Best ROI: Comparing Tuition and Salary

As college tuition rises, many are asking: is it worth it? In our research of the question, we selected a number of universities across the United States and compared the cost of tuition with early-career (0-5 years) and mid-career (10+ years) salaries earned by graduates.

Given the lower cost of in-state tuitions, the top schools on our list were UC schools, specifically UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, and UCSC. Tuition for California students falls below $15k at all four of these campuses, while providing graduates of these colleges with a mid-career salary of around $100k. Of these schools, Berkeley has the best ratio of tuition to mid-career salary.

Beyond the most prestigious schools on our list (specifically Stanford and Harvard), we find next in our rankings Colorado School of Mines, Harvey Mudd, Babson and Claremont McKenna. All these colleges maintain a strong vocational focus. Colorado Mines and Harvey Mudd both provide students with a foundation in STEM, while Babson and Claremont McKenna offer a business foundation.

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