College doesn’t come cheap.
In fact, just one year of tuition at an in-state public university now tallies close to $19,000 .
Of course, research generally shows that a four-year degree tends to pay off in the long run—thanks to increased earnings over time.
To crunch the numbers, PayScale took the median earnings of grads over the course of 20 years (minus median earnings for those with just a high school degree) and then subtracted how much they shelled out for their schooling.
The result: Each school’s overall ROI, or return on investment.
Surprisingly, the top 10 list isn’t laden with Ivy League names. In fact, just one makes the list—Princeton University, at No. 9, with a $795,700 20-year ROI.
Instead, the common denominator turned out to be engineering colleges , with seven out of 10 of the top universities focused on this field of study. In first place: Harvey Mudd College, with a whopping $985,300 ROI.
And rounding out the top five: the California Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Colorado School of Mines, and Babson College—all boasting ROIs well above $800,000.
By comparison, arts and liberal arts schools had average ROIs of just $200,000.
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Photo of university courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock .
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