College ROI Report: Best Value Colleges

With the average college student graduating with almost $30K in student loans, prospective college students, parents and policymakers are all trying to better understand the value of college education in the job market.  Read more here.

ROI Highlights

1. The top schools overall for college return on investment (not taking into account financial aid) are Harvey Mudd College, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Stevens Institute of Technology. When you factor in financial aid, Stanford comes in at #3 and bumps Stevens Institute of Technology into the #4 spot.

2. Engineering schools continue to dominate the top of the list. The schools ranked 1 through 4, overall, and 7 out of the top 10 schools, are engineering schools. The average 20-Year Net ROI for engineering schools is $677,500 while For Profit, Liberal Arts, Religious, Art, and Music & Design Schools all have an average 20-Year Net ROI of less than $250,000. Ivy League schools have the second highest average 20-Year Net ROI at $649,900.

3. The average 20-Year Net ROI for Party Schools, as defined by The Princeton Review, was slightly higher than the average for Soberstudents Schools ($354,400 vs. $336,000).

4. Alumni who majored in engineering, computer science & math or business fields or ended up working in business/finance or computer and math careers have the best chance of seeing a 20-Year Net ROI above $1 million.

5. State Schools dominate the list when sorted by 20-year Annualized ROI % which is indicative of their relative low cost when compared to Private Schools. Thirty-seven out of the top 40 schools, overall, for Annualized ROI have four-year on campus costs below $100,000. Brigham Young University (BYU), a private school, is the exception to the rule, ranking second overall on Annualized ROI. The average 20-year Annualized ROI of the included schools is 8.94%.

6. Ivy League alumni typically have lower-than-average student loan debt upon graduation but a 20 year net ROI above the 75th percentile. Columbia University is the exception with higher-than-average student loan debt of $32,720. However, the 20-year Net ROI is still very high for Columbia at $591,400. The percentage of students receiving loans at the Ivies is relatively small (only 6 percent for Yale and 9 percent for both Princeton and Harvard). The typical time to graduation for all Ivy League schools is the standard 4 years.

7. The 20-year Annualized ROI for both Apple (24.8%) and Microsoft (15.2%) beat out the Annualized ROI for all schools included in the report.

8. More than 88 percent of schools included in the report have a 20-year Annualized ROI higher than US Treasury Bonds (2.5%), but only 24 percent of schools included have an Annualized ROI higher than the S&P 500 (7.8%).

9. All public Engineering schools included in the report have a 20-year Annualized ROI above the Vanguard Total Stock Index (9.8%) while all private Engineering schools have an Annualized ROI that falls below it.

10. Texas, California, and Washington have the highest average percentage of alumni who stay and work in the state after graduation at 85%, 84%, and 78%, respectively. Vermont has the lowest average percentage of alumni who stay in the state at 19%.

NOTE: All 20-year Annualized ROI percentages for stocks are adjusted for dividends and splits

** This awesome data and article are from PayScale Human Capital!