As some colleges open their campuses back up for the fall or prepare to teach students remotely, Business Insider decided to look at which give students the best return on investment, based on post-grad salary and tuition figures.
To do this, we used the most recent available data from the Department of Education’s Scorecard that has figures like cost of tuition, enrollment, and student debt. We created a ratio of median earnings from 10 years after first attending college to the average cost of attendance.
Earnings data is from federally aided students and cost is from “full-time, first-time, degree-/certificate-seeking undergraduates who receive Title IV aid,” according to Department of Education’s notes on the available data. We only included schools that are mainly considered four-year, bachelor degree colleges and have at least 1,000 undergraduate students enrolled.
It is important to note that this is a simple ratio that doesn’t take into account other factors that might influence return on investment from college, such as the type of degree a student earned or whether they are receiving financial aid.
Educational news site Inside Higher Ed notes that colleges that have the best return on investment after 10 years may not be the same as those after 40 years, based on Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce’s own return on investment report. Researchers found public universities had a better return over 10 years than private nonprofit universities, although these private schools had a better return over 40 years. Similarly, a lot of public universities made the top of our list.
The following are the 24 colleges with the best return on investment, expressed as a percentage based on our calculated ratios of 10-year earnings to average costs. We multiplied our costs by four to get an estimate of a typical four-year cost. Online-only colleges, maritime colleges, and some specialized colleges are excluded from our analysis. We also included the most recent figures of undergraduate student enrollment from the Department of Education.