Best Value Private Colleges

A degree earned at a private college or university usually carries a certain degree of prestige, but that prestige often comes at a price; private schools can have shockingly high tuitions. That said, for certain students, the right private school can represent the best value in terms of college return on investment.

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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
18.5%N/A14.6%N/A$1,015,000N/A$1,182,000N/A$249,000N/A93%4$30,20015%
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.6%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,015,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,182,000
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%
27.9%N/A11.7%N/A$978,000N/A$1,114,000N/A$272,000N/A93%4$25,50011%
2Harvey Mudd College(Private)
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI11.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$978,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,114,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$272,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$25,500
Grant Money Received11%
37.9%7.9%12.7%12.9%$887,000$890,000$1,033,000$1,036,000$250,000$247,00094%4$30,90011%
3California Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROI12.7%
Annual ROI12.9%
20 Year Net ROI$887,000
20 Year Net ROI$890,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,033,000
20 Year Net ROI$1,036,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Total 4 Year Cost$247,000
Grad Rate94%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,900
Grant Money Received11%
49.3%9.0%11.5%11.1%$870,000$862,000$928,000$921,000$178,000$186,00071%6$54,50025%
4Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences(Private)
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI11.5%
Annual ROI11.1%
20 Year Net ROI$870,000
20 Year Net ROI$862,000
20 Year Net ROI$928,000
20 Year Net ROI$921,000
Total 4 Year Cost$178,000
Total 4 Year Cost$186,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate6
Loan Amt$54,500
Grant Money Received25%
57.6%7.7%10.4%10.6%$832,000$837,000$932,000$937,000$250,000$245,00083%5$26,70017%
5Stevens Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI7.7%
Annual ROI10.4%
Annual ROI10.6%
20 Year Net ROI$832,000
20 Year Net ROI$837,000
20 Year Net ROI$932,000
20 Year Net ROI$937,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Total 4 Year Cost$245,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$26,700
Grant Money Received17%
67.4%N/A15.1%N/A$811,000N/A$1,002,000N/A$255,000N/A94%4$32,20013%
6Stanford University(Private)
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$811,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,002,000
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%
77.3%N/A14.4%N/A$801,000N/A$987,000N/A$257,000N/A83%4$18,0004%
7Webb Institute(Private)
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI14.4%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$801,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$987,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$257,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$18,000
Grant Money Received4%
87.6%N/A15.0%N/A$797,000N/A$974,000N/A$240,000N/A97%4$18,10017%
8Princeton University(Private)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$797,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$974,000
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%
97.3%7.3%12.2%12.2%$793,000$793,000$941,000$941,000$254,000$254,00091%4$32,10014%
9Babson College(Private)
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI12.2%
Annual ROI12.2%
20 Year Net ROI$793,000
20 Year Net ROI$793,000
20 Year Net ROI$941,000
20 Year Net ROI$941,000
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,100
Grant Money Received14%
107.5%7.5%9.7%9.7%$777,000$779,000$858,000$860,000$242,000$240,00086%4$44,40014%
10Worcester Polytechnic Institute(Private)
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI9.7%
Annual ROI9.7%
20 Year Net ROI$777,000
20 Year Net ROI$779,000
20 Year Net ROI$858,000
20 Year Net ROI$860,000
Total 4 Year Cost$242,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$44,400
Grant Money Received14%
117.9%N/A10.0%N/A$766,000N/A$836,000N/A$215,000N/A53%5$44,20025%
11Kettering University(Private)
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI10.0%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$766,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$836,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$215,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$44,200
Grant Money Received25%
127.2%N/A15.1%N/A$760,000N/A$952,000N/A$254,000N/A97%4$27,40016%
12Harvard University(Private)
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$760,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$952,000
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%
137.4%7.4%9.4%9.4%$751,000$751,000$827,000$827,000$239,000$239,00082%4$45,80010%
13Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI9.4%
Annual ROI9.4%
20 Year Net ROI$751,000
20 Year Net ROI$751,000
20 Year Net ROI$827,000
20 Year Net ROI$827,000
Total 4 Year Cost$239,000
Total 4 Year Cost$239,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$45,800
Grant Money Received10%
146.9%6.9%13.0%13.0%$739,000$739,000$914,000$914,000$262,000$262,00095%4$28,60014%
14University of Pennsylvania(Private)
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI13.0%
Annual ROI13.0%
20 Year Net ROI$739,000
20 Year Net ROI$739,000
20 Year Net ROI$914,000
20 Year Net ROI$914,000
Total 4 Year Cost$262,000
Total 4 Year Cost$262,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,600
Grant Money Received14%
156.7%N/A13.2%N/A$707,000N/A$890,000N/A$265,000N/A97%4$24,70015%
15Dartmouth College(Private)
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI13.2%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$707,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$890,000
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%

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

Students seek out private universities and colleges for a number of reasons. Such schools tend to have very close-knit communities, and class sizes tend to be far smaller than those at public institutes of higher learning. If you’re considering enrolling at a privately funded university, consider using PayScale’s data to identify which school will give you the best return on your investment.

The California Institute of Technology — or “Caltech,” as it’s more commonly known — is a privately funded university that was founded in 1891. Located in Pasadena, California, Caltech consists of six academic divisions and offers 24 majors, or “options,” and six minors. Caltech has produced many accomplished alumni through the years, but Linus Pauling — recipient of two Nobel Prize awards — is probably the most notable. Furthermore, six alumni have received the Turing Award, which is considered the Nobel Prize of computer science.

One-third of all manned space flights have included graduates of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, so it’s easy to see why it’s among the best schools a person can select. Located in Cambridge, the private university almost always provides one of the best private school returns on investment you can find. Programs offered by its five schools and colleges span many fields, but the physical sciences and engineering are undoubtedly among the most popular. Since its founding in 1861, MIT has produced or been associated with more than 80 Nobel Laureates, 45 Rhodes Scholars, 52 National Medal of Science recipients and two Fields Medalists, so you would be hard-pressed to find a more prestigious engineering school offering this kind of value.

From its 38-acre campus in Claremont, California, Harvey Mudd College is another perennial high-ranker on our list. Founded in 1955, the highly regarded college hosts just 800 students per year. However, those who graduate go on to enjoy great earning potential. The school is a standout in many ways, but the fact that significant numbers of graduates go on to earn their PhDs is particularly noteworthy. Located about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, Harvey Mudd College offers four-year degrees in engineering, computer science, chemistry, mathematics and physics and counts many astronauts among its alumni.


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