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The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI

January 24, 2022

College typically pays off for low-income students, but not as much as it does for their peers. Low-income students, whose families earn $30,000 or less per year, comprise more than one-third of college students. The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI finds that low-income students have a lower return on investment (ROI) than all students, largely because they tend to earn less as adults. This holds true across public and private institutions and certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees. Among institutions that primarily award bachelor's degrees, public institutions generally lead to the highest ROI for low-income students during a 40-year timeframe ($951,000), followed by private nonprofit institutions ($863,000) and for-profit colleges ($763,000). The ROI for low-income students follows a similar pattern at colleges that primarily grant associate's degrees and certificates, with the highest returns from public institutions, followed by private nonprofit and for-profit institutions. However, low-income students' returns from associate's degrees can exceed $1 million, and certificates can be just as lucrative, depending on which college a student attends.

Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions

October 13, 2020

Did you know that in the first year after graduation you can make more money with an associate's degree in nursing from Santa Rosa Junior College in California than with a graduate degree from some programs at Harvard University? Data from the College Scorecard reveal many more surprising details of post-college outcomes for students and families about that all-important first year after graduation. Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions finds that first-year earnings for the same degree in the same major can vary by $80,000 at different colleges and universities. It also reveals that workers with less education can often make more than workers with more education, and that higher levels of education do not always result in higher student loan payments.

A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 US Colleges And Universities

January 14, 2020

Using data from the expanded College Scorecard, this report ranks 4,500 colleges and universities by return on investment.A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges finds that bachelor's degrees from private colleges, on average, have higher ROI than degrees from public colleges 40 years after enrollment. Community colleges and many certificate programs have the highest returns in the short term, 10 years after enrollment, though returns from bachelor's degrees eventually overtake those of most two-year credentials.