Cooper Union

Fifty Affordable Colleges With the Best ROI

  1. Generous Financial Aid Cuts Costs
    1

    Generous Financial Aid Cuts Costs

    For prospective college students and their parents, the deck can sometimes seem stacked against them. Published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities over the past decade have increased at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent beyond the rate of inflation, the highest increase of the past three decades, according to the College Board. At private schools, costs can easily top $200,000 for a four-year degree. College seniors graduating in 2009 carried an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, even as the job market for new graduates was making it impossible for many to make the first payment.

    It doesn't have to be that way. In the slides that follow, you'll find 50 colleges and universities where a typical financial aid recipient can get a bachelor's degree for an average cost of less than $74,000 (no school will set you back more than $100,000). And every school boasts a 30-year return on investment that is well above average. How much above average? Well, graduates of all 50 schools in this slide show averaged a 30-year ROI of 147 percent to 324 percent of the national average, with the No. 1 school topping out above $2 million. They're affordable thanks to generous financial aid packages that on average cover about half of the degree's "sticker price."

    Some of the names on the list will surprise you. They include everything from big state schools to elite research universities, and even a few members of the Ivy League. There are schools from 20 states, with 10 schools from California making the list, including five from the UC system alone. It helps if you have your sights set on a career in engineering, as many of the schools specialize in that discipline, but liberal arts schools also make a showing. And there are a few schools you might never have heard of.

    For the complete ranking of all 693 schools, check out our interactive table. For a more detailed description of the methodology and findings, see, "College ROI: What We Found."

    Note: This ranking was created in conjunction with PayScale, which ranked 693 schools on 30-year ROI for Bloomberg Businessweek, using pay data it collects from individuals who employ its online pay comparison tools. To rank the schools in this slide show, Bloomberg Businessweek chose schools with the best ROI that met these criteria: net costs below $100,000; larger than average financial aid awards relative to total costs; larger than average distribution of financial aid awards; and graduation rates above 57 percent, the average for all schools in the study. In the slides that follow, Undergraduates Receiving Aid is the percentage of full-time, first-time undergraduates at each institution receiving local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2008-09 academic year. Total Cost is tuition and fees, room and board, books, and supplies for the average length of time required to obtain a bachelor's degree at each school. Net Cost is the same figure minus grant aid for the same period. Median Pay is for all alumni who graduated from 1981 to 2010 who reported 2010 compensation to PayScale. The 30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates represents the average earnings of a graduate (in excess of those of a high school graduate) after deducting the net cost of the degree. It assumes a 100 percent graduation rate. Annual Cost is for the 2009-10 academic year and includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, and supplies. Average Annual Aid Package is for those who received grant aid during the 2008-09 academic year. Four-Year Graduation Rate is the percentage of graduates receiving a degree within four years. Total Discount represents the portion of total costs covered by grant aid. For state schools, all cost and ROI data are for in-state students only.

    Data: PayScale, Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System, College Board, Bloomberg Businessweek research
    Cooper Union
  2. No. 1: California Institute of Technology
    2

    No. 1: California Institute of Technology

    Pasadena

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 13 percent
    Median Pay: $108,000
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $2,033,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $49,572
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 82 percent
    Total Cost: $198,700
    Net Cost: $91,250

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 58 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,439
    Total Discount: 54.1 percent
    California Institute of Technology
  3. No. 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    3

    No. 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Cambridge

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 10 percent
    Median Pay: $99,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,797,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,000
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 91 percent
    Total Cost: $201,000
    Net Cost: $72,560

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 65 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $31,344
    Total Discount: 63.9 percent
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. No. 3: Dartmouth College
    4

    No. 3: Dartmouth College

    Hanover, N.H.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 9.7 percent
    Median Pay: $96,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,701,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,973
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $202,300
    Net Cost: $72,850

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 51 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $31,536
    Total Discount: 64 percent
    Dartmouth University
  5. No. 4: Stanford University
    5

    No. 4: Stanford University

    Stanford, Calif.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research

    Applicants Admitted: 7.1 percent

    Median Pay: $96,200
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,691,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $54,009
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 83 percent
    Total Cost: $210,400
    Net Cost: $75,710

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 63 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $32,063
    Total Discount: 64 percent
    Stanford University
  6. No. 5: Princeton University
    6

    No. 5: Princeton University

    Princeton, N.J.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League

    Applicants Admitted: 8.4 percent

    Median Pay: $95,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,673,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $51,260
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 93 percent
    Total Cost: $198,700
    Net Cost: $66,270

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $32,449
    Total Discount: 66.6 percent
    Princeton University
  7. No. 6: Duke University
    7

    No. 6: Duke University

    Durham, N.C.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 16 percent
    Median Pay: $93,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,609,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,035
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 94 percent
    Total Cost: $201,300
    Net Cost: $85,100

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 51 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $28,455
    Total Discount: 57.7 percent
    Duke University
  8. No. 7: Colorado School of Mines
    8

    No. 7: Colorado School of Mines

    Golden, Colo.

    The Basics
    School Type: Public—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 46 percent
    Median Pay: $92,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,591,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $23,464
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 60 percent
    Total Cost: $92,820
    Net Cost: $60,960

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 70 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $7,138
    Total Discount: 34.3 percent
    Colorado School of Mines
  9. No. 8: University of Pennsylvania
    9

    No. 8: University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 14 percent
    Median Pay: $91,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,551,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,250
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 93 percent
    Total Cost: $203,900
    Net Cost: $80,210

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 44 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $30,288
    Total Discount: 60.7 percent
    University of Pennsylvania
  10. No. 9: Harvard University
    10

    No. 9: Harvard University

    Cambridge, Mass.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 6.2 percent
    Median Pay: $90,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,540,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,000
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $202,600
    Net Cost: $62,090

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 66 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $34,094
    Total Discount: 69.4 percent
    Harvard Business School
  11. No. 10: University of Notre Dame
    11

    No. 10: University of Notre Dame

    South Bend, Ind.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 29 percent
    Median Pay: $90,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,513,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $51,297
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 94 percent
    Total Cost: $194,500
    Net Cost: $94,120

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $24,637
    Total Discount: 51.6 percent
    University of Notre Dame
  12. No. 11: Babson College
    12

    No. 11: Babson College

    Babson Park, Mass.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Business
    Applicants Admitted: 40 percent
    Median Pay: $89,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,468,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,074
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 98 percent
    Total Cost: $199,400
    Net Cost: $93,880

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 49 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $26,236
    Total Discount: 52.9 percent
    Babson College
  13. No. 12: Georgia Institute of Technology
    13

    No. 12: Georgia Institute of Technology

    Atlanta

    The Basics
    School Type: Public—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 52 percent
    Median Pay: $88,200
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,467,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $18,210
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 39 percent
    Total Cost: $77,980
    Net Cost: $39,390

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 76 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $8,195
    Total Discount: 49.5 percent
    Georgia Instute of Technology
  14. No. 13: Manhattan College
    14

    No. 13: Manhattan College

    Bronx, N.Y.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private
    Applicants Admitted: 63 percent
    Median Pay: $87,200
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,401,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $39,778
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 83 percent
    Total Cost: $150,800
    Net Cost: $94,790

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 80 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $13,377
    Total Discount: 37.1 percent
    Manhattan College
  15. No. 14: Columbia University
    15

    No. 14: Columbia University

    New York

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 10 percent
    Median Pay: $85,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,383,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $54,294
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $207,000
    Net Cost: $70,030

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $33,274
    Total Discount: 66.2 percent
    Columbia University
  16. No. 15: Colgate University
    16

    No. 15: Colgate University

    Hamilton, N.Y.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 33 percent
    Median Pay: $84,900
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,371,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,880
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 94 percent
    Total Cost: $200,700
    Net Cost: $62,220

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 37 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $34,046
    Total Discount: 69 percent
    Colgate University
  17. No. 16: Amherst College
    17

    No. 16: Amherst College

    Amherst, Mass.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 16 percent
    Median Pay: $84,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,356,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $51,878
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $201,500
    Net Cost: $55,800

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 50 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $35,395
    Total Discount: 72.3 percent
    Amherst College
  18. No. 17: University of California, Berkeley
    18

    No. 17: University of California, Berkeley

    Berkeley

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 22 percent
    Median Pay: $84,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,348,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $28,312
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 73 percent
    Total Cost: $110,000
    Net Cost: $58,770

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 54 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $11,913
    Total Discount: 46.6 percent
    University of California Berkeley
  19. No. 18: Yale University
    19

    No. 18: Yale University

    New Haven, Conn.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 7.4 percent
    Median Pay: $83,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,326,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,950
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 92 percent
    Total Cost: $207,000
    Net Cost: $69,030

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 59 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $33,714
    Total Discount: 66.7 percent
    Yale University
  20. No. 19: Lafayette College
    20

    No. 19: Lafayette College

    Easton, Pa.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 42 percent
    Median Pay: $83,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,306,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,289
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 96 percent
    Total Cost: $193,100
    Net Cost: $86,310

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $26,344
    Total Discount: 55.3 percent
    Lafayette College
  21. No. 20: Clarkson University
    21

    No. 20: Clarkson University

    Potsdam, N.Y.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 80 percent
    Median Pay: $83,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,271,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $47,200
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 74 percent
    Total Cost: $185,400
    Net Cost: $98,030

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 100 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $20,310
    Total Discount: 47.1 percent
    Clarkson University
  22. No. 21: College of the Holy Cross
    22

    No. 21: College of the Holy Cross

    Worcester, Mass.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 35 percent
    Median Pay: $81,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,244,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $50,942
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 98 percent
    Total Cost: $192,200
    Net Cost: $83,060

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $27,130
    Total Discount: 56.8 percent
    College of the Holy Cross
  23. No. 22: Rice University
    23

    No. 22: Rice University

    Houston

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 21 percent
    Median Pay: $80,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,237,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $45,637
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 89 percent
    Total Cost: $174,000
    Net Cost: $68,680

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 68 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,581
    Total Discount: 60.5 percent
    Rice University
  24. No. 23: Missouri University of Science and Technology
    24

    No. 23: Missouri University of Science and Technology

    Rolla, Mo.

    The Basics
    School Type: Public—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 91 percent
    Median Pay: $80,400
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,222,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $20,446
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 40 percent
    Total Cost: $84,640
    Net Cost: $51,990

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 95 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $6,926
    Total Discount: 38.6 percent
    Missouri University of Science and Technology
  25. No. 24: Cooper Union
    25

    No. 24: Cooper Union

    New York

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 8 percent
    Median Pay: $79,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,195,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,995
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 84 percent
    Total Cost: $207,100
    Net Cost: $67,790

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 100 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $33,504
    Total Discount: 67.3 percent
    Cooper Union
  26. No. 25: Washington and Lee University
    26

    No. 25: Washington and Lee University

    Lexington, Va.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 19 percent
    Median Pay: $78,800
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,182,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $51,130
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 97 percent
    Total Cost: $191,100
    Net Cost: $69,000

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 50 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $30,277
    Total Discount: 63.9 percent
    Washington and Lee University
  27. No. 26: University of California, San Diego
    27

    No. 26: University of California, San Diego

    La Jolla

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 38 percent
    Median Pay: $78,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,180,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $24,940
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 67 percent
    Total Cost: $99,410
    Net Cost: $50,890

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $11,074
    Total Discount: 48.8 percent

    (The original photo of the University of San Diego has been replaced.)
    UC San Diego
  28. No. 27: Johns Hopkins University
    28

    No. 27: Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 21 percent
    Median Pay: $79,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,177,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,390
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $205,400
    Net Cost: $98,360

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,969
    Total Discount: 52.1 percent
    Johns Hopkins University
  29. No. 28: Brown University
    29

    No. 28: Brown University

    Providence

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Ivy League
    Applicants Admitted: 9 percent
    Median Pay: $78,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,159,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,030
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 91 percent
    Total Cost: $202,200
    Net Cost: $83,740

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 45 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $28,860
    Total Discount: 58.6 percent
    Brown University
  30. No. 29: University of Chicago
    30

    No. 29: University of Chicago

    Chicago

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 19 percent
    Median Pay: $78,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,134,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $54,290
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 93 percent
    Total Cost: $208,900
    Net Cost: $94,170

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 60 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $28,068
    Total Discount: 54.9 percent
    University of Chicago
  31. No. 30: Vanderbilt University
    31

    No. 30: Vanderbilt University

    Nashville

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 18 percent
    Median Pay: $77,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,122,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $54,718
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 92 percent
    Total Cost: $207,400
    Net Cost: $77,150

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $31,857
    Total Discount: 62.8 percent
    Vanderbilt University
  32. No. 31: Williams College
    32

    No. 31: Williams College

    Williamstown, Mass.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 19 percent
    Median Pay: $75,900
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,117,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,437
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 97 percent
    Total Cost: $194,900
    Net Cost: $48,520

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 52 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $36,298
    Total Discount: 75.1 percent
    Williams College
  33. No. 32: Illinois Institute of Technology
    33

    No. 32: Illinois Institute of Technology

    Chicago

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 64 percent
    Median Pay: $78,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,116,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $43,368
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 8 percent
    Total Cost: $194,200
    Net Cost: $96,440

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 99 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $19,554
    Total Discount: 50.3 percent
    Illinois Institute of Technology
  34. No. 33: Michigan Technological University
    34

    No. 33: Michigan Technological University

    Houghton, Mich.

    The Basics
    School Type: Public—Engineering
    Applicants Admitted: 74 percent
    Median Pay: $76,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,095,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $23,093
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 33 percent
    Total Cost: $96,710
    Net Cost: $61,200

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 91 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $7,440
    Total Discount: 36.7 percent
    Michigan Technological University
  35. No. 34: Texas A&M University
    35

    No. 34: Texas A&M University

    College Station

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 69 percent
    Median Pay: $75,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,095,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $20,316
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 56 percent
    Total Cost: $84,140
    Net Cost: $42,750

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 53 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $9,196
    Total Discount: 49.2 percent
    Texas A&M University
  36. No. 35: University of California, Los Angeles
    36

    No. 35: University of California, Los Angeles

    Los Angeles

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 33 percent
    Median Pay: $73,700
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,037,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $26,617
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 75 percent
    Total Cost: $104,300
    Net Cost: $51,110

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 56 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $12,496
    Total Discount: 51 percent
    University of California Los Angeles
  37. No. 36: Wesleyan University
    37

    No. 36: Wesleyan University

    Middletown, Conn.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 21 percent
    Median Pay: $74,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,036,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,797
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 95 percent
    Total Cost: $204,800
    Net Cost: $77,780

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 45 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $31,176
    Total Discount: 62 percent
    Wesleyan University
  38. No. 37: Dickinson College
    38

    No. 37: Dickinson College

    Carlisle, Pa.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 48 percent
    Median Pay: $74,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,028,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,694
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 94 percent
    Total Cost: $197,600
    Net Cost: $94,870

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,310
    Total Discount: 52 percent
    Dickinson College
  39. No. 38: Rutgers University
    39

    No. 38: Rutgers University

    New Brunswick, N.J.

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 59 percent
    Median Pay: $73,900
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,008,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $26,338
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 68 percent
    Total Cost: $107,000
    Net Cost: $83,530

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 94 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $5,334
    Total Discount: 21.9 percent
    Rutgers University
  40. No. 39: University of California, Davis
    40

    No. 39: University of California, Davis

    Davis

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 46 percent
    Median Pay: $73,200
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,010,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $26,421
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 63 percent
    Total Cost: $107,300
    Net Cost: $57,090

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 59 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $11,323
    Total Discount: 46.8 percent
    University of California Davis
  41. No. 40: University of Michigan
    41

    No. 40: University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 51 percent
    Median Pay: $73,000
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $1,010,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $23,721
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 82 percent
    Total Cost: $92,710
    Net Cost: $61,200

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 71 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $7,497
    Total Discount: 34 percent
    University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  42. No. 41: University of California, Santa Barbara
    42

    No. 41: University of California, Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 46 percent
    Median Pay: $72,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $989,600

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $27,284
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 66 percent
    Total Cost: $110,100
    Net Cost: $51,060

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 50 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $13,413
    Total Discount: 53.6 percent
    University of California Santa Barbara
  43. No. 42: Swarthmore College
    43

    No. 42: Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore, Pa.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 16 percent
    Median Pay: $72,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $985,600

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $52,265
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 92 percent
    Total Cost: $200,600
    Net Cost: $74,010

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 51 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $30,973
    Total Discount: 63.1 percent
    Swarthmore College
  44. No. 43: University of Connecticut
    44

    No. 43: University of Connecticut

    Storrs

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 54 percent
    Median Pay: $71,500
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $974,100

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $23,546
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 78 percent
    Total Cost: $90,700
    Net Cost: $50,520

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $9,470
    Total Discount: 44.3 percent
    University of Connecticut
  45. No. 44: St. Mary's College of California
    45

    No. 44: St. Mary's College of California

    Moraga

    The Basics
    School Type: Private
    Applicants Admitted: 78 percent
    Median Pay: $72,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $971,200

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $50,404
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 86 percent
    Total Cost: $196,600
    Net Cost: $88,720

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 71 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,865
    Total Discount: 54.9 percent
    Saint Marys College of California
  46. No. 45: University of San Francisco
    46

    No. 45: University of San Francisco

    San Francisco

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 68 percent
    Median Pay: $72,900
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $969,100

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $50,710
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 70 percent
    Total Cost: $203,400
    Net Cost: $93,540

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 61 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $25,209
    Total Discount: 54 percent
    University of San Francisco
  47. No. 46: Pepperdine University
    47

    No. 46: Pepperdine University

    Malibu, Calif.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private Research
    Applicants Admitted: 31 percent
    Median Pay: $71,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $944,400

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $51,450
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $199,800
    Net Cost: $88,100

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 68 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $27,154
    Total Discount: 55.9 percent
  48. No. 47: Gettysburg College
    48

    No. 47: Gettysburg College

    Gettysburg, Pa.

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 40 percent
    Median Pay: $71,600
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $935,700

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $49,500
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 95 percent
    Total Cost: $188,100
    Net Cost: $97,710

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 68 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $22,263
    Total Discount: 48.1 percent
    Gettysburg College
  49. No. 48: Providence College
    49

    No. 48: Providence College

    Providence

    The Basics
    School Type: Private
    Applicants Admitted: 67 percent
    Median Pay: $71,300
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $925,800

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $46,180
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 95 percent
    Total Cost: $172,400
    Net Cost: $98,470

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 61 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $18,231
    Total Discount: 42.9 percent
    Providence College
  50. No. 49: Trinity College
    50

    No. 49: Trinity College

    Hartford

    The Basics
    School Type: Private—Liberal Arts
    Applicants Admitted: 43 percent
    Median Pay: $70,000
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $922,000

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $53,525
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 90 percent
    Total Cost: $203,500
    Net Cost: $61,090

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 41 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $34,588
    Total Discount: 70 percent
    Trinity College
  51. No. 50: Clemson University
    51

    No. 50: Clemson University

    Clemson, S.C.

    The Basics
    School Type: Public
    Applicants Admitted: 64 percent
    Median Pay: $70,100
    30-Year Net Return on Investment for Graduates: $921,900

    The Costs
    Annual Cost: $23,478
    Four-Year Graduation Rate: 65 percent
    Total Cost: $94,890
    Net Cost: $55,210

    The Aid
    Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 90 percent
    Average Annual Aid Package: $9,065
    Total Discount: 41.8 percent
    Clemson University