Cost:$255,000Graduation Rate:90%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$27,800
Rank:4School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$617,000Total 4 Year Cost:$118,000Graduation Rate:85%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$27,600
Rank:5School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$557,000Total 4 Year Cost:$178,000Graduation Rate:85%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$27,600
Rank:6School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$523,000Total 4 Year Cost:$139,000Graduation Rate:82%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$20,800
Rank:7School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$513,000Total 4 Year Cost:$106,000Graduation Rate:81%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$35,700
Rank:8School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$502,000Total 4 Year Cost:$254,000Graduation Rate:88%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$37,100
Rank:9School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$460,000Total 4 Year Cost:$81,600Graduation Rate:87%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$24,400
Rank:10School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$459,000Total 4 Year Cost:$258,000Graduation Rate:92%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$28,700

While students ostensibly choose to attend college to obtain a higher education, many also enjoy spending their downtime engaging in all kinds of revelry. We based our list of “Party Schools” on The Princeton Review’s list of the top 20 party schools in the country. If your favorite film is “Animal House,” and if you’d like to attend a school that has a reputation for partying, consider using PayScale’s data to zero in on the best value party schools before you submit your application.

Located about 70 miles from Philadelphia and about 85 miles from New York City, Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania happens to be one of the top partying schools in the country. The campus stretches across more than 2,300 acres, and the school is affiliated with Nobel laureates, Fulbright scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners. Ranked sixth on Princeton Review’s list of the top party schools, Lehigh University usually delivers exceptional ROI for students who like mixing business with pleasure.

Due largely in part to its annual Unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day festivities, which involve copious amounts of drinking and partying, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign often comes in high on the Princeton Review’s list of top party schools. A founding member of the Big 10 Conference, U of I, or UIUC, sprawls across a 4,552-acre campus and boasts a student population of more than 44,500 students. Its 17 colleges offer more than 150 programs of study, and one of its best-known alumni, Fazlor Rahman Kahn — the “Einstein of Structural Engineering” — designed both the John Hancock Tower and the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Private Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, is situated on 445 acres in an area that is largely rural and also happens to be the largest private liberal arts university in the country. Its three schools and colleges offer degrees spanning a wide range of fields, including engineering, the arts, the humanities, social science, music, education and management. Bucknell offers nearly 50 majors, more than 60 minors and more than 200 student clubs and organizations. Famous alumni include novelist Philip Roth and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, so the school clearly offers far more than a partying environment.