Rankings Compare College Costs to Future Income
Most students and their families quickly dive into rankings when searching for the “best colleges and universities.”
However, Georgetown University, itself on many of those “best college” lists, has veered from rankings based on grade-point averages, admission rates and SAT scores, and come up with a new metric, ranking institutions of higher education based on the financial return students receive from their investment in the school.
Traditional private, four-year schools that offer bachelor’s degrees have the highest returns on investment not just immediately after graduation, but 40 years after enrollment, Georgetown’s report on the ranking says.
“For example, Babson College, a private college in Massachusetts, ranks 304th in net present value at the 10-year horizon, but ranks seventh at the 40-year horizon,” Georgetown’s University Center on Education and the Workforce said. Its detailed project included 4,500 schools that offer degrees and certificates.
Tops on the list for return on investment over 40 years was Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, a private nonprofit institution that costs about $50,000 per year. It was calculated to return $385,000 at 10 years, $1.3 million at 20 years, and $2.72 million on that investment to the graduate after 40 years.
By comparison, the private, nonprofit, four-year Stanford University in California that ranked No. 5 on the Georgetown list would return $307,000 in 10 years, $1.013 million in 20 years; and $2.068 million in 40. Tuition and fees are about the same as Albany College of Pharmacy.
Those calculations are published prices and do not include financial aid discounts.
“Everyone is asking, ‘Is college worth it?’ and we set out to try to find an answer,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, lead author and CEW director in a statement. “Not only will it help students, but this kind of information on the costs and benefits of higher education holds institutions more accountable.”
Carnevale served for a decade as vice president for public leadership at the Educational Testing Service, the largest private nonprofit testing service, which administers the SAT and other tests that are required or highly recommended for admission into higher-education programs.
Data from some obvious affordable schools CEW could not gain access to include the U.S. service academies. Those schools do not collect tuition and fees, and students are given stipends to pay for expenses like dry cleaning, barbers and laundry. Admission and graduation is exchanged for service in the U.S. military after graduation.
And who’s who in Georgetown’s Top 20? Some names you don’t typically see in the popular annual rankings and careers that you won’t find on many other lists. (Hint: Get your sea legs on.)
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (N.Y.)
St. Louis College of Pharmacy (Mo.)
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Mass.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Mass.)
Stanford University (Calif.)
Maine Maritime Academy (Maine)
Babson College (Mass.)
Harvard University (Mass.)
Georgetown University (D.C.)
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.)
University of the Sciences (Pa.)
St Paul’s School of Nursing-Queens (N.Y.)
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (Mass.)
Harvey Mudd College (Calif.)
Stevens Institute of Technology (N.J.)
University of Pennsylvania (Pa.)
California State University Maritime Academy (Calif.)
California Institute of Technology (Calif.)
Colorado School of Mines (Colo.)
Bentley University (Mass.)
No, that’s not a typo, you are reading correctly: Pharmacy and maritime schools offer excellent return on investment along with notable STEM colleges and universities.
For-profit and certificate schools scored the lowest return on investment, and include beauty, rabbinical, ethnic and arts schools.
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Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney implored new college graduates to not compromise when it comes to the truth, excoriating her House Republican colleagues for not doing enough to combat former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen.
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Cheney, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, recalled being a political science student walking into a campus building where a Bible verse was inscribed above the entrance that read, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
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In three terms in office, Cheney rose to the No. 3 GOP leadership position in the House, a job she lost after voting to impeach Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and then not relenting in her criticism of the former president.
Cheney's speech touched on themes similar to those she has promoted since leaving office in January: addressing her work on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and standing up to the threat she believes Trump poses to democracy. She also encouraged more women to run for office and criticized one of the election-denying attorneys who worked for Trump after the 2020 election for recent remarks about college students voting.
"Cleta Mitchell, an election denier and adviser to former President Trump, told a gathering of Republicans recently that it is crucially important to make sure that college students don't vote," Cheney said. "Those who are trying to unravel the foundations of our republic, who are threatening the rule of law and the sanctity of our elections, know they can't succeed if you vote."
In an audio recording of Mitchell's presentation from a recent Republican National Committee retreat, she warns of polling places on college campuses and the ease of voting as potential problems, The Washington Post reported.
Most students and parents in the audience applauded throughout Cheney's remarks, yet some booed. Some students opposing the choice of Cheney as speaker turned their chairs away from the stage as she spoke.
Cheney's busy speaking schedule and subject matter have fueled speculation about whether she may enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary since she left office. Candidates ranging from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have calibrated their remarks about Trump, aiming to counter his attacks without alienating the supporters that won him the White House seven years ago.
Though some have offered measured criticisms, no declared or potential challenger has embraced anti-Trump messaging to the same extent as Cheney. She did not reference her plans on Sunday but has previously said she remains undecided about whether she wants to run for president.
Though she would face an uphill battle, Cheney's fierce anti-Trump stance and her role as vice chairwoman of the House committee elevated her platform high enough to call on a national network of donors and Trump critics to support a White House run.
A super PAC organized to support of her candidacy has remained active, including purchasing attack ads on New Hampshire airwaves against Trump this month.
After leaving office and being replaced by a Trump-backed Republican who defeated her in last year's primary, Cheney was appointed to a professorship at the University of Virginia and wrote "Oath and Honor," a memoir scheduled to hit shelves in November.
Two of Cheney's five children as well as her mother are also graduates of the liberal arts college.
Cheney's speaking tour appears to be picking up. She is scheduled to appear Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan.