- 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. Stanford University – $140,400
9. Harvard University – $140,700
8. Babson College – $141,700
7. California Institute of Tech (CalTech) – $142,500
6. U.S. Naval Academy – $143,800
5. U.S. Military Academy (West Point) – $144,300
4. SUNY Maritime College – $145,100
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – $147,000
2. Princeton University – $147,800
1. Harvey Mudd College – $155,800 In the full report, Payscale assessed over 1,500 colleges and universities across the country. 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.