May 27, 2013

Top 25 Best Value Colleges: 2013

Out of 1,511 schools studied, these 25 had the greatest payoff for graduates over the course of a 30-year career

Many factors can be used in determining which college to attend. Big school. Small school. Cost. Networking. Whether it offers the desired course of study. Whether graduates can expect a high starting salary.

All of those are fine, but with the cost of an education rising to astronomical heights, a better strategy might be to look at college the way you would view any other investment. Fortunately, payscale.com has collected data to determine how colleges fare in terms of return on investment (ROI), which some may call “bang for the buck” but ThinkAdvsior will call “best value.”

Most of the schools are private, but some state institutions made the list. In fact, three schools, including the top one on the list, made it twice, once each for in-state and out-of-state students.

The methodology payscale.com used to compare 1,511 schools in the U.S. includes only data on graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees. We thought it was interesting to look at the rankings based on annualized ROI. The annualized ROI, the site says, “is the earnings differential divided by the weighted cost for a 2012 graduate, annualized to represent the percent of expected ROI received each year after graduation.” For most schools, the confidence payscale.com has in its calculations is 90%, with an error rate of plus or minus 5%.

(Check out Top 30 Colleges for Highest Staring Salaries: 2013)

Here, then, are the Top 25 Best Value Colleges:

 SUNY-Binghamton

25. SUNY-BINGHAMTON

Location: Binghamton, N.Y.

Annual ROI: 8.7%

30-Year Net ROI: $861,700 (143rd)

2012 Cost: $80,640


24. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-LOWELL

Location: Lowell, Mass.

Annual ROI: 8.8%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,094,000 (50th)

2012 Cost: $97,130

William and Mary campus. (Photo: AP)

23. WILLIAM AND MARY

Location: Williamsburg, Va.

Annual ROI: 8.8%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,036,000 (65th)

2012 Cost: $92,910

 

22. UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA-FAIRBANKS

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

30-Year Net ROI: $841,300 (159th)

Annual ROI: 8.8%

2012 Cost: $75,130

Louisiana Tech

21. LOUISIANA TECH

Location: Ruston, La.

Annual ROI: 8.9%

30-Year Net ROI: $804,100 (184th)

2012 Cost: $69,980

 

20. OREGON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Location: Klamath Falls, Ore.

Annual ROI: 8.9%

30-Year Net ROI: $979,100 (85th)

2012 Cost: $84,510

Virginia tech campus. (Photo: AP)

19. VIRGINIA TECH

Location: Blacksburg, Va.

Annual ROI: 8.9%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,037,000 (63rd)

2012 Cost: $91,790

 

18. CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Annual ROI: 9%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,151,000 (37th)

2012 Cost: $97,730

Texas A&M football game. (Photo: AP)

17. TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

Location: College Station, Texas

Annual ROI: 9%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,057,000 (57th)

2012 Cost: $88,920

 

16. SOUTHERN POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

Location: Marietta, Ga.

Annual ROI: 9%

30-Year Net ROI: $934,500 (101st)

2012 Cost: $79,290

SUNY Maritime College campus at Fort Schuyler on the Throggs Neck peninsula.

15. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Location: Montgomery, W.Va.

Annual ROI: 9%

30-Year Net ROI: $904,300 (117th)

2012 Cost: $76,610

 

14. SUNY MARITIME COLLEGE
(out-of-state)

Location: Bronx, N.Y.

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,552,000 (7th)

2012 Cost: $124,800

Fans on field of BYU Stadium. (Photo: AP)

13. MONTANA TECH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA

Location: Butte, Mont.

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $985,100 (82nd)

2012 Cost: $78,130

 

12. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

Location: 1

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $982,000 (84th)

2012 Cost: $77,820

Stony Brook University sign.

11. STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

Location: Stony Brook, N.Y.

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,023,000 (70th)

2012 Cost: $82,620

 

10. MISSOURI UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Location: Rolla. Mo.

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,183,000 (33rd)

2012 Cost: $94,380

Massachusetts Maritime campus.

9. SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL OF MINES & TECHNOLOGY
(out-of-state)

Location: Rapid City, S.D.

Annual ROI: 9.2%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,217,000 (31st)

2012 Cost: $96,720

 

8. MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME ACADEMY

Location: Buzzards Bay, Mass.

Annual ROI: 9.5%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,316,000 (15th)

2012 Cost: $96,380

New Mexico Tech campus.

7. NEW MEXICO INSTITUTE OF MINING AND TECHNOLOGY

Location: Socorro, N.M.

Annual ROI: 9.6%

30-Year Net ROI: $999,500 (76th)

2012 Cost: $70,930

 

6. SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL OF MINES & TECHNOLOGY
(in-state)

Location: Rapid City, S.D.

Annual ROI: 9.7%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,228,000 (25th)

2012 Cost: $85,830

Colorado School of Mines sign. (Photo courtesy: Colorado School of Mines)

5. COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES

Location: Golden, Colo.

Annual ROI: 9.7

30-Year Net ROI: $1,574,000 (6th)

2012 Cost: $107,100

 

4. CUNY-BENARD M. BARUCH COLLEGE
(out-of-state)

Location: New York City

Annual ROI: 9.8%

30-Year Net ROI: $912,800 (115th)

2012 Cost: $60,330

Georgia Tech sign.

3. GEORGIA INSITIUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Location: Atlanta

Annual ROI: 10%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,389,000 (11th)

2012 Cost: $87,030

 

2. SUNY MARITIME COLLEGE
(in-state)

Location: Bronx, N.Y.

Annual ROI: 10.4%

30-Year Net ROI: $1,586,000 (5th)

2012 Cost: $90,530

Students in front of Bernard Baruch sign.

1. CUNY-BERNARD M. BARUCH COLLEGE
(in-state)

Location: New York City

Annual ROI: 10.6%

30-Year Net ROI: $924,100

2012 Cost: $49,060

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Check out more Top 10 lists at AdvisorOne:

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