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15 Colleges Worth the Price of Admission — In the Long Run

College students

At some schools, if you can see past the caps and gowns, the payoff is large

It’s no secret that a college education can be expensive (although there’s always a deal to be found). Whether or not a college education is worth it in the end  is up for endless debate (as is the definition of “worth”). But either way, some college degrees are worth more than others. Literally.

PayScale.com recently released a report on the highest salary potential among the nation’s top colleges. Schools were ranked by the mid-career median salaries of its graduates.

Check out the top 15 schools (and they’re not necessarily the schools you’re thinking of or have even heard of) worth the price of admission in terms of their eventual payoff:


  • 15. Amherst College 1 of 15
    15. Amherst College
    Mid-career median salary: $107,000 • Starting median salary: $55,400 • 2010-2011 tuition: $40,862 • National College rank: 2 • Acceptance rate: 16% • Total undergrad enrollment: 1,744
  • 14. Bucknell University 2 of 15
    14. Bucknell University
    Mid-career median salary: $115,000 • Starting median salary: $55,800 • 2010-2011 tuition: $42,342 • National College rank: 30 • Acceptance rate: 29.9% • Total undergrad enrollment: 3,543
  • 13. SUNY Maritime 3 of 15
    13. SUNY Maritime
    Mid-career median salary: $109,000 • Starting median salary: $57,00 • 2010-2011 tuition (out-of-state): $14,567 • National College rank: 19 • Acceptance rate: 63.1% • Total undergrad enrollment: 1,575
  • 12. College of the Holy Cross 4 of 15
    12. College of the Holy Cross
    Mid-career median salary: $112,000 • Starting median salary: $48,700 • 2010-2011 tuition: $39,892 • National College rank: 32 • Acceptance rate: 36.5% • Total undergrad enrollment: 2,932
  • 11. Colgate University 5 of 15
    11. Colgate University
    Mid-career median salary: $112,000 • Starting median salary: $48,700 • 2010-2011 tuition: $41,870 • National College rank: 21 • Acceptance rate: 32% • Total undergrad enrollment: 2,825
  • 10. Lehigh University 6 of 15
    10. Lehigh University
    Mid-career median salary: $112,000 • Starting median salary: $57,200 • 2010-2011 tuition: $39,780 • National College rank: 37 • Acceptance rate: 32.8% • Total undergrad enrollment: 4,809
  • 9. Stanford University 7 of 15
    9. Stanford University
    Mid-career median salary: $112,000 • Starting median salary: $58,200 • 2010-2011 tuition: $39,201 • National College rank: 5 • Acceptance rate: 8% • Total undergrad enrollment: 6,602
  • 8. Duke University 8 of 15
    8. Duke University
    Mid-career median salary: $111,000 • Starting median salary: $59,600 • 2010-2011 tuition: $40,472 • National College rank: 9 • Acceptance rate: 18.9% • Total undergrad enrollment: 6,578
  • 7. Polytechnic Institute of New York University 9 of 15
    7. Polytechnic Institute of New York University
    Mid-career median salary: $113,000 • Starting median salary: $61,000 • 2010-2011 tuition: $36,284 • National College rank: 153 • Acceptance rate: 55% • Total undergrad enrollment: 1,732
  • 6. Dartmouth College 10 of 15
    6. Dartmouth College
    Mid-career median salary: $114,000 • Starting median salary: $51,600 • 2010-2011 tuition: $40,437 • National College rank: 9 • Acceptance rate: 12.6% • Total undergrad enrollment: 4,196
  • 5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 11 of 15
    5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Mid-career median salary: $115,000 • Starting median salary: $69,700 • 2010-2011 tuition: $39,212 • National College rank: 7 • Acceptance rate: 10.7% • Total undergrad enrollment: 4,232
  • 4. Harvard University 12 of 15
    4. Harvard University
    Mid-career median salary: $116,000 • Starting median salary: $54,100 • 2010-2011 tuition: $38,416 • National College rank: 1 • Acceptance rate: 7.5% • Total undergrad enrollment: 6,655
  • 3. Harvey Mudd College 13 of 15
    3. Harvey Mudd College
    Mid-career median salary: $121,000 • Starting median salary: $64,400 • 2010-2011 tuition: $40,390 • National College rank: 18 • Acceptance rate: 34.1% • Total undergrad enrollment: 757
  • 2. California Institute of Technology (CalTech) 14 of 15
    2. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
    Mid-career median salary: $123,000 • Starting median salary: $69,600 • 2010-2011 tuition: $36,282 • National College rank: 7 • Acceptance rate: 15.3% • Total undergrad enrollment: 951
  • 1. Princeton University 15 of 15
    1. Princeton University
    Mid-career median salary: $130,000 • Starting median salary: $56,900 • 2010-2011 tuition: $36,640 • National College rank: 2 • Acceptance rate: 10.1% • Total undergrad enrollment: 5,113

Source: CNBC.com

Images: Wikipedia

Are you paying for your kids’ college education? This Mom say “No”

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