Colleges with the Best Return on Investment

Almost certainly the first question that’ll pop into your head after you find out exactly how much you’ll be paying for your child’s college education has to be…

“Just what am I getting for all this?”

Well in most cases the most obvious answer is… an education, room and board and hopefully preparation for a successful life after it’s all said and done.

But there’s another way of measuring just what exactly you’re paying for when it comes to college tuition and whether or not it’s worth it.

Experts are now reporting on what colleges and universities’ “return on investment” actually is.  That’s to say, it’s now being calculated what the average student tends to earn after graduating from a specific school. conducts the annual college ROI study and recently reported their latest results.   How do they arrive there?  Well Payscale takes the total cost of a student’s college career (tuition, books, room and board etc) and adds it up.  They do NOT,  however, assume a student will graduate in 4 years.

You see, it’s taking longer for students to get their college diploma these days.  Some take 4 years, some take 5, some take 6.  In fact, in 2009 USA Today reported that only 53% of college students receive their degree in 6 years.

So Payscale calculates the average college career time of each student at each school and arrives at the cost of their “total” tuition that way.

After that, the site pulled data from 1.4 million pay reports from college graduates of the last 20 years and measured what they earned over what they paid for their schooling.

Take a look at the top 10 schools:


As you probably could have guessed, there are two big trends here… technology and Ivy League education.



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Engineers, software developers and IT professionals in general have only become more and more in demand over the years.  Therefore the (hefty) cost of their education at schools like Cal Tech and M.I.T. often times turns out to be well worth it considering what they’re making after college.

The cache of an Ivy League education and the connections it brings along with it also helps to offset the expensive cost of attending college at one of these institutions.

A Harvard or Princeton degree opens doors to higher paying jobs than many other schools.  Is it fair?  Probably not, but it’s a reality.  The prestige factor still holds a lot of weight when it comes to hiring practices at places like high priced law firms or banks.

So what can you learn from this?  Well it pays to have a broad view when it comes to measuring whether or not a school’s price tag is worth it.

Don’t just base your decision on what your child is receiving during his or her specific career there… but what the school’s degree can bring to them AFTER they’ve left as well.

After all, isn’t that what you’re sending them to college for in the first place?

You can check out’s complete list of colleges that are worth your investment right here.  It’s a great piece of research.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold


Related Articles:

How to Pick the Right College in 2011

America’s 15 Best Colleges of 2011

What are the Top Colleges by Salary Potential?

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1 Comment

Ben OlweApril 16th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Excellent program.Keep up the good work!

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.