Special Report

50 Top Ranked Colleges That Pay Off the Least


To determine the 50 top-ranked colleges that pay off the least, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on typical post-college earnings for over 600 colleges and universities. Schools included in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges lists were ranked based on the ratio of median earnings 10 years after entry to university to the average net price of attendance at that university. 

Data on median earnings in 2014 and 2015 came from the U.S. Department of Education and represents the sum of all wages, compensation, and self-employment income for individuals who entered school during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 academic years and received financial aid while there. Data on net price of attendance also came from the DOE and represents the cost of tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses minus federal, state, and institutional scholarship aid for all undergraduate students receiving Title IV aid in the 2017-18 academic year. Data on the percentage of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, and local institutional or other sources of grant aid came from the DOE and is for the 2017-18 academic year. Data on total undergraduate enrollment came from the DOE and is for the Fall 2019 semester.

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