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. 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.

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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
16.2%N/A11.4%N/A$619,000N/A$781,000N/A$263,000N/A94%4$26,10013%
1Georgetown University(Private)
Annual ROI6.2%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI11.4%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$619,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$781,000
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%
25.4%5.3%8.1%8.0%$475,000$474,000$577,000$576,000$257,000$258,00084%4$30,10014%
2George Washington University(Private)
Annual ROI5.4%
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI8.0%
20 Year Net ROI$475,000
20 Year Net ROI$474,000
20 Year Net ROI$577,000
20 Year Net ROI$576,000
Total 4 Year Cost$257,000
Total 4 Year Cost$258,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,100
Grant Money Received14%
3 (tie)5.0%5.0%8.5%8.5%$389,000$389,000$504,000$504,000$239,000$239,00081%4$31,70020%
3 (tie)American University(Private)
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.5%
20 Year Net ROI$389,000
20 Year Net ROI$389,000
20 Year Net ROI$504,000
20 Year Net ROI$504,000
Total 4 Year Cost$239,000
Total 4 Year Cost$239,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$31,700
Grant Money Received20%
3 (tie)5.0%5.0%7.5%7.5%$389,000$389,000$476,000$476,000$233,000$233,00070%4$37,50014%
3 (tie)Catholic University of America(Private)
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI7.5%
20 Year Net ROI$389,000
20 Year Net ROI$389,000
20 Year Net ROI$476,000
20 Year Net ROI$476,000
Total 4 Year Cost$233,000
Total 4 Year Cost$233,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$37,500
Grant Money Received14%
55.2%N/A8.7%N/A$300,000N/A$382,000N/A$169,000N/A61%5$31,40047%
5Howard University(Private)
Annual ROI5.2%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$300,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$382,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$169,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$31,400
Grant Money Received47%
62.1%2.1%7.3%7.3%$70,500$70,500$157,000$157,000$138,000$138,00043%5$21,80057%
6Gallaudet University(Private)
Annual ROI2.1%
Annual ROI2.1%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.3%
20 Year Net ROI$70,500
20 Year Net ROI$70,500
20 Year Net ROI$157,000
20 Year Net ROI$157,000
Total 4 Year Cost$138,000
Total 4 Year Cost$138,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$21,800
Grant Money Received57%
-N/A6.1%N/A7.3%N/A$287,000N/A$314,000N/A$128,00013%4$22,10059%
-University of the District of Columbia(Out-of-State)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI7.3%
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$287,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$314,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$128,000
Grad Rate13%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$22,100
Grant Money Received59%
-N/A7.1%N/A8.7%N/A$309,000N/A$336,000N/A$106,00013%4$22,10059%
-University of the District of Columbia(In-State)
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI8.7%
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$309,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$336,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$106,000
Grad Rate13%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$22,100
Grant Money Received59%

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

Founded in 1789, Georgetown University holds the distinction of being the oldest Catholic or Jesuit institute of higher learning in the United States. It has a law school in Capitol Hill, but its main campus is in DC’s upscale Georgetown neighborhood. 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. 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.

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. 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 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.


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