What’s the ROI of a college education?

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently published a study on the ROI of college educations.

Billed as a “first try”, the report estimates the Net Present Value of a college education — taking into account the “price” of a college’s degree, the interest on student debt incurred, likely future earnings and the time value of money.


Among the reports key conclusions….


Key Findings of College ROI Study

1. Community colleges and many certificate programs have the highest ROI in the short term (10 year time frame).

2. Colleges offering bachelor’s degrees have the highest ROI in the long term (40 year time frame).

3. Public colleges have higher ROI than private colleges in the short term (10 year time frame).

4. Degrees from private nonprofit colleges generally have a higher ROI in the long term than public universities (40 year time frame).


Drilling down

The results are certain to raise eyebrows …

Here are the top 10 schools offering the highest long-term ROIs (40 year time horizon):

click to enlarge

Note that…

  • The top 3 spots go to pharmacy colleges.
  • 2 of the top 10 spots go to maritime colleges.
  • The only “elite” colleges making the list are MIT, Stanford, Babson, Harvard and Georgetown.



Find Your School

The College ROI site provides a handy search tool to see how your school of choice ranks.



My take: It’s appropriate that the study is billed as a “First Try”.  I’m sure that the methodology and results will be subjected to much critical review … especially by lower ranked schools.

But, the general concept of a college ROI is a big step forward … and this study at least marshals some facts and an approach for addressing the issue.

Thanks to MES for feeding the lead.

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma


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