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Get Your Money’s Worth With These 10 Colleges With The Best ROI

Getting into a college with the best ROI is a must. 

Over the last decade, America’s views on a college education have soured- seeing it as an unnecessary expense. Parents are no longer content with just diversity and a sound curriculum; they want to ensure they get their money’s worth by commencement time.

With the average student debt of $28,950 and only 11% of employers confident graduates are ready for the workforce, institutions of higher learning must show they can deliver corporate-ready adults in four years. 

But with so many colleges and universities, it’s hard to know which ones will return the investment.

As part of our commitment to education, we’ve looked through the top-ranking lists on the web to bring you the top 10 colleges that will give you the most bang for your buck, and we’ll provide you with our secret tool- so you can make sure the college of your choice makes the cut. 

Let’s get started.

What is ROI in US Universities?

ROI or return on investment for US universities is also known as Threshold 0. 

In our article “The Value of a College Education Is Still Worth it in 2023! Here’s Why,” we discussed it in depth. Essentially, it boils down to whether students are better off financially than if they had not attended college at all.

Students have to be able to return their investment to their college education and then some within a specified amount of time. This article covers the ROI within ten years and again 40 years post-graduation. 

What is a Good ROI?

This question is complicated.

Colleges and universities vary in tuition. Not only that, but programs within those institutions may also vary in cost, so what each individual invests in their education can be completely different from one individual to the next. 

A good ROI, then, is determined by how much the person pays in tuition and fees for their length of study and how long it takes to make it back. 

Just know that there are schools with unfavorable ROIs, and those are the ones you want to avoid. Georgetown has created an invaluable database with thousands of schools nationwide and their ROIs- this is our top-secret tool, which you can use to ensure your school of choice passes muster.

Colleges With The Best ROI

As of the 2020-2021 school year, there are 2,520 four year and 1,216 two-year colleges and universities in the United States- and this doesn’t include online programs that provide professional certifications.

There are many universities with the same ten and 40-year returns, but these are the most highly recognized ten ranked by their net present value of ten years.

1.Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT

Location: Cambridge, MA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 4%

Graduation Rate: 98%

Av. Tuition: $59,750

ROI After 10 Years: $406k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.4M Massachusetts Institute of Technology was ranked #2 in U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of the nation’s best colleges and universities. With a student body of about 11,000 students, it ranked first in undergraduate computer science programs and number two in undergraduate business.

 

2. California Institute of Technology CA Institute of Tech

Location: Pasadena, CA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 5%

Graduation Rate: 94%

Av. Tuition: $60,816

ROI After 10 Years: $388k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.5M

Located in sunny California, Caltech is a powerhouse in a small campus, with an enrollment of only 2,000 students and a student faculty ratio of three to one. Regionally accredited, Caltech offers 29 bachelor’s degrees and holds three top ten programs in the nation: engineering, chemical engineering and philosophy.

 

3.Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Albany School of Pharma

Location: Albany, NY

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Graduation Rate: 68%

Av. Tuition: $39,100

ROI After 10 Years: $376k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.6M

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences was founded in 1881, and has the smallest student body on this list with less than 600 students. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in diversity with a 48% minority enrollment. Twenty five states and nine countries are represented in the class of 2026, and compared to the national average its fall to fall retention rate is 85%.

 

4.Stanford Stanford

Location: Stanford, CA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 5%

Graduation Rate: 95%

Av. Tuition: $55,473

ROI After 10 Years: $367k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.2M

Stanford University was ranked #3 in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings. Established in the 1800, this large private institution has a student population of about 16,000 and a student faculty ratio of four to one. Although acceptance rates vary depending on academic programs, the school pledges a zero parent contribution for families with income below $100,000, making sure all expenses are paid through need-based scholarships, grants and outside scholarship funds. 

 

5.Harvey Mudd College harvey mudd

Location: Claremont, CA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Graduation Rate: 81%

Av. Tuition: $65,954

ROI After 10 Years: $328k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.3M

Harvey Mudd College is a small private college with less than a thousand students enrolled as undergraduates. For the past six years, Harvey Mudd has been in the first and second spot of Princeton’s Review “Top 20 Best Career Placement (Private) List,” and has placed in the top ten for “Top 50 Best Value Colleges (Private) List” and “Top 20 Best Schools for Internships (Private Schools.” It also meets 100% of demonstrated needs for all students, 70% of which receive either need based or merit based awards, or both.

 

6.Merchant Marine Academy Merchant Marine Academy

Location: Kings Point, NY

School Type: Public

Acceptance Rate: 24%

Graduation Rate: 91%

Tuition: $11,454

ROI After 10 Years: $321k

ROI After 40 Years: $1.8M

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is a federal service academy, designed to produce Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers for the US Armed Forces. Not only are students required to do more coursework than any other academy, they also serve time aboard commercial and military vessels. At the end of their tenure, every student leaves with a bachelors of science, a U.S. Coast Guard license and an officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

7.University of Pennsylvania pennsylvania-campus

Location: Philadelphia, PA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Graduation Rate: 96%

Avg Tuition: $63,452

ROI After 10 Years: $277k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.2M

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania, is a medium-sized university in the heart of the city of brotherly love. Their student body clocks in at about 27,000- this is both in person and online students. Its sports program is known nationwide and the school works closely with the West Philadelphia area to support their community services projects and advocacy groups.

 

8.Babson CollegeBabson

Location: Wellesley, MA

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Graduation Rate: 92%

Avg Tuition: $56,032

ROI After 10 Years: $244k

ROI After 40 Years: $2.2M 

Babson College packs a wallop for its size. Although its student body is only about 2,000, it has been named by U.S. News & World Report as the number one school for entrepreneurship and by The Wall Street as the number one in career preparation. In fact 87% of their students received a job offer within three months of graduating and 98.7% of graduates are employed within six. 

 

9.Colorado School of MinesColorado School of Mines

Location: Golden, Colorado

School Type: Public

Acceptance Rate: 55%

Graduation Rate: 84%

In-State Tuition: $16,650

Out of State Tuition: $37,350

ROI After 10 Years: $234k

ROI After 40 Years: $1.9M

Colorado School of Mines has been named the number one college in Colorado for 2024. Despite its serious commitment to applied science and engineering, this public research university does school in a very unique way. Orediggers as the students are called, participate in a traditional hike up Mt. Zion, attend Oredigger Camp and contribute to any number of collaborative projects with real world implications.

 

10.Georgetown University Georgetown

Location: Washington, DC 

School Type: Private

Acceptance Rate: 17%

Graduation Rate: 94%

Avg Tuition: $57,384

ROI After 10 Years: $234k

ROI After 40 Years: $1.9M

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in the US, dating back to 1772. Despite its large student body of nearly 20,000, they still maintain a respectable student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1. Its rich history makes it one of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

Invest In Yourself

College is a serious investment and one that can’t be taken lightly.

A college education can break glass ceilings, bring change to communities, and empower others to right injustice unchecked. 

But with inflation at an all-time high and job security tenuous, choosing the right college or university to make the investment worthwhile is paramount.

While these are the ten colleges with the best ROI, many options with equal returns across the nation are waiting for you to choose them.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” so take your time, friends, and invest yourself in a college that will empower you to make a difference in your community and beyond. 

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