Top 10 “Return-On-Investment” Schools In the US

7. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

Joseph Zollo, J Erskine Love Jr Manufacturing Building, CC BY 2.0

One of the most prestigious schools on our list, Georgia Institute of Technology represents the ultimate choice for both universal acclaim in a university as well as incredible career returns.

Students at Georgia Tech are exposed to the ideas of the world’s most brilliant professors. Faculty at Georgia Tech have collectively won numerous Nobel Prizes, Fulbright fellowships, Guggenheims, and more of the most acclaimed prizes in higher education.

Given the highly accomplished alumni body of Georgia Tech, it is no surprise the school is among the best in the country for net ROI. Some of the most successful alumni include David Dorman, the CEO of AT&T, Mike Duke, the CEO of Wal-Mart, David C. Garrett Jr., the CEO of Delta Air Lines, and James D. Robinson III, the former CEO of American Express.

NET ROI after 20 years: $856,000

6. Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Albany, NY)

Matt H. Wade, Albany College of Pharmacy, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2019, the Wall Street Journal named Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences the #1 school for best financial futures.

The reason is quite simple; this school prepares students – at the highest level – for the profitable industries of healthcare and pharmaceutical science.

The median salary for 10-year graduates is an impressive $124,700 according to a 2018 report by College Score Card. This is good for second highest out of 3,871 schools that make up the database.

The school is small and selective; at any time there are approximately 1,400 total students in the program. 

With such a small student body, the student:teacher ratio is a very favorable 1:12, ensuring students get optimal 1-on-1 attention with faculty in classroom settings.

Based in Albany, NY, the school is technically part of Union University, which is a federation of seven unique schools in New York state. However, this school has its own Board and is fiscally independent.

NET ROI after 20 years: $870,000

5. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

CalTech, Robert A. Millikan Memorial Library at Caltech, CC BY-SA 3.0

Few schools are as impressive as California Institute of Technology, located in Pasadena, CA.

One common theme we have found of the high-ROI schools on this list, particularly Stevens, Stanford, and Georgia Tech, is their proximity to major financial centers of the country. 

Because of proximity, students are naturally recruited into high-paying jobs in top paying sectors of the country.

The same story goes for CalTech; due to its proximity to Los Angeles, CalTech students frequently find themselves employed in the thriving economy of Southern California.

However, what makes CalTech special is significantly more than its location.

Students are exposed to perhaps the world’s most impressive collective faculty at any one single institution. They include 73 Nobel Laureates, 6 Turing Award winners, and four Fields medalists, which are only awarded once every four years.

The school manages significant sponsored research for its science and engineering divisions, two of the highest-ROI majors in college; in 2011, $332 million in research was sponsored at CalTech.

It is also the number #1 school to produce PhD graduates, according to a study by Pomona

NET ROI after 20 years: $887,000

4. Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO)

Colorado School of Mines
Elisa.rolle, Colorado School of Mines, CC BY-SA 4.0

A public research university based in Golden, CO, Colorado School of Mines is consistently ranked as the very best mineral engineering school in the country according to QS rankings

It is no surprise, then, that the school’s athletic teams are known as the Orediggers.

Totaling 6,000 students, Colorado School of Mines delivers one of the highest net ROIs for students at any school in the US (Net ROI calculated by money earned in career minus cost of degree). 

This is because of the school’s naturally high focus in profitable engineering disciplines in tandem with a tuition bill for in-state students about 1/3rdof a top-tier private institution.

Accepting about 36% of applicants, Colorado School of Mines may not bas selective as, say, Harvard. However, the data is clear – it doesn’t have to be. Students at the school return more on their degree here than at any other Ivy League institution.

NET ROI after 20 years: $909,000 (in-state)

NET ROI after 20 years: $840,000 (out-of-state)

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