Best Value Sober Schools

If you’re planning to spend more time studying and less time doing keg-stands, a more socially conservative college or ‘sober school’ will likely be on your list. While many colleges and universities across the United States are known as partying havens — especially for undergraduates — a select minority have strong policies regarding alcohol.

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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
1N/AN/AN/AN/A$1,041,000N/A$1,041,000N/A$0N/A86%4N/AN/A
1United States Military Academy(Service Academy)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,041,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,041,000
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
2N/AN/AN/AN/A$1,004,000N/A$1,004,000N/A$0N/A86%4N/AN/A
2United States Naval Academy(Service Academy)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,004,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$1,004,000
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
3N/AN/AN/AN/A$905,000N/A$905,000N/A$0N/A83%4N/AN/A
3United States Air Force Academy(Service Academy)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$905,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$905,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$0
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4
Loan AmtN/A
Grant Money ReceivedN/A
4N/AN/AN/AN/A$714,000N/A$714,000N/A$0N/A87%4N/AN/A
4United States Coast Guard Academy(Service Academy)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$714,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$714,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$0
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4
Loan AmtN/A
Grant Money ReceivedN/A
56.6%6.6%9.3%9.3%$632,000$632,000$732,000$731,000$247,000$247,00087%4$33,30025%
5Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art(Private)
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI9.3%
Annual ROI9.3%
20 Year Net ROI$632,000
20 Year Net ROI$632,000
20 Year Net ROI$732,000
20 Year Net ROI$731,000
Total 4 Year Cost$247,000
Total 4 Year Cost$247,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$33,300
Grant Money Received25%
66.4%6.3%10.6%10.4%$577,000$571,000$705,000$699,000$236,000$241,00071%5$27,30032%
6Illinois Institute of Technology(Private)
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI6.3%
Annual ROI10.6%
Annual ROI10.4%
20 Year Net ROI$577,000
20 Year Net ROI$571,000
20 Year Net ROI$705,000
20 Year Net ROI$699,000
Total 4 Year Cost$236,000
Total 4 Year Cost$241,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$27,300
Grant Money Received32%
78.2%8.2%9.6%9.6%$399,000$399,000$424,000$424,000$105,000$105,00081%4$46,7000%
7Grove City College(Private)
Annual ROI8.2%
Annual ROI8.2%
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROI9.6%
20 Year Net ROI$399,000
20 Year Net ROI$399,000
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
Total 4 Year Cost$105,000
Total 4 Year Cost$105,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$46,700
Grant Money Received0%
84.0%4.0%6.4%6.4%$268,000$268,000$349,000$350,000$224,000$223,00074%4$49,10015%
8Baylor University(Private)
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI6.4%
20 Year Net ROI$268,000
20 Year Net ROI$268,000
20 Year Net ROI$349,000
20 Year Net ROI$350,000
Total 4 Year Cost$224,000
Total 4 Year Cost$223,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$49,100
Grant Money Received15%
94.0%4.0%7.3%7.3%$265,000$265,000$365,000$365,000$219,000$219,00074%4$35,70035%
9Simmons College(Private)
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.3%
20 Year Net ROI$265,000
20 Year Net ROI$265,000
20 Year Net ROI$365,000
20 Year Net ROI$365,000
Total 4 Year Cost$219,000
Total 4 Year Cost$219,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$35,700
Grant Money Received35%
106.5%6.4%7.9%7.7%$240,000$238,000$262,000$260,000$95,700$97,80059%5$28,70031%
10Bridgewater State University(In-State)
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI7.9%
Annual ROI7.7%
20 Year Net ROI$240,000
20 Year Net ROI$238,000
20 Year Net ROI$262,000
20 Year Net ROI$260,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Total 4 Year Cost$97,800
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received31%
114.3%4.3%7.2%7.2%$230,000$230,000$303,000$303,000$173,000$173,00077%4$27,40027%
11Calvin College(Private)
Annual ROI4.3%
Annual ROI4.3%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI7.2%
20 Year Net ROI$230,000
20 Year Net ROI$230,000
20 Year Net ROI$303,000
20 Year Net ROI$303,000
Total 4 Year Cost$173,000
Total 4 Year Cost$173,000
Grad Rate77%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,400
Grant Money Received27%
125.3%5.2%6.3%6.2%$216,000$214,000$238,000$235,000$120,000$122,00059%5$28,70031%
12Bridgewater State University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI5.2%
Annual ROI6.3%
Annual ROI6.2%
20 Year Net ROI$216,000
20 Year Net ROI$214,000
20 Year Net ROI$238,000
20 Year Net ROI$235,000
Total 4 Year Cost$120,000
Total 4 Year Cost$122,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received31%
133.9%3.9%6.5%6.5%$203,000$203,000$272,000$272,000$178,000$178,00091%4$28,40020%
13Wheaton College (Illinois)(Private)
Annual ROI3.9%
Annual ROI3.9%
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.5%
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$178,000
Total 4 Year Cost$178,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,400
Grant Money Received20%
142.4%2.4%6.5%6.5%$145,000$144,000$276,000$275,000$240,000$240,00067%4$24,50039%
14Mills College(Private)
Annual ROI2.4%
Annual ROI2.4%
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.5%
20 Year Net ROI$145,000
20 Year Net ROI$144,000
20 Year Net ROI$276,000
20 Year Net ROI$275,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,500
Grant Money Received39%
153.1%3.1%6.3%6.1%$114,000$112,000$175,000$173,000$135,000$136,00042%5$25,80060%
15Xavier University of Louisiana(Private)
Annual ROI3.1%
Annual ROI3.1%
Annual ROI6.3%
Annual ROI6.1%
20 Year Net ROI$114,000
20 Year Net ROI$112,000
20 Year Net ROI$175,000
20 Year Net ROI$173,000
Total 4 Year Cost$135,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$25,800
Grant Money Received60%

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

The majority of colleges and universities that restrict the use of alcohol on campus are affiliated with various religions, but some of them simply have more conservative reputations and ideologies. Students who prefer to steer clear of alcohol may have fewer schools to choose from, but there are certainly options. PayScale’s rankings for the best value sober schools in the country are based on The Princeton Review’s list of the top 20 sober schools in the United States.

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, is frequently on our list of best sober schools when it comes to ROI. BYU, or ‘The Y’, is closely affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints. The LDS faith, or Mormon faith, expressly prohibits the use of alcohol, and the honor code of BYU — whose student population is 98 percent Mormon — reflects this. Students are expected to abstain from drinking alcohol and may be warned or expelled for failing to do so. The university’s 11 colleges and schools span a number of programs, including engineering, law, management and the liberal arts. Perennially named the #1 ‘Stone-Cold Sober School’ in the U.S. by the Princeton Review, BYU offers a sober schools return on investment students can benefit from enormously.

Despite not being a private school or being affiliated with any particular religion, the University of Houston is among the best value sober schools students can attend. Through the years, the school has earned a reputation for not being much of a party school, which may explain why it appears on Princeton Review’s list of the Top 20 Sober Schools.

Grove City College, a private, non-denominational Christian college in Grove City, Pennsylvania, has a strong alcohol use policy. Essentially, students are not permitted to partake on campus. Located about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, the small college strives to provide a “thoroughly Christian environment,” which explains why alcohol use is frowned upon. Offering 55 majors in the liberal arts, engineering and the sciences, Grove City College has many strong think tank connections and offers more than 150 clubs and organizations for students.


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