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Dr. Kat’s List: Five Colleges with Great ROI

The value of a college degree is a topic of constant debate and often something families consider when preparing for the college admissions process. There is no denying that a college education is one of the most important investment families will ever make.

Recently, students and parents have begun to look beyond the prestige of name-brand schools and given more consideration to institutions with reputations for the best return on investment.

If you’re looking for schools with great value and post-grad success, here are Dr. Kat’s choices of schools with great ROI!

Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
Consistently ranked as having the highest starting salaries for recent grads, Harvey Mudd College in California is one of the schools best known for offering a great ROI.

Harvey Mudd ranks #1 on PayScale’s 2013 College Education ROI Rankings list, with a 30-year net ROI of over $2.1 million. This private, liberal arts college for science, engineering, and mathematics has an average net price of $30,000 and graduates have an average starting salary of $73,300.

What makes Harvey Mudd so unique is its emphasis on liberal arts and social sciences in relation to STEM, so that students will understand the impact their work has on society. Students can choose from nine engineering, science and mathematics-based majors, with a core curriculum based heavily on humanities courses.

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
For students interested in a larger, public school with a great ROI, Texas A&M University in College Station, TX is a great fit.

With an average net price of $12,417 and an average starting salary of $51,900, Texas A&M is a great value with the benefits of a small college in a large university setting, including a strong liberal arts presence. Texas A&M is also one of the country’s top research universities in terms of funding, with more than $780 million in research expenditures.

Aggie grads are among the top-recruited in the nation, and undergraduates can choose from over 120 degree programs, including majors like Turfgrass Science and Agricultural Communications in the school’s world-famous College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Texas A&M is also known as having the most commissioned officers outside of the service academies, with more than 2,300 students in the school’s Corps of Cadets.

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Another lesser-known school with one of the best ROIs is Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. With an average net price of $21,980 and a 30-year net ROI of over $1.5 million, this public research university is a great investment for students interested in engineering and geosciences.

What makes an education at Colorado School of Mines different is the emphasis placed on communication, leadership, teamwork, and ethics courses, in addition to a technical education with a strong laboratory curriculum. Students are trained not only to excel in their specific fields, but also to work as a team in order to build successful career skills.

University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Frequently listed as one of the US’s “Public Ivies,” the University of California – Berkeley is a public, research university with the ROI of an Ivy League institution.

UC Berkeley graduates have an average starting salary of $54,700 and a 30-year net ROI of almost $1.2 million. With an average net price of $16,178, a UC Berkeley degree provides an Ivy League caliber education at the price of a state school.

UC Berkeley offers over 7,000 courses in 350 degree programs, including environmental design, Slavic languages and literatures, and even a human rights interdisciplinary minor.

Babson College, Wellesley, MA
Business and entrepreneurship students know the value of a great ROI, so it’s no wonder that Babson College in Massachusetts is often a top-pick for students looking for a great value with an excellent return.

Babson students pay an average net price of $26,678, and upon graduation alumni earn an average starting salary of $59,700.

This private business school is consistently ranked as one of the top schools for entrepreneurs. Babson offers a strong liberal arts foundation placing an emphasis on real-world experience. All first-year students take the year-long Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course, where students develop, launch, and manage their own businesses.

It’s important to assess what ROI will be upon graduation. We tell our students, when looking at ranking lists, don’t only look at the actual rank, but also what is being used to calculate that ranking. These days, rankings lists are placing more weight on starting and mid-career salaries of alumni, so this is something to look for when researching schools for a balanced college list.

Other schools known for great ROI include Stanford University, Lafayette College, Bucknell University, and Amherst College.

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