PayScale Publishes Fourth Annual Report About College Return On Investment (ROI)

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Report finds positive correlation between Overall Graduation Rate and ROI; schools with high graduation rates tend to have high ROI and vice versa.

PayScale, Inc. today announced its 2013 College Return on Investment (ROI) Report. Based on an analysis of PayScale's 40 million career profiles, the report examines the return on investment at 1060 colleges and universities. This is an increase from the 853 colleges and universities that were analyzed in 2012.

PayScale has grouped the schools into eight categories: Private Research Universities; Liberal Arts Schools; Arts, Music & Design Schools; Business Schools; Engineering Schools; Ivy League Schools; Private Schools; and Public Schools. The report also shows the comparison between in-state and out-of-state tuition for public universities and the difference in ROI for students who receive grant financial aid and those who do not.

“While the stock market moves to some of its all-time highs, the overall economy continues at an uneven pace. Most consumer issues seem to have a pocketbook component and possibly no issue strikes the pocketbook more than higher education and its rising tuition. In this uncertain economic climate, understanding the potential return on the investment in education is vital,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist, PayScale.

Some highlights from Payscale's 2013 College Return on Investment (ROI) Report:

1.    Engineering Schools continue to dominate the PayScale Return on Investment list. They have an average ROI of $1,208,383 which is more than twice the average ROI of Liberal Arts Schools, which comes in at $458,405. The top schools for Engineering ROI are Harvey Mudd College, California Institute of Technology, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and SUNY – Maritime College. All of these schools make the top 5 of the overall ROI list.
2.    Schools in the Northeast Census region make a major part of the top 30 College ROI schools. 18 of the top 30 entries of the College ROI are from Northeastern census region schools.
3.    74 schools this year show a return of investment of $1,000,000 or more. This represents about 5 percent of the total schools on the ROI list.
4.    30 schools on the list this year have a negative return on investment, 18 of which are private schools and 12 of which are public. For these schools the cost of attending outweighs the financial benefits.
5.    This year we include private for-profit schools for the first time. Three of these schools made the top 100 schools for ROI (The DeVry University campuses at North Brunswick, Westminster and Columbus).

For more information on methodology, please go to:

Adds Bardaro: “In past years of the college ROI we weighted the ROI by graduation rate, which gave us the expected value of ROI. This year we reported the ROI you would receive assuming that you do graduate. One of the schools that benefited highly from this approach was the State University of New York Maritime College. With a graduation rate of 47%, their high $1,586,000 ROI propels them into the top 10 for the first time.” Bardaro continues: “Schools with the best annualized ROI tend to be State Schools with low 4-year costs. CUNY – Bernard M Baruch College, SUNY – Maritime, Georgia Institute of Technology and Colorado School of Mines make up the top of the annualized ROI leaders.”

About PayScale
Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale's products are powered by innovative search and query algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index™, PayScale's subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate™ and PayScale Insight™. Among PayScale's 2,500 corporate customers are organizations small and large across industries including Mozilla, Tully’s Coffee, Clemson University and the United States Postal Service. For more information, visit

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