A study published in Businessweek calculated the return on investment for hundreds of colleges and universities in the country, and found that MIT, Harvard University, and Babson College were among the schools considered the best investment.
According to Businessweek, the 2012 ranking was conducted by PayScale, a company that studies salary, benefits, and compensation. PayScale based its calculations on self-reported pay data through the website’s online salary survey tools.
Businessweek said the study reviewed pay reports from approximately 1,000 alumni for each college, and used that data to calculate the average 30-year net return on investment for the average graduate.
Out of the 850 schools that were reviewed, near the very top of the list was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study found that MIT graduates pay an average of $79,600 for the degree, but the 30-year net return is $1,489,000 per graduate.
Harvard University graduates shell out $69,840 for their diplomas. But after three decades, the return investment is $1,279,000. At Babson College, students invest a much smaller amount: $26,236 for a net return of $1,173,000.
Although the returns for Harvard and MIT are high, in 2010 PayScale conducted a similar study, which found that these degrees were worth even more. MIT graduates invested $189,300 for a payback of closer to $2 million. And at Harvard, students paid $189,600 for well over $1.5 million.
This year’s study also found that Amherst College and Tufts University are worthwhile investments. At Amherst, students pay $64,390 for a 30-year net worth of $933,400. Whereas at Tufts, graduates invest $95,230 for an $825,600 return.
Boston University and Brandeis University are considered decent investments. A BU diploma costs an average of $119,500, for a return of $587,100. At Brandeis, students pay $98,520 for a 30-year return of $450,100.
The study cited a number of Massachusetts’ schools that are a bit of a gamble. A diploma from Lesley University costs $130,200, but graduates get back -$33,700 after three decades. At the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, students pay $136,400 for a return of -$29,700.
At the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, students invest $53,720 for a $-195,000 return. Springfield College graduates pay $113,100, and get back -$53,600. The lowest ranked college was Berklee College of Music, where graduates pay $159,500 for a -$53,600 return.
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