What Are RI College Degrees Worth?
Saturday, May 19, 2012
For some RI schools, quite a lot. Bloomberg Businessweek recently released its third annual special report: College Investment: Does It Pay? With pay for college grads down and costs on the rise, the business site looked at the return on investment, or ROI, for more than 853 colleges and universities nationwide. And ranked them based on which schools paid out best.
Brown: Strong return at #15 nationwide
Despite its high price tag (net cost to graduate was named at $92,000), Brown University ranked in the Top 20 in the country with a 30-year ROI of $947,500, and an annual ROI of 12.4%, according to Businessweek. This supports the overall findings of this year's study: while the top-performing ROI schools were engineering schools, including the Top 3: #1 Harvey Mudd College, #2 California Institute of Technology and #3 MIT, the only schools that fared better than engineering schools were those in the Ivy League.
"Seven of the eight Ivies are in the Top 15," wrote Louis Lavelle, an associate editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, "and the average ROI for all eight was more than $1 million." While costs are high for Ivy League schools like Brown, Lavelle says, "several factors worked in their favor, including generous financial aid and excellent graduation rates--both in terms of how many students ultimately graduate and how long it takes them to do so."
How to compute a college's ROI
Bloomberg Businessweek states right up front that calculating the return on investment for a college "is a complex endeavor, with the outcome deeply dependent on methodology, assumptions, and other factors." Using a methodology created by PayScale, the ROI figure reflects not only costs and earnings, but also the likelihood that students will graduate and how long it will take. For a complete discussion of the methodology, go here.
RI schools' returns on investment
Brown was indeed the highest performing school in the state, but how did the others do? What's the ROI elsewhere in RI?
With a #76 ranking nationwide, Providence College claims a 30-year ROI of $613,500 on a net cost to graduate of $112,800, yielding a 10.1% annual ROI.
At the #155 spot, the business-oriented university in Smithfield posted an 8.8% ROI, with a 30-year value of $501,600.
University of Rhode Island
For in-state students at one of the state's two public institutions, URI ranked at #242 with a 9.6% ROI, while for out-of-state kids, the ROI dropped to 7.3% (ranking at #291 on the list).
Arts are great, but they don't necessarily pay. The esteemed art school in Providence ranked at #400 for its ROI, which was calculated at 6.5%.
Rounding up the rest
RI's 5 other schools that were assessed all ranked worse than #500, according to Businessweek. Roger Williams University was hurt by a graduation rate of only 61% and ranked #510 with an annual ROI of 6.1%, while Salve Regina, at #516, had a slightly higher graduation rate of 68% but nonetheless only posted an ROI of 6.3%.
Rhode Island College, the state's other public institution, posted a 4.4% annual ROI for in-state students and a 30-year net ROI (including aid) for graduates only of $24,420. Lagging behind RIC was Johnson & Wales University, which had a negative 30-year ROI and had only a 3.7% annual ROI, ranking at #918. Finally, out-of-state students graduating from RIC face the dimmest future, with a #918 ranking, and a 3.5% annual ROI.
For stats on the all the schools, including graduation rates, percent of undergraduates receiving grant aid, the average grant aid package, the net cost to graduate, the 30-year net ROI including aid, the 30-year net ROI including aid for graduates only, and annualized ROIs, go here.
For more College coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.
- The Top 10: Top New England Colleges 2012
- The Best of Rhode Island: Top New England Colleges 2012
- GoLocal’s Super Ranking: Top New England Colleges 2012
- Super Ranking List: Top New England Colleges 2012