College Rankings 2014

25 Colleges with the Best Return on Investment (Photos)

Based on the future earnings of graduates, these are the schools where a degree is truly worth the cost.

The Daily Beast

Quinn Ryan/The Daily Beast

Students consistently rate gaining lucrative employment as the most essential factor in deciding where to go to college. With that in mind, The Daily Beast wanted to find which schools offered students the best opportunity to make money in the future without shelling out too much upfront. We first limited the universe of schools to those that graduate at least 75 percent of their students within six years. Our thinking: a degree is only valuable if you get it, and schools that don’t have a good track record of graduating students aren’t offering a reliable return on a student’s investment, regardless of cost or potential future earnings. We then calculated a net price based on the percent of students that graduate within four, five and six years to create an average net price for all students that graduated within six years, which was worth a third of the final ranking. The last two-thirds of the ranking was devoted to starting and mid-career salary of graduates according to Payscale.com.

#25

Manhattan College

Riverdale, New York


6-Year Graduation Rate: 75%

Average Net Price: $25,646

Average Starting Salary: $57,500

Average Mid-Career Salary: $110,800

Christa Neu/Lehigh University

#24

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


6-Year Graduation Rate: 88%

Average Net Price: $25,331

Average Starting Salary: $60,400

Average Mid-Career Salary: $106,300

Dartmouth College

#23

Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire


6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Average Net Price: $20,490

Average Starting Salary: $55,500

Average Mid-Career Salary: $104,700

Mike Cohea/Brown University

#22

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island


6-Year Graduation Rate: 95%

Average Net Price: $23,127

Average Starting Salary: $55,100

Average Mid-Career Salary: $114,500

B.O'Kane / Alamy

#21

Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts


6-Year Graduation Rate: 92%

Average Net Price: $27,525

Average Starting Salary: $51,900

Average Mid-Career Salary: $123,600

Scott Barrow/Williams College

#20

Williams College

Williamstown, Massachusetts


6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Average Net Price: $17,365

Average Starting Salary: $50,200

Average Mid-Career Salary: $110,700

Vespasian / Alamy

#19

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee


6-Year Graduation Rate: 92%

Average Net Price: $19,667

Average Starting Salary: $56,300

Average Mid-Career Salary: $103,400

Mario Tama/Getty Images

#18

Columbia University

New York, New York


6-Year Graduation Rate: 95%

Average Net Price: $21,274

Average Starting Salary: $59,200

Average Mid-Career Salary: $101,100

Lance King

#17

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina


6-Year Graduation Rate: 95%

Average Net Price: $24,134

Average Starting Salary: $59,500

Average Mid-Career Salary: $108,000

Cornell University

#16

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York


6-Year Graduation Rate: 93%

Average Net Price: $23,684

Average Starting Salary: $58,200

Average Mid-Career Salary: $111,100

Sanjay Suchak/University of Virginia

#15

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia


6-Year Graduation Rate: 93%

Average Net Price: $12,672

Average Starting Salary: $54,100

Average Mid-Career Salary: $99,300

University of Pennsylvania

#14

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Average Net Price: $21,821

Average Starting Salary: $59,300

Average Mid-Career Salary: $112,200

Kevin Remington/Washington and Lee University

#13

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia


6-Year Graduation Rate: 90%

Average Net Price: $18,788

Average Starting Salary: $50,700

Average Mid-Career Salary: $124,300

Brian Wilson/Princeton University

#12

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey


6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Average Net Price: $20,040

Average Starting Salary: $60,000

Average Mid-Career Salary: $113,900

David Schmitz/University of California-Berkeley

#11

University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California


6-Year Graduation Rate: 91%

Average Net Price: $16,178

Average Starting Salary: $59,500

Average Mid-Career Salary: $114,200

Michael Marsland/Yale University

#10

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut


6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Average Net Price: $18,479

Average Starting Salary: $58,500

Average Mid-Career Salary: $115,100

Andrew M. Daddio/Colgate University

#9

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York


6-Year Graduation Rate: 90%

Average Net Price: $19,384

Average Starting Salary: $54,000

Average Mid-Career Salary: $126,600

Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

#8

Rice University

Houston, Texas


6-Year Graduation Rate: 92%

Average Net Price: $19,888

Average Starting Salary: $60,000

Average Mid-Career Salary: $119,900

Cooper Union

#7

Cooper Union

New York, New York


6-Year Graduation Rate: 81%

Average Net Price: $15,374

Average Starting Salary: $61,100

Average Mid-Career Salary: $117,000

Rose Lincoln/Harvard University

#6

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts


6-Year Graduation Rate: 97%

Average Net Price: $14,445

Average Starting Salary: $57,700

Average Mid-Career Salary: $118,200

Ethan Trewhitt/Georgia Institute of Technology

#5

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

Atlanta, Georgia


6-Year Graduation Rate: 79%

Average Net Price: $9,116

Average Starting Salary: $61,700

Average Mid-Career Salary: $111,700

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

#4

Stanford University

Stanford, California


6-Year Graduation Rate: 95%

Average Net Price: $19,233

Average Starting Salary: $62,900

Average Mid-Career Salary: $126,400

Mudd College

#3

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, California


6-Year Graduation Rate: 88%

Average Net Price: $30,205

Average Starting Salary: $75,600

Average Mid-Career Salary: $133,800

California Institute of Technology

#2

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California


6-Year Graduation Rate: 92%

Average Net Price: $22,645

Average Starting Salary: $74,800

Average Mid-Career Salary: $126,200

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

#1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts


6-Year Graduation Rate: 93%

Average Net Price: $20,629

Average Starting Salary: $70,300

Average Mid-Career Salary: $128,800