7 California Colleges That Offer a Great ROI

If you want to attend college in California, consider one of these seven schools in order to ensure that your degree really pays off.

By Sydney Nikols | February 17, 2017

Payscale reported that California Institute of Technology offers a 30-year net ROI of $1,991,000.

College is expensive, but that doesn’t mean your tuition amounts to money that you’ll never see again. If you choose a college wisely, you can get a good return on your college investment, meaning that the money you earn after graduating greatly exceeds the amount you spent on your degree. According to Payscale, these seven colleges located in the Golden State offer some of the best ROIs in the country.

Earning a four-year degree is hardly cheap, but attending one of these cost-effective California colleges will ensure that your investment is worth it.

1. Harvey Mudd College

It comes as no surprise that Harvey Mudd College offers the best ROI in the entire country. After all, the highly selective school specializes in science, math and engineering, all majors that garner high salaries according to Payscale. And Harvey Mudd students certainly deserve the whopping $221,700,000 30-year net ROI they receive -- they study more than most students in the country according to The Princeton Review.

2. California Institute of Technology

Payscale reported that California Institute of Technology offers a 30-year net ROI of $1,991,000, the second-highest in the entire country. Payscale also reported that Cal Tech grads receive the third-highest salaries in the country; starting salaries average $68,400 and mid-career salaries average $124,000. Grads who enter the job market right away begin making their return by scoring jobs at high-paying companies that recruit on Cal Tech’s campus (think GE, Yahoo and Goldman Sachs).

3. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College stands as proof that attending a small, private liberal arts college doesn’t mean you have to suffer a less-than-desirable return on your investment. In fact, with a 30-year net ROI of $1,341,000, Claremont McKenna graduates receive the 13th-best ROI in the country. This is partially thanks to the school’s outstanding career services program, named the fourth-best in the country by The Princeton Review.

Claremont McKenna graduates receive the 13th-best ROI in the country.

4. University of California, Berkeley

With top-ranked, world-renowned programs in fields like business and engineering, it comes as no surprise that University of California, Berkeley, offers students a great 30-year net return on their investment ($1,182,000). Considering that in-state tuition and fees add up to just $12,864, Berkeley offers students the chance to leverage a relatively cheap but very prestigious degree into building a lucrative career.

5. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, which was recently named one of the top regional universities in the west by U.S. News and World Report, offers students an impressive 30-year net ROI of $1,151,000. Computer science majors at Cal Poly are especially well-positioned, as grads from that program receive the second-highest ROIs in their field.

6. Stanford University

With a 30-year net ROI of $1,432,000, Stanford University graduates receive the 10th-best ROI in the U.S. Much of this can be attributed to the school’s location in the tech-heavy Silicon Valley, allowing students to score lucrative positions as computer scientists, software designers and engineers at local firms. The school’s widely respected name and extensive Cardinal Recruiting program mean that even those who major in the humanities have a solid shot at building high-paying careers, as well.

7. Santa Clara University

Named the second-best regional university in the west by U.S. News and World Report, Santa Clara University offers graduates a 30-year net ROI of $1,282,000. Students in the school’s well-ranked business and engineering programs share the Silicon Valley with Stanford University students, offering them similar opportunities at high-paying, tech-focused firms.

Santa Clara University offers graduates a 30-year net ROI of $1,282,000.

Earning a four-year degree is hardly cheap, but attending one of these cost-effective California colleges will ensure that your investment is worth it.

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