In our third annual ranking of the best colleges for return on investment, top honors once again went to elite research universities, Ivy League institutions, and engineering schools. Check out our list of the schools in each state that offer the best ROI.

Note: The ranking was prepared by PayScale and is based on self-reported pay data obtained through its online salary survey tools; on average, pay reports from about 1,000 alumni from each school were used in the return on investment (ROI) calculations. The schools were ranked according to the 30-year net ROI, which represents the typical earnings of a graduate (in excess of those of a high school graduate) in 2012 dollars after deducting the net cost of the degree and adjusting for the school's six-year graduation rate. (An unadjusted ROI for graduates only is also shown.) The net cost of the degree is based on the total cost of attending the institution (including tuition & fees, room & board, and books), minus the average grant aid award, and the percentage of students who graduate in 4, 5, and 6 years. Annualized ROI is the percentage of ROI received each year after graduation; it is based on the 30-year net ROI, net cost of the degree, and annual wage inflation of 3.8 percent.

Data: PayScale, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Board. ROI shown for state schools was calculated using in-state tuition.

Photograph by Bloomimages

In our third annual ranking of the best colleges for return on investment, top honors once again went to elite research universities, Ivy League institutions, and engineering schools. Check out our list of the schools in each state that offer the best ROI.

Note: The ranking was prepared by PayScale and is based on self-reported pay data obtained through its online salary survey tools; on average, pay reports from about 1,000 alumni from each school were used in the return on investment (ROI) calculations. The schools were ranked according to the 30-year net ROI, which represents the typical earnings of a graduate (in excess of those of a high school graduate) in 2012 dollars after deducting the net cost of the degree and adjusting for the school's six-year graduation rate. (An unadjusted ROI for graduates only is also shown.) The net cost of the degree is based on the total cost of attending the institution (including tuition & fees, room & board, and books), minus the average grant aid award, and the percentage of students who graduate in 4, 5, and 6 years. Annualized ROI is the percentage of ROI received each year after graduation; it is based on the 30-year net ROI, net cost of the degree, and annual wage inflation of 3.8 percent.

Data: PayScale, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Board. ROI shown for state schools was calculated using in-state tuition.

Photograph by Bloomimages

Best Colleges for Return on Investment

Ivies, Engineering Schools Top the List
Ivies, Engineering Schools Top the List

In our third annual ranking of the best colleges for return on investment, top honors once again went to elite research universities, Ivy League institutions, and engineering schools. Check out our list of the schools in each state that offer the best ROI.

Note: The ranking was prepared by PayScale and is based on self-reported pay data obtained through its online salary survey tools; on average, pay reports from about 1,000 alumni from each school were used in the return on investment (ROI) calculations. The schools were ranked according to the 30-year net ROI, which represents the typical earnings of a graduate (in excess of those of a high school graduate) in 2012 dollars after deducting the net cost of the degree and adjusting for the school's six-year graduation rate. (An unadjusted ROI for graduates only is also shown.) The net cost of the degree is based on the total cost of attending the institution (including tuition & fees, room & board, and books), minus the average grant aid award, and the percentage of students who graduate in 4, 5, and 6 years. Annualized ROI is the percentage of ROI received each year after graduation; it is based on the 30-year net ROI, net cost of the degree, and annual wage inflation of 3.8 percent.

Data: PayScale, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Board. ROI shown for state schools was calculated using in-state tuition.

Photograph by Bloomimages
Best College ROI: Alabama
Best College ROI: Alabama

Auburn University
Auburn, Ala.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 70%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (22%), engineering (15%), education (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $8,298 (in-state) $22,890 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $7,426
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 56%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $50,420

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 197
Graduation Rate: 67%
30-Year ROI: $325,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $485,800
Annualized ROI: 11%

Runners-Up
University of Alabama, Huntsville
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Samford University

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Best College ROI: Alaska
Best College ROI: Alaska

University of Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 79%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (17%), social sciences (10%), business/marketing (9%), psychology (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $5,907 (in-state) $18,357 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $3,643
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 40%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $54,830

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 458
Graduation Rate: 28%
30-Year ROI: $154,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $550,000
Annualized ROI: 8.5%

Runner-Up
University of Alaska, Anchorage

Best College ROI: Arizona
Best College ROI: Arizona

Arizona State University
Tempe, Ariz.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 89%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (16%), education (8%), interdisciplinary studies (8%), social sciences (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $9,720 (in-state) $22,319 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $8,223
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 69%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $49,900

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 289
Graduation Rate: 56%
30-Year ROI: $242,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $432,100
Annualized ROI: 10.1%

Runners-Up
University of Arizona
Northern Arizona University
Grand Canyon University

Best College ROI: Arkansas
Best College ROI: Arkansas

University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Ark.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 61%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (24%), engineering (9%), social sciences (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $7,174 (in-state) $17,606 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $7,276
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 50%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $48,690

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 359
Graduation Rate: 59%
30-Year ROI: $205,200
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $347,800
Annualized ROI: 9.7%

Runners-Up
John Brown University
Harding University
University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Best College ROI: California
Best College ROI: California

Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, Calif.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 22%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (42%), physical sciences (22%), computer & information sciences (12%), mathematics & statistics (12%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,410
Average Annual Grant Aid: $20,639
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 82%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $127,200

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 1
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $1,545,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,698,000
Annualized ROI: 13.1%

Runners-Up
California Institute of Technology
Stanford University
Claremont McKenna College

Best College ROI: Colorado
Best College ROI: Colorado

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, Colo.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 45%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (89%), mathematics & statistics (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $14,454 (in-state) $29,139 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $7,138
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 70%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $67,610

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 20
Graduation Rate: 67%
30-Year ROI: $873,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,303,000
Annualized ROI: 13.3%

Runners-Up
University of Colorado, Boulder
Regis University
University of Colorado, Denver

Best College ROI: Connecticut
Best College ROI: Connecticut

Yale University
New Haven, Conn.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 8%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (27%), history (9%), biology (8%), interdisciplinary studies (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $40,500
Average Annual Grant Aid: $33,714
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 59%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $76,440

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 25
Graduation Rate: 98%
30-Year ROI: $856,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $873,500
Annualized ROI: 12.8%

Runners-Up
Wesleyan University
Fairfield University
University of Connecticut

Courtesy Yale University
Best College ROI: Delaware
Best College ROI: Delaware

University of Delaware
Newark, Del.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 58%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (20%), social sciences (12%), education (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $11,192 (in-state) $27,462 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $6,220
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 46%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $59,100

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 201
Graduation Rate: 68%
30-Year ROI: $321,600
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $472,900
Annualized ROI: 10.5%

Runner-Up
Delaware State University

Best College ROI: District of Columbia
Best College ROI: District of Columbia

Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 18%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (30%), business/marketing (26%), English (7%), health professions (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $41,393
Average Annual Grant Aid: $26,794
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 45%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $111,300

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 32
Graduation Rate: 93%
30-Year ROI: $804,400
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $864,900
Annualized ROI: 11.4%

Runners-Up
George Washington University
Catholic University of America
American University

Courtesy Georgetown University
Best College ROI: Florida
Best College ROI: Florida

Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Fla.


The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 57%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (35%), business/marketing (17%), biology (12%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $34,990
Average Annual Grant Aid: $18,804
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 96%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $110,600

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 161
Graduation Rate: 58%
30-Year ROI: $374,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $645,000
Annualized ROI: 9%

Runners-Up
University of Florida
University of Miami
Florida State University

Courtesy Florida Institute of Technology
Best College ROI: Georgia
Best College ROI: Georgia

Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 51%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (57%), business/marketing (14%), computer & information sciences (6%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $9,652 (in-state) $27,862 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $8,195
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 76%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $43,750

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 22
Graduation Rate: 79%
30-Year ROI: $866,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,097,000
Annualized ROI: 14.9%

Runners-Up
Emory University
University of Georgia
Southern Polytechnic State University

Photograph by Philip McCollum/Bloomberg
Best College ROI: Hawaii
Best College ROI: Hawaii

University of Hawaii, Manoa
Honolulu

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 78%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (21%), social sciences (11%), education (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $9,100 (in-state) $23,932 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $4,120
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 55%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $63,540


The Payoff

National ROI Rank: 767
Graduation Rate: 48%
30-Year ROI: $45,760
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $95,330
Annualized ROI: 5.7%

Runner-Up
Hawaii Pacific University

Courtesy University of Hawai`i at Manoa
Best College ROI: Idaho
Best College ROI: Idaho

University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 61%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (12%), education (9%), engineering (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $5,856 (in-state) $18,376 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,904
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 93%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $53,750


The Payoff

National ROI Rank: 333
Graduation Rate: 56%
30-Year ROI: $217,700
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $388,800
Annualized ROI: 9.6%

Runners-Up
Idaho State University
Boise State University

Courtesy The University of Idaho
Best College ROI: Illinois
Best College ROI: Illinois

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 68%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (14%), business/marketing (11%), social sciences (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $13,838 (in-state) $27,980 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $9,706
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 44%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $63,710

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 54
Graduation Rate: 83%
30-Year ROI: $654,200
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $788,200
Annualized ROI: 12.5%

Runners-Up
University of Chicago
Illinois Institute of Technology
Northwestern University

Courtesy University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Best College ROI: Indiana
Best College ROI: Indiana

University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Ind.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 29%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (22%), social sciences (16%), foreign languages & literature (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $41,417
Average Annual Grant Aid: $24,637
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $103,200

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 10
Graduation Rate: 96%
30-Year ROI: $1,075,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,120,000
Annualized ROI: 12.6%

Runners-Up
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Purdue University
Butler University

Photograph by Layne Kennedy/Corbis
Best College ROI: Iowa
Best College ROI: Iowa

Drake University
Des Moines

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 63%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (39%), communications/journalism (12%), social sciences (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $28,382
Average Annual Grant Aid: $13,761
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 98%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $98,210

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 220
Graduation Rate: 76%
30-Year ROI: $302,800
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $398,400
Annualized ROI: 8.8%

Runners-Up
Iowa State University
University of Iowa
Grinnell College

Courtesy Drake University
Best College ROI: Kansas
Best College ROI: Kansas

University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kan.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 93%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (14%), communications/journalism (13%), social sciences (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $9,222 (in-state) $22,608 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $4,781
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $64,040

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 345
Graduation Rate: 61%
30-Year ROI: $211,600
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $346,900
Annualized ROI: 9%

Runners-Up
Baker University
Kansas State University
Wichita State University

Best College ROI: Kentucky
Best College ROI: Kentucky

University of Kentucky
Lexington, Ky.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 68%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (18%), communications/journalism (10%), education (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $9,128 (in-state) $18,740 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,797
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 87%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $61,920

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 399
Graduation Rate: 60%
30-Year ROI: $183,300
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $305,500
Annualized ROI: 8.7%

Runners-Up
Bellarmine University
University of Louisville
Northern Kentucky University

Courtesy UKPR & Marketing Photos
Best College ROI: Louisiana
Best College ROI: Louisiana

Tulane University
New Orleans

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 25%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (22%), social sciences (18%), biology (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $43,434
Average Annual Grant Aid: $24,856
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 79%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $107,700

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 171
Graduation Rate: 73%
30-Year ROI: $360,900
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $494,400
Annualized ROI: 9%

Runners-Up
Louisiana State University
Louisiana Tech University
McNeese State University

Courtesy Tulane Public Relations
Best College ROI: Maine
Best College ROI: Maine

Bates College
Lewiston, Me.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 27%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (26%), biology (11%), psychology (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $55,300*
Average Annual Grant Aid: $30,503
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 41%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $87,810

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 87
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $512,300
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $563,000
Annualized ROI: 10.7%
Runners-Up Bowdoin College
Colby College
University of New England

*Includes room & board

Courtesy Bates College Photography
Best College ROI: Maryland
Best College ROI: Maryland

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 18%
Most Popular Majors: Health professions (25%), engineering (18%), social sciences (16%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,780
Average Annual Grant Aid: $25,969
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $107,800

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 42
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $740,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $813,300
Annualized ROI: 11.2%

Runners-Up
Loyola College Maryland
University of Maryland
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Best College ROI: Massachusetts
Best College ROI: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Mass.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 10%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (41%), computer & information sciences (13%), mathematics & statistics (10%), physical sciences (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $40,732
Average Annual Grant Aid: $31,344
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 65%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $79,600

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 3
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $1,355,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,489,000
Annualized ROI: 14.3%

Runners-Up
Harvard University
Babson College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Courtesy Andy Ryan/MIT News
Best College ROI: Michigan
Best College ROI: Michigan

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 41%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (17%), engineering (15%), psychology (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $12,634 (in-state) $37,782 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $7,497
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 71%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $64,920

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 75
Graduation Rate: 89%
30-Year ROI: $545,200
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $612,600
Annualized ROI: 11.8%

Runners-Up
Kettering University
Michigan Technological University
Lawrence Technological University

Photograph by Richard Barnes/University of Michigan via Bloomberg News
Best College ROI: Minnesota
Best College ROI: Minnesota

Carleton College
Northfield, Minn.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 31%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (23%), physical sciences (14%), visual & performing arts (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,942
Average Annual Grant Aid: $24,452
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 62%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $106,400

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 106
Graduation Rate: 92%
30-Year ROI: $476,300
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $517,700
Annualized ROI: 9.9%

Runners-Up
Macalester College
University of Minnesota
University of St. Thomas

Best College ROI: Mississippi
Best College ROI: Mississippi

Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, Miss.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 68%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (23%), education (17%), engineering (12%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $5,808 (in-state) $14,670 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,728
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 85%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $53,450

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 389
Graduation Rate: 61%
30-Year ROI: $187,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $307,400
Annualized ROI: 9.1%

Runners-Up
University of Mississippi
University of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi University for Women

Best College ROI: Missouri
Best College ROI: Missouri

Washington University
St. Louis

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 17%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (16%), engineering (14%), business/marketing (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $43,705
Average Annual Grant Aid: $23,513
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $122,200

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 74
Graduation Rate: 93%
30-Year ROI: $547,400
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $588,600
Annualized ROI: 9.9%

Runners-Up
Missouri University of Science & Technology
Rockhurst University
University of Missouri, Columbia

Best College ROI: Montana
Best College ROI: Montana

Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Butte, Mont.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 89%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (61%), business/marketing (19%), health professions (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $6,175 (in-state) $17,269 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,893
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 80%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $48,960

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 311
Graduation Rate: 40%
30-Year ROI: $229,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $572,800
Annualized ROI: 10%

Runners-Up
Montana State University, Bozeman
University of Montana
Carroll College

Courtesy Montana Tech
Best College ROI: Nebraska
Best College ROI: Nebraska

Creighton University
Omaha

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 78%
Most Popular Majors: Health professions (15%), biology (11%), business/marketing (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $31,894
Average Annual Grant Aid: $15,088
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 95%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $106,600

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 199
Graduation Rate: 75%
30-Year ROI: $323,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $431,300
Annualized ROI: 8.7%

Runners-Up
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
University of Nebraska, Omaha
Nebraska Wesleyan University

Best College ROI: Nevada
Best College ROI: Nevada

University of Nevada
Reno, Nev.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 86%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (15%), social sciences (13%), health professions (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $6,176 (in-state) $19,771 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $3,705
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 87%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $80,430

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 456
Graduation Rate: 46%
30-Year ROI: $154,300
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $335,400
Annualized ROI: 7.6%

Runner-Up
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Best College ROI: New Hampshire
Best College ROI: New Hampshire

Dartmouth College
Hanover, N.H.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 12%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (31%), biology (11%), history (7%), psychology (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,996
Average Annual Grant Aid: $31,536
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 51%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $82,510

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 7
Graduation Rate: 94%
30-Year ROI: $1,224,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,302,000
Annualized ROI: 13.8%

Runners-Up
University of New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University
Rivier College

Best College ROI: New Jersey
Best College ROI: New Jersey

Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 8%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (25%), engineering (17%), biology (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $37,000
Average Annual Grant Aid: $32,449
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $73,080

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 5
Graduation Rate: 97%
30-Year ROI: $1,291,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,331,000
Annualized ROI: 14.4%

Runners-Up
Stevens Institute of Technology
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Best College ROI: New Mexico
Best College ROI: New Mexico

New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, N.M.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 80%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (19%), education (10%), engineering (7%), health professions (7%), liberal arts (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $5,827 (in-state) $18,268 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,685
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 82%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $55,120

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 462
Graduation Rate: 45%
30-Year ROI: $152,800
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $339,600
Annualized ROI: 8.5%

Runners-Up
University of New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University

Norm Dettlaff/Las Cruces Sun-News/AP Photo
Best College ROI: New York
Best College ROI: New York

Columbia University
New York

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 7%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (25%), engineering (18%), biology (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $45,290
Average Annual Grant Aid: $33,274
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 47%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $80,090

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 13
Graduation Rate: 93%
30-Year ROI: $972,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,046,000
Annualized ROI: 13.1%

Runners-Up
Cornell University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Manhattan College

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Best College ROI: North Carolina
Best College ROI: North Carolina

Duke University
Durham, N.C.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 14%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (21%), engineering (14%), biology (9%), public administration & social services (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $41,938
Average Annual Grant Aid: $28,455
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 51%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $94,660

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 8
Graduation Rate: 95%
30-Year ROI: $1,170,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,232,000
Annualized ROI: 13.2%

Runners-Up
Wake Forest University
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Best College ROI: North Dakota
Best College ROI: North Dakota

North Dakota State University
Fargo, N.D.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 86%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (19%), engineering (14%), health professions (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $7,175 (in-state) $17,421 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $3,368
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 53%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $59,350

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 355
Graduation Rate: 52%
30-Year ROI: $206,600
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $397,300
Annualized ROI: 9.1%

Runners-Up
University of North Dakota
University of Mary
Minot State University

Best College ROI: Ohio
Best College ROI: Ohio

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 51%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (28%), biology (12%), social sciences (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $39,120
Average Annual Grant Aid: $21,997
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 85%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $112,500

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 37
Graduation Rate: 81%
30-Year ROI: $755,800
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $933,100
Annualized ROI: 11.1%

Runners-Up
Miami University
Denison University
Ohio Wesleyan University

Best College ROI: Oklahoma
Best College ROI: Oklahoma

University of Tulsa
Tulsa

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 41%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (22%), business/marketing (20%), social sciences (8%), visual & performing arts (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $31,126
Average Annual Grant Aid: $16,844
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 94%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $94,980

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 232
Graduation Rate: 62%
30-Year ROI: $289,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $466,900
Annualized ROI: 8.8%

Runners-Up
University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Best College ROI: Oregon
Best College ROI: Oregon

University of Portland
Portland, Ore.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 64%
Most Popular Majors: Health professions (26%), business/marketing (16%), engineering (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $33,780
Average Annual Grant Aid: $14,829
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 88%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $115,600

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 193
Graduation Rate: 75%
30-Year ROI: $327,600
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $436,800
Annualized ROI: 8.6%

Runners-Up
Oregon State University
Oregon Institute of Technology
Linfield College

Courtesy University of Portland
Best College ROI: Pennsylvania
Best College ROI: Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 12%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (23%), social sciences (17%), biology (9%), engineering (9%), health professions (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,098
Average Annual Grant Aid: $30,288
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 44%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $89,070

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 9
Graduation Rate: 95%
30-Year ROI: $1,119,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $1,178,000
Annualized ROI: 13.2%

Runners-Up
Lehigh University
Lafayette College
Carnegie Mellon University

Best College ROI: Rhode Island
Best College ROI: Rhode Island

Brown University
Providence

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 9%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (23%), biology (10%), visual & performing arts (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $42,230
Average Annual Grant Aid: $28,860
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 45%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $92,000

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 15
Graduation Rate: 95%
30-Year ROI: $900,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $947,500
Annualized ROI: 12.4%

Runners-Up
Providence College
Bryant University
University of Rhode Island

Best College ROI: South Carolina
Best College ROI: South Carolina

Clemson University
Clemson, S.C.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 63%
Most Popular Majors: Physical sciences (30%), business/marketing (16%), engineering (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $12,304 (in-state) $28,462 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $9,065
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 90%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $60,300

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 114
Graduation Rate: 77%
30-Year ROI: $439,700
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $571,000
Annualized ROI: 11.4%

Runners-Up
Furman University
University of South Carolina
Bob Jones University

Courtesy Clemson University
Best College ROI: South Dakota
Best College ROI: South Dakota

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
Rapid City, S.D.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 88%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (75%), physical sciences (10%), interdisciplinary studies (7%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $7,897 (in-state) $9,612 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $4,370
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 72%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $58,510

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 240
Graduation Rate: 35%
30-Year ROI: $284,300
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $812,300
Annualized ROI: 10.1%

Runners-Up
South Dakota State University
University of South Dakota
Augustana College

Courtesy SDSMT
Best College ROI: Tennessee
Best College ROI: Tennessee

Vanderbilt University
Nashville

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 16%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (28%), engineering (17%), interdisciplinary studies (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $41,996
Average Annual Grant Aid: $31,857
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 57%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $87,340

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 46
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $722,400
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $793,800
Annualized ROI: 11.8%

Runners-Up
Christian Brothers University
Tennessee Technological University
University of Tennessee

Courtesy Vanderbilt University
Best College ROI: Texas
Best College ROI: Texas

Rice University
Houston

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 21%
Most Popular Majors: Engineering (17%), social sciences (17%), biology (8%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $35,551
Average Annual Grant Aid: $25,581
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 68%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $78,080

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 29
Graduation Rate: 93%
30-Year ROI: $835,800
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $898,700
Annualized ROI: 12.7%

Runners-Up
Texas A&M University
University of Texas, Austin
Southern Methodist University

Courtesy Rice University Public Affairs
Best College ROI: Utah
Best College ROI: Utah

Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 63%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (12%), biology (11%), social sciences (11%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $4,560*
Average Annual Grant Aid: $4,090
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 62%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $55,100

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 101
Graduation Rate: 77%
30-Year ROI: $483,700
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $628,200
Annualized ROI: 12%

Runners-Up
University of Utah
Utah State University
Weber State University

*For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; nonmembers pay $9,120

Best College ROI: Vermont
Best College ROI: Vermont

Middlebury College
Middlebury, Vt.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 18%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (30%), area & ethnic studies (9%), biology (9%), foreign languages & literature (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $53,800*
Average Annual Grant Aid: $32,346
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 44%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $84,300

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 167
Graduation Rate: 92%
30-Year ROI: $366,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $397,900
Annualized ROI: 9.8%

Runners-Up
University of Vermont
Norwich University

*Includes room and board

Best College ROI: Virginia
Best College ROI: Virginia

Washington & Lee University
Lexington, Va.

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 18%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (20%), business/marketing (18%), foreign languages & literature (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $41,927
Average Annual Grant Aid: $30,277
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 50%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $79,870

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 43
Graduation Rate: 91%
30-Year ROI: $736,000
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $808,800
Annualized ROI: 12.2%

Runners-Up
University of Virginia
College of William & Mary
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Courtesy Washington and Lee University
Best College ROI: Washington
Best College ROI: Washington

University of Washington
Seattle

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 58%
Most Popular Majors: Social sciences (19%), business/marketing (11%), biology (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $10,826 (in-state) $28,310 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $10,611
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 31%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $40,050

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 88
Graduation Rate: 81%
30-Year ROI: $509,200
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $628,600
Annualized ROI: 13.3%

Runners-Up
Gonzaga University
Whitman College
Washington State University

Photograph by Altrendo Travel
 Best College ROI: West Virginia
Best College ROI: West Virginia

West Virginia University
Morgantown, W. Va.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 85%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (12%), engineering (11%), interdisciplinary studies (10%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $5,674 (in-state) $17,844 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,492
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 71%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $45,470

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 328
Graduation Rate: 59%
30-Year ROI: $222,100
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $376,400
Annualized ROI: 10.1%

Runners-Up
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
West Liberty University
West Virginia Wesleyan College

Best College ROI: Wisconsin
Best College ROI: Wisconsin

Marquette University
Milwaukee

The Basics
School Type: Private
Applicants Admitted: 57%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (27%), communications/journalism (10%), engineering (9%), health professions (9%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $31,822
Average Annual Grant Aid: $14,739
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 83%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $107,900

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 123
Graduation Rate: 80%
30-Year ROI: $421,700
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $527,100
Annualized ROI: 9.5%

Runners-Up
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Milwaukee School of Engineering
University of Wisconsin, Platteville

Best College ROI: Wyoming
Best College ROI: Wyoming

University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyo.

The Basics
School Type: Public
Applicants Admitted: 96%
Most Popular Majors: Business/marketing (13%), education (13%), engineering (13%)

The Payout
Annual Tuition & Fees: $4,125 (in-state) $12,855 (out-of-state)
Average Annual Grant Aid: $5,750
Undergraduates Receiving Aid: 90%
Total Net Cost of Degree: $46,310

The Payoff
National ROI Rank: 362
Graduation Rate: 55%
30-Year ROI: $202,500
30-Year ROI for Graduates Only: $368,200
Annualized ROI: 9.8%

Runners-Up
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