Of course, not all schools are created equally. And not all schools are valued equally in the marketplace. For graduates at some universities, it takes longer to see those full returns. For example, graduates of the Hult International Business School remain deep in the hole five years after graduation. With a total cost of $247,400 without any financial aid or scholarships, and a 2017 average starting salary of $33,680, graduates may still be $79,000 down from breaking even on the degree. Graduates of Providence College remain down $21,098 five years after graduation. Two other schools — Sacred Heart University and the University of Denver — remain in the red five years after graduation.
For students considering graduate school or a career change around five years after graduation, it’s almost a no-brainer that public schools are the best financial bet and value. Even schools that finished towards the bottom of our top 82 undergraduate business schools like Oklahoma State University and Kansas State University have much higher returns that top privates like Wharton and Tepper. The lower costs of attending publics for both in-state and out-of-state students offer huge early gains.
(See the chart below for five-year ROI data and the chart on the next page for all data from five to 30 years out.)