Best Value Colleges in Wisconsin

Up north in the Badger State, many schools offer incredible value for the cost of their college educations. They also enjoy close proximity to a number of vibrant, cosmopolitan cities, two Great Lakes, thousands of smaller inland lakes and huge expanses of pristine, natural wilderness. Given the state’s reputation as America’s Dairyland, those who attend school here also enjoy easy access to some of the best cheeses and other dairy products in the world. Whether you’d like to attend school in Wisconsin because of its high college ROI or simply because you enjoy eating lots of cheese, consider using PayScale’s data to determine the best value colleges in Wisconsin before you apply.

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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
17.4%7.2%11.1%10.6%$611,000$602,000$705,000$696,000$193,000$202,00064%4$31,00026%
1Milwaukee School of Engineering(Private)
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI11.1%
Annual ROI10.6%
20 Year Net ROI$611,000
20 Year Net ROI$602,000
20 Year Net ROI$705,000
20 Year Net ROI$696,000
Total 4 Year Cost$193,000
Total 4 Year Cost$202,000
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$31,000
Grant Money Received26%
210.3%10.3%11.3%11.3%$451,000$450,000$463,000$463,000$73,300$73,90054%5$27,40025%
2University of Wisconsin-Platteville(In-State)
Annual ROI10.3%
Annual ROI10.3%
Annual ROI11.3%
Annual ROI11.3%
20 Year Net ROI$451,000
20 Year Net ROI$450,000
20 Year Net ROI$463,000
20 Year Net ROI$463,000
Total 4 Year Cost$73,300
Total 4 Year Cost$73,900
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$27,400
Grant Money Received25%
38.7%8.7%10.4%10.4%$423,000$423,000$449,000$449,000$98,200$98,30085%4$30,30012%
3University of Wisconsin-Madison(In-State)
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI8.7%
Annual ROI10.4%
Annual ROI10.4%
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
20 Year Net ROI$449,000
20 Year Net ROI$449,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,200
Total 4 Year Cost$98,300
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,300
Grant Money Received12%
48.4%8.4%9.1%9.1%$420,000$420,000$432,000$432,000$104,000$105,00054%5$27,40025%
4University of Wisconsin-Platteville(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROI9.1%
20 Year Net ROI$420,000
20 Year Net ROI$420,000
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$105,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$27,400
Grant Money Received25%
55.7%5.4%8.0%7.5%$411,000$399,000$483,000$471,000$204,000$216,00081%4$36,50018%
5Marquette University(Private)
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI5.4%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI7.5%
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
20 Year Net ROI$399,000
20 Year Net ROI$483,000
20 Year Net ROI$471,000
Total 4 Year Cost$204,000
Total 4 Year Cost$216,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$36,500
Grant Money Received18%
69.0%9.0%10.1%10.0%$357,000$357,000$371,000$370,000$77,200$77,60068%5$29,20022%
6University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire(In-State)
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI10.1%
Annual ROI10.0%
20 Year Net ROI$357,000
20 Year Net ROI$357,000
20 Year Net ROI$371,000
20 Year Net ROI$370,000
Total 4 Year Cost$77,200
Total 4 Year Cost$77,600
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,200
Grant Money Received22%
75.7%5.7%6.6%6.6%$349,000$349,000$375,000$375,000$172,000$172,00085%4$30,30012%
7University of Wisconsin-Madison(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.6%
20 Year Net ROI$349,000
20 Year Net ROI$349,000
20 Year Net ROI$375,000
20 Year Net ROI$375,000
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,300
Grant Money Received12%
87.2%7.2%8.0%7.9%$327,000$327,000$341,000$340,000$107,000$108,00068%5$29,20022%
8University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI7.9%
20 Year Net ROI$327,000
20 Year Net ROI$327,000
20 Year Net ROI$341,000
20 Year Net ROI$340,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,200
Grant Money Received22%
95.6%5.8%9.6%9.9%$324,000$328,000$408,000$412,000$162,000$158,00046%5$28,70040%
9Cardinal Stritch University(Private)
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI5.8%
Annual ROI9.6%
Annual ROI9.9%
20 Year Net ROI$324,000
20 Year Net ROI$328,000
20 Year Net ROI$408,000
20 Year Net ROI$412,000
Total 4 Year Cost$162,000
Total 4 Year Cost$158,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$28,700
Grant Money Received40%
108.5%8.5%9.7%9.7%$318,000$318,000$332,000$332,000$76,600$76,60054%5$29,10026%
10University of Wisconsin-Stout(In-State)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI9.7%
Annual ROI9.7%
20 Year Net ROI$318,000
20 Year Net ROI$318,000
20 Year Net ROI$332,000
20 Year Net ROI$332,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,600
Total 4 Year Cost$76,600
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,100
Grant Money Received26%
117.6%7.4%9.0%8.8%$302,000$299,000$324,000$321,000$91,600$94,80040%5$29,20036%
11University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee(In-State)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI8.8%
20 Year Net ROI$302,000
20 Year Net ROI$299,000
20 Year Net ROI$324,000
20 Year Net ROI$321,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,600
Total 4 Year Cost$94,800
Grad Rate40%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,200
Grant Money Received36%
126.7%6.7%7.5%7.5%$287,000$287,000$301,000$301,000$108,000$108,00054%5$29,10026%
12University of Wisconsin-Stout(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI7.5%
20 Year Net ROI$287,000
20 Year Net ROI$287,000
20 Year Net ROI$301,000
20 Year Net ROI$301,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,100
Grant Money Received26%
13 (tie)5.6%5.5%6.6%6.4%$262,000$259,000$284,000$281,000$132,000$135,00040%5$29,20036%
13 (tie)University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROI5.5%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.4%
20 Year Net ROI$262,000
20 Year Net ROI$259,000
20 Year Net ROI$284,000
20 Year Net ROI$281,000
Total 4 Year Cost$132,000
Total 4 Year Cost$135,000
Grad Rate40%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$29,200
Grant Money Received36%
13 (tie)8.1%7.3%9.5%8.5%$262,000$252,000$278,000$267,000$70,400$81,30057%5$27,80027%
13 (tie)University of Wisconsin-Whitewater(In-State)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI9.5%
Annual ROI8.5%
20 Year Net ROI$262,000
20 Year Net ROI$252,000
20 Year Net ROI$278,000
20 Year Net ROI$267,000
Total 4 Year Cost$70,400
Total 4 Year Cost$81,300
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$27,800
Grant Money Received27%
158.0%8.0%9.0%9.0%$260,000$260,000$272,000$272,000$71,400$71,40068%5$26,20021%
15University of Wisconsin-La Crosse(In-State)
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI9.0%
20 Year Net ROI$260,000
20 Year Net ROI$260,000
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$71,400
Total 4 Year Cost$71,400
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$26,200
Grant Money Received21%

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

The Milwaukee School of Engineering is a yearly contender in terms of the best value colleges in the state of Wisconsin. Unlike most colleges that top our list, MSOE is a private not-for-profit college with an enrollment of only around 2,500 graduate and undergraduate students. MSOE is located on 22 acres of downtown Milwaukee.

In the category of public colleges, a good bet is the University of Wisconsin Platteville campus. Of course, Platteville isn’t the only campus of the University of Wisconsin, but it is usually the campus with the highest ROI. Other UW campuses include UW Madison, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Stout, Milwaukee, Whitewater, Parkside and the Oshkosh campus.

One of the more well-known colleges in Wisconsin is Marquette University. Marquette is a private college, also located in Milwaukee, with an enrollment of about 11,000 students. Unlike most colleges in Wisconsin, most students finish their degrees within four years at Marquette.

In addition to having as much cheese within your reach as you could ever want, the state of Wisconsin offers a diverse character that makes so many Wisconsinites happy to call this place home. Heritage is very important in this state, as evident by the many festivals and attractions put on throughout the year. During the summer, Wisconsin students from all over come together to enjoy things like Summerfest, Oktoberfest, Polish Fest, Cheese Days, and Irish Fest. Did we mention there is a festival completely dedicated to cheese?

If cheese doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps consider the fact that Wisconsin is home to some pretty amazing sport teams. In the fall, students can enjoy watching the Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field. Not into football? The Milwaukee Brewers baseball team is sure to entertain. The landscape of Wisconsin also allows for many recreational activities in the winter months, including lots of cross-country skiing and even snowmobile derbies.


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