College Rankings 2013

20 Colleges with the Worst Return on Investment (photos)

Diplomas from these schools are costly considering the relatively low earning potential they come with.

The overwhelming majority of soon-to-be college students indicate that they head to college to guarantee higher earnings in the future. To find out which schools are worst at offering a well-paid future for relatively less tuition, The Daily Beast first limited the universe of schools to only those that graduate at least 75% of students within six years. Our thinking: a degree is not valuable if you don’t 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 who graduate within four, five, and six years to create an average net price for all students who graduated within six years; this figure 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.

Scott Shaw/The Plain Dealer /Landov

Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio


6-Year Grad Rate: 88%

Average Net Price: $34,797

Average Starting Salary: $38,800

Average Midcareer Salary: $83,900

Saint Mary's College

Notre Dame, Indiana

 

6-Year Grad Rate: 78.8%

Average Net Price: $26,391

Average Starting Salary: $41,100

Average Midcareer Salary: $62,200

 

 

*Correction: This slide previously incorrectly showed an image of Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. The image has been updated to reflect the correct college. We apologize for the error.

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, New York


6-Year Grad Rate: 80.3%

Average Net Price: $31,073

Average Starting Salary: $43,000

Average Midcareer Salary: $71,700

Lumigraphics/Getty

Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo, Michigan


6-Year Grad Rate: 79.6%

Average Net Price: $26,347

Average Starting Salary: $36,300

Average Midcareer Salary: $75,000

AJ Mast/AP

Taylor University

Upland, Indiana


6-Year Grad Rate: 80.4%

Average Net Price: $24,392

Average Starting Salary: $38,000

Average Midcareer Salary: $70,500

Nick Burchell

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois


6-Year Grad Rate: 82.5%

Average Net Price: $27,134

Average Starting Salary: $39,400

Average Midcareer Salary: $74,400

Sara D. Davis/AP

Elon University

Elon, North Carolina


6-Year Grad Rate: 82.1%

Average Net Price: $28,208

Average Starting Salary: $43,200

Average Midcareer Salary: $69,100

The College of Wooster

Wooster, Ohio


6-Year Grad Rate: 75%

Average Net Price: $23,668

Average Starting Salary: $41,800

Average Midcareer Salary: $64,000

Dave Roback/The Republican /Landov

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Massachusetts


6-Year Grad Rate: 84.9%

Average Net Price: $23,910

Average Starting Salary: $39,400

Average Midcareer Salary: $69,400

Stephan Savoia/AP

Wheaton College

Norton, Massachusetts


6-Year Grad Rate: 77.1%

Average Net Price: 27,451

Average Starting Salary: $37,300

Average Midcareer Salary: $82,500

Matt Rourke/AP

Ursinus College

Collegeville, Pennsylvania


6-Year Grad Rate: 80%

Average Net Price: $26,859

Average Starting Salary: $40,400

Average Midcareer Salary: $74,600

Knox College

Galesburg, Illinois


6-Year Grad Rate: 78.5%

Average Net Price: $22,201

Average Starting Salary: $35,000

Average Midcareer Salary: $76,000

Gregory Olsen

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington


6-Year Grad Rate: 78.5%

Average Net Price: $22,201

Average Starting Salary: $35,000

Average Midcareer Salary: $76,000

PRNewsFoto/Siemens Building Technologies, Inc./AP

Allegheny College

Meadville, Pennsylvania


6-Year Grad Rate: 80.4%

Average Net Price: $25,140

Average Starting Salary: $39,400

Average Midcareer Salary: $74,400

PRNewsFoto/Twin Cities Public Television/AP

St. Olaf College

Northfield, Minnesota


6-Year Grad Rate: 84.9%

Average Net Price: $26,276

Average Starting Salary: $39,200

Average Midcareer Salary: $77,500

Emerson College

Boston, Massachusetts


6-Year Grad Rate: 81.3%

Average Net Price: $28,567

Average Starting Salary: $42,100

Average Midcareer Salary: $77,100

Matt Smith/Express-Times, via Landov

Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

 

6-Year Grad Rate: 76.4%

Average Net Price: $26,107

Average Starting Salary: $42,600

Average Midcareer Salary: $71,000

Jeff Watts/Courtesy of American University

American University

Washington, District of Columbia


6-Year Grad Rate: 77.2%

Average Net Price: $31,447

Average Starting Salary: $43,500

Average Midcareer Salary: $81,400

Beloit College

Beloit, Wisconsin


6-Year Grad Rate: 75.8%

Average Net Price: $23,421

Average Starting Salary: $38,900

Average Midcareer Salary: $75,000


Lawrence University

Appleton, Wisconsin


6-Year Grad Rate: 77.4%

Average Net Price: $26,229

Average Starting Salary: $36,400

Average Midcareer Salary: $89,500