These Colleges Offer the Most Bang for Your Buck

'WSJ'/College Pulse rank higher-ed institutions based on their value
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
These Colleges Offer the Most Bang for Your Buck
Stock photo of a college campus corridor.   (Getty Images/Chantapat Kolkijkovin)

Picking a college or university can be a daunting task—especially when students and their parents have to fork over so much money to attend. Some higher-ed institutions offer more bang for the buck, however. Using research from the Third Way public policy think tank, the Wall Street Journal and College Pulse teamed up to shake out which ones are best in that regard. The team estimated the net cost of going to a college for four years (ie, tuition, room and board, books, and other necessities), then compared that to the median salary of graduates of the school with the median salary of high school grads in the state where the school is. Here, the top 10 colleges from a value standpoint, as well as how long it should take to pay off that four-year-degree in the working world 10 years after enrollment based on those median salaries:

Colleges with the best value

  1. Baruch College; two months
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; two months
  3. California State University-Los Angeles; three months
  4. University of Florida; three months
  5. Stanford University; four months
  6. Princeton University; six months
  7. California State University-Fullerton; six months
  8. University of Pennsylvania; eight months
  9. Columbia University; eight months
  10. Florida International University; nine months
See how other colleges fared here. (Here are the 10 best colleges in the US.)

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