At What Cost Do Students See Return On Investment?

Career College Central summary:

  • PayScale’s annual contribution to college bragging-rights lists — the College ROI Report — ranks schools based on their returns on investment under various scenarios. But the rankings don’t answer a key question that must cross the minds of prospective students, and their parents, as they peruse the total cost figures for top-flight schools, which exceed $200,000 in some cases.
  • Based on the Payscale data for the top ROI schools — factoring in a student’s on- or off-campus housing choice, not including living with the family, and financial aid choices — the best 20-year net ROI was with on-campus housing and financial aid included, at $1.09 million. The winner? Harvey Mudd College, an engineering school.
  • The best annual ROI was also with on-campus housing and financial aid included: 17.6%. The winner: University of Virginia 's main campus, for in-state students. To partake in those top ROIs, a student would have to pay $116,800 in costs at Harvey Mudd and $25,880 at Virginia.
  • According to the Economist, college graduates between 25 and 32 who work full time make $17,500 more per year than people in the same age group who only finished high school — but due to student loan debt and the overall cost of higher education, many college graduates are faring worse than if they had never gone to college at all.
  • The ROI for 46 of the 153 arts degree programs examined by PayScale had a ROI worse than 20-year U.S. Treasury bills, including 18 with returns of less than zero, the Economist reported.

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