With the costs of college continuing to climb, figuring out whether a school is a good investment is paramount for many when choosing the right place to earn a degree.

PayScale.com has released its annual list ranking how colleges fare in terms of return on investment. The list is a good resource for parents and students to consult when making a decision.

In the end, college is about more than dollars and cents, of course. But it’s hard to ignore the data in PayScale’s list. It might be worth considering whether being saddled with student loan debt is worth it for a school whose graduates earn less than students from other schools.

The methodology PayScale used to compare 962 schools in the U.S. includes only data on graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees. It calculates 20-year ROI by taking the difference between the 20-year median pay for a 2015 graduate and the 24-year median pay for a 2015 high school graduate, then subtracting the 4-year cost of attending the college. Most of the schools on this list have a negative ROI.

Some public schools made this list separately for in-state and out-of-state grads; in those cases we eliminated the out-of-state numbers from our ranking. But the out-of-state grads, with higher tuition, fared worse.

Continue reading to learn about 30 colleges for the worst ROI…

 

Trask Hall: One of the academic buildings on Evangel’s campus.

30. Evangel University

Location: Springfield, Missouri

20-Year Net ROI: $4,430

4-Year Cost: $127,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $30,300

Photo: Trask Hall is one of the academic buildings on Evangel’s campus. (evangel.edu)

 

29. Buena Vista University

Location: Storm Lake, Iowa

20-Year Net ROI: $1,300

4-Year Cost: $160,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $34,300

The Isley Brothers, Ronald, left, and Ernie, right, receive honorary doctor of music degrees from Berklee College of Music during commencement ceremonies in Boston, Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

28. Berklee College of Music

Location: Boston

20-Year Net ROI: ($3,700)

4-Year Cost: $231,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $62,000

Photo: The Isley Brothers, Ronald, left, and Ernie, right, receive honorary doctor of music degrees from Berklee College of Music during commencement ceremonies in Boston on May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) 

 

27. Ripon College

Location: Ripon, Wisconsin

20-Year Net ROI: ($5,100)

4-Year Cost: $168,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $35,400

Nazareth College of Rochester

26. Nazareth College of Rochester

Location: Rochester, New York

20-Year Net ROI: ($6,900)

4-Year Cost: $173,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $35,000

Photo: Nazareth College 2016 commencement (Facebook.com/NazarethCollege)

 

25. The College of Saint Rose

Location: Albany, New York

20-Year Net ROI: ($7,100)

4-Year Cost: $166,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $30,700

Chatham University photo from Wikipedia Commons

24. Chatham University

Location: Pittsburgh

20-Year Net ROI: ($7,200)

4-Year Cost: $182,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $23,500

Photo: Chatham University features a campus labyrinth. (Wikimedia Commons) 

 

23. Manfield University

Location: Mansfield, Pennsylvania

20-Year Net ROI: ($7,300)

4-Year Cost: $132,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $33,700

Photo: The Gateway building designed by RTKL Associates, Inc. is one of several noteworthy pieces of architecture at MICA. (Wikipedia Commons)

22. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Location: Baltimore

20-Year Net ROI: ($8,100)

4-Year Cost: $216,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $34,200

Photo: The Gateway building designed by RTKL Associates, Inc. is one of several noteworthy pieces of architecture at MICA. (Wikipedia Commons)

 

21. Elizabeth City State University (in state)

Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina

20-Year Net ROI: ($9,000)

4-Year Cost: $49,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $19,500

University of Hawaii at Hilo is No. 20 on the list of college with the worst ROI.

20. University of Hawaii at Hilo (out of state)

Location: Hilo

20-Year Net ROI: $10,000

4-Year Cost: $116,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $27,900

Photo: Some people would rather call this 10-branch university system, of which Hilo is one, ”Hawaii State University.” (By Vreed/Wikipedia Commons)

 

19. Clarke University

Location: Dubuque, Iowa

20-Year Net ROI: ($11,000)

4-Year Cost: $160,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $35,300

Photo: This is the view of Fields Hall, Camden-Carroll Library and Little Bell Tower on Morehead State University campus. (Wikipedia Commons)

18. (tie). Morehead State University (out of state)

Location: Morehead, Kentucky

20-Year Net ROI: ($14,000)

4-Year Cost: $119,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $24,200

Photo: This is the view of Fields Hall, Camden-Carroll Library and Little Bell Tower on the Morehead State University campus. (Wikipedia Commons)

 

17. (tie). University of North Carolina at Asheville (out of state)

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

20-Year Net ROI: ($14,000)

4-Year Cost: $129,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $23,400

Photo: The "Tiger" at the entrance to Grambling State University. (Billy Hathorn/Wikipedia Commons)

16. Grambling State University (in state)

Location: Grambling, Louisiana

20-Year Net ROI: ($17,000)

4-Year Cost: $88,900

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $30,300 

Photo: The “Tiger” at the entrance to Grambling State University. (Billy Hathorn/Wikipedia Commons)

 

15. College of New Rochelle

Location: New Rochelle, New York

20-Year Net ROI: ($20,000)

4-Year Cost: $187,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $23,700

Photo: U.S. Air Force Academy sophomore defenseman Brandon Johnson jostles for the puck with Mercyhurst left wing Nick Vandenbeld at the Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado. (U.S. Air Force/Wikipedia Commons)

14. Mercyhurst College

Location: Erie, Pennsylvania

20-Year Net ROI: ($23,000)

4-Year Cost: $176,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $31,500

Photo: U.S. Air Force Academy sophomore defenseman Brandon Johnson jostles for the puck with Mercyhurst University left wing Nick Vandenbeld. (U.S. Air Force/Wikipedia Commons)

 

13. Black Hills State University (in state)

Location: Spearfish, South Dakota

20-Year Net ROI: ($24,000)

4-Year Cost: $72,400

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $25,400

First lady Michelle Obama speaks during graduation ceremonies for Jackson State University's Class of 2016 at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, April 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

12. Jackson State University

Location: Jackson, Mississippi

20-Year Net ROI: ($24,000)

4-Year Cost: $116,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $33,300

Photo: First lady Michelle Obama speaks during graduation ceremonies for Jackson State University’s Class of 2016 at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, April 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

 

11. School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Location: Chicago

20-Year Net ROI: ($25,000)

4-Year Cost: $230,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $39,600

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was founded to serve American Indians. It is the only college in the nation exempted from a ban on using Indian nicknames and mascots in postseason tournaments. UNCP uses the nickname "Braves" and includes the bust of an American Indian with a hawk in its logo. (AP Photo/Steve Humbert)

8. University of North Carolina at Pembroke (out of state)

Location: Pembroke

20-Year Net ROI: ($25,000)

4-Year Cost: $105,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $20,900

Photo: The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was founded to serve American Indians. It is the only college in the nation exempted from a ban on using Indian nicknames and mascots in postseason tournaments. UNCP uses the nickname “Braves” and includes the bust of an American Indian with a hawk in its logo. (AP Photo/Steve Humbert)

 

7. Saint Francis University

Location: Loretto, Pennsylvania

20-Year Net ROI: ($26,000)

4-Year Cost: $177,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $41,700

More than 100 fans filled the stands for a baseball game between Goshen College and Sienna Heights in Goshen, Indiana on Tues., March 23, 2010. The national anthem was played before this game for the first time at the Mennonite-affiliated school. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

6. Goshen College

Location: Goshen, Ind.

20-Year Net ROI: ($29,000)

4-Year Cost: $159,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $36,500

Photo: More than 100 fans filled the stands for a baseball game between Goshen College and Sienna Heights in Goshen, Indiana on Tues., March 23, 2010. The national anthem was played before this game for the first time at the Mennonite-affiliated school. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

 

5. SUNY — College at Potsdam (in state)

Location: Potsdam, New York

20-Year Net ROI: ($34,000)

4-Year Cost: $82,700

Typical Years to Graduate: 4

Average Loan Amount: $27,000

In this March 2013 file photo, running back Marcus Lattimore, center, speaks with the media during the University of South Carolina's NFL football pro day (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, File)

4. University of South Carolina – Aiken Campus  (in state)

Location: Aiken

20-Year Net ROI: ($40,000)

4-Year Cost: $83,800

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $23,000

Photo: In this March 2013 photo, running back Marcus Lattimore, center, speaks with the media during the University of South Carolina’s NFL football pro day. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, File)

 

3. Fayetteville State University (in state)

Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina

20-Year Net ROI: ($58,000)

4-Year Cost: $54,500

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $22,600

Photo: Built in the Federal style in 1823, the King House is the oldest building on the University of Montevallo campus, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1972. (Rivers Langley/Wikipedia Commons)

2. University of Montevallo (in state)

Location: Montevallo, Alabama

20-Year Net ROI: ($77,000)iv

4-Year Cost: $86,100

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $24,000

Photo: Built in the Federal style in 1823, the King House is the oldest building on the University of Montevallo campus, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1972. (Rivers Langley/Wikipedia Commons)

 

1. Shaw University

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

20-Year Net ROI: ($110,000)

4-Year Cost: $111,000

Typical Years to Graduate: 5

Average Loan Amount: $3,500

 

See also:

30 worst paying college majors: 2016

Top 20 undergraduate business schools

6 best colleges for insurance majors

 

Are you following us on Facebook?