New database ranks 4,500 US colleges and universities by return on investment

Yahoo Finance |

By Ihsaan Fanusie

new database released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) ranks 4,500 colleges and universities based on their return on investment (ROI).

“At 1,233 postsecondary institutions (30% of all colleges), more than half of students 10 years after enrollment earn less than a high school graduate,” the Center wrote in its accompanying report. “CEW’s previous research suggests that these low earnings may be related to low college graduation rates and disparities in earnings by gender and by race and ethnicity.”

The ranking assessed schools on a variety of factors, including tuition and costs, average student debt, graduation rates, and net earnings after enrollment. Institutions were ranked based on return on investment at the 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, 30-year, and 40-year periods.

Some surprises on the list included the prestigious Harvard University, which ranked 133rd in the nation for 10-year net present value and 45th for 40-year net present value.

“Twenty-five of the 30 institutions with the best short-term net economic gains primarily grant certificates or associate’s degrees,” the Center noted. “Because these programs require fewer credits to complete, they generally leave students with less debt and allow them to enter the workforce sooner. In the long run, however, the returns of these programs fall behind those of bachelor’s degree granting institutions because students’ long-term earnings are lower.”

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The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Ihsaan Fanusie is a writer at Yahoo Finance and not affiliated with US Wealth Management, LLC and LPL Financial.