- Fields of study – schools that offer majors in engineering, science and math offer a great ROI because these positions offer better salaries.
- Financial aid – more financial aid for students means less debt for them after graduate, which translates into a positive ROI.
- Ivy League – the best universities in the country typically pave the way for graduates to land top-notch jobs with higher salaries.
With that, Payscale has identified the top 10 colleges in the country that offer the best return on investment for its students based on mid-career salaries: 10. SUNY Maritime College – $140,100
9. Princeton University – $141,300
8. U.S. Military Academy (West Point) – $141,900
6. Harvard University – $142,600 (Tied in sixth place)
6. Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – $142,600 (Tied in sixth place)
4. California Institute of Tech (CalTech) – $143,100 (Tied in fourth place)
4. Stanford University – $143,100 (Tied in fourth place)
3. U.S. Naval Academy – $149,800
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – $150,400
1. Harvey Mudd College – $157,400 In the full report, Payscale assessed colleges and universities across the country based on millions of people who take Payscale's salary survey each year. While return on investment is definitely worthwhile in helping to make a college decision, it shouldn't be the leading factor. There are plenty of great colleges out there that offer a great return on investment that may not even be listed. Students and parents should look at colleges from all angles -- from the majors offered to campus community to financial aid to student success outcomes. Finding a college based on all of these factors will provide more than a return on investment; it will guarantee a college experience that was worth every penny -- both literally and figuratively.