Best Value Colleges in Washington DC

Despite its tiny size, in terms of best value colleges, Washington DC has some standouts, even if they are also some of the most expensive schools in the nation.

As the capital of the United States, Washington DC is a great place to attend college.  Read More

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1Georgetown University - Washington D.C.(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$586,000
Total 4 Year Cost$245,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,100
2American University - Washington D.C.(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$385,000
Total 4 Year Cost$225,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,400
3George Washington University (GWU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$383,000
Total 4 Year Cost$241,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
4Catholic University of America(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$372,000
Total 4 Year Cost$222,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$38,900
5Howard University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$343,000
Total 4 Year Cost$164,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,900
-Strayer University - Washington D.C.(Private)
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate26%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$924

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Notwithstanding its small size, the district is home to several schools that offer exceptional ROI, and as the home to a large number of government agencies and leading corporations, the city is the perfect place for networking. Whether you'd like to attend school in DC because you're interested in politics or if you're drawn there mostly for its high ROI schools, consider using PayScale's data to find the colleges in Washington, DC before submitting a single application.

Founded in 1789, Georgetown University holds the distinction of being the oldest Catholic or Jesuit institute of higher learning in the United States. Ranked 68th on the national list of 20 Year Net ROI colleges, Georgetown is one of the best value colleges in Washington DC and the nation. It has a law school in Capitol Hill, but its main campus is in DC's upscale Georgetown neighborhood. The cost of an education here will set you back an average of $245,000. However, Georgetown alumni report a median return of investment of $586,000 over the 20 years following graduation. That figure soars to $723,000 when financial aid is factored in. That high return on investment secures Georgetown as the best value college Washington DC has to offer. Known for its tradition of activism _ and for boasting one of the oldest debating clubs in the country _ Georgetown has produced many illustrious alumni, including President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Named the "Most Politically Active School" in the country by the Princeton Review in 2012, American University is an excellent choice for students who are interested in careers in international affairs and the like. With a 20 Year Net ROI of $385,000 -- $385,600 with financial aid -- the school is ranked 296th nationally but still offers the college return on investment Washington, DC students and their families desire. Its beautiful campus was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, of Central Park fame, and famous alumni include screenwriter Barry Levinson and David Gregory of Meet the Press, so you will be in excellent company as a student.

Ranked 300th on our list of best ROI colleges and universities, George Washington University has a reputation for producing alumni who go on to become millionaires. Because it's located in DC's Foggy Bottom neighborhood, GWU is just a short walk away from the White House. The average cost of earning a degree here is $241,000. However, the payoff is considerable, with a reported 20 Year Net ROI of $383,000 without financial aid and $491,000 with it. With more than 25,000 students, the largest university in the nation's capital boasts many famous and accomplished alumni, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Jackie Kennedy.

Located in Brookland, which is otherwise known as DC's "Little Rome," the Catholic University of America appears 322nd on our list. This places it near the top of the Washington DC ROI Report rankings. Although the average cost of an education from the school is $222,000, alumni report a median return of investment of $372,000 in the 20 years following graduation. That number increases to $446,000 when financial aid is included. Founded in 1887, the Catholic University of America is made up of 12 schools, including the Columbia School of Law, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Nursing. Two reigning popes have visited the university, whose tree-lined campus offers a bucolic reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city.