BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Return on Investment in college education is often a matter of personal preference. Each student has their own priorities and unique set of goals, says Cecilia M. Orphan, associate professor of higher education at the University of Denver.
She suggests students check out their preferred schools on the College Score Card, a site devoted to tracking school data on a variety of metrics. Students can look up how quickly they will be able to pay off their student loans at different schools as well as how many students end up working in their majors’ related fields.
“For some students, they want to have a close-knit campus environment where faculty know them by their names and where they have close relationships with their peers. Smaller campuses, like regional public universities and liberal arts colleges, may be the best way to achieve ROI for these students,” Orphan says in the report. “Students of color may want to go to a school where the faculty and students share their cultures so that they can relate to the people they are learning from and with. In these cases, a minority-serving institution might be a great fit. Still, other students desire educational offerings close to home that are flexible and tailored to their needs so that they do not have to disrupt their home and family life in order to pursue a degree. For these students, a regional public university or community college provides the best ROI.”
Overall, state colleges and universities will provide the best return on investment for the largest majority of students, says Cara Kronen, associate professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College-City University in New York.
“They have long offered families a vehicle toward social mobility and provide excellent value. If you or your child have your heart set on a big-name or expensive college or university, you might consider two years of public community college, where the student can earn an associate’s degree for very low tuition, and then transferring to a more expensive four-year school for the remainder of the bachelor’s degree,” Kronen says.
“Do not discount community colleges, they offer high-quality education at a very reasonable cost and generally no debt. They can be a good starting point for a student who is unsure of a career path or wants to pursue liberal arts.”
See the chart below for a list Wallet Hub’s 26-50th top schools and how they compare on several other metrics.
Poets&Quants also looked more closely at how these 50 schools stacked up against each other on Student Selectivity, Cost and Financing, Faculty Resource and Campus Experience, and Education and Career Outcomes. You can see those comparisons on the following pages. See the full rankings here.