Harvey Mudd at No. 1 for College ROI

March 26, 2014

Harvey Mudd College ranked No. 1 in the nation for return on college investment in PayScale’s 2014 College ROI Report, released today by the online salary information company.  Harvey Mudd tops the College ROI list for the third year in a row.

PayScale economists evaluated data from more than 900 colleges and universities and compared costs to median alumni earnings over a 20-year period, a change from last year’s methodology that used a 30-year ROI.  PayScale made the change after their data revealed that salaries tend to level out after age 40.

“This methodological change did not significantly alter the rankings but had the overall impact of producing lower ROI figures across the board,” PayScale Lead Economist Katie Bardara wrote. “For example, Harvey Mudd still tops the list, but with a 20-year ROI of $980,900 rather than a 30-year ROI of $2,113,000.”

“The Harvey Mudd College curriculum was developed not to help graduates earn the highest salaries but to prepare them to tackle the most difficult challenges in an ever-changing world,” said Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid Thyra Briggs. “The College’s mission demands that our graduates understand the impact of their work on society and we take that responsibility seriously. We provide a top-notch math and science education in a broader liberal arts context; our students learn to solve the most demanding technical problems while also learning how to think across disciplines, work collaboratively, write well and present their ideas to a broad range of audiences. These traits may distinguish our students from other high-level math and science graduates, making them particularly attractive to employers and graduate schools.”

PayScale noted a strong positive correlation between STEM-focused schools and ROI, stating that schools with a higher presence of STEM majors tend to have higher overall ROI figures.  The report also pointed out that engineering schools dominated the ROI ranking: nine out of the top 10 schools have strong engineering programs and their average 20-year net ROI is almost three times the average across all non-engineering schools.

Coming in at second place was California Institute of Technology, followed by MIT in third place. Stanford University ranked fourth, and Colorado School of Mines (In-State) came in fifth.