The University Network

The Top 100 Public and Private Universities in the U.S. Based On Post-Graduation Earnings to Tuition Ratio

How much money can I make 10 years from now, and how much would I have to spend on tuition to make that amount? These are important questions that prospective college students should keep in mind when choosing a school.

Unfortunately, while students have many ways to compare prospective higher education choices, few tools focus on the numbers that matter most, as in, how different your financial health could be 10 years after attending college A instead of college B.

To address this issue, The University Network (TUN) has created the School Analysis Tool to make it easier for students and their families to make better comparisons of higher education by comparing a whole host of data, including:

  • actual annual cost based on different family income levels;
  • post graduation earnings;
  • graduation rate;
  • retention rate; and
  • average debt.

In addition, TUN also has constructed a few ratios to help students make an apples-to-apples comparison of the schools they want to check out. One of these ratios is the Earnings to Tuition Ratio, which give prospective students and their parents a quick way to compare schools when considering the cost of attending and the salary they can expect to earn after attending.

To construct the ratio, we used the data from the U.S. Department of Education as of September 25, 2017, showing the the median earnings 10 years after the start of attending school divided by the average annual cost of attendance that financial aid recipients incurred.

We found an average Earnings to Tuition Ratio of 3.1 to one for the 3,495 schools in the U.S. that provided the necessary data.

The higher the ratio, the better it is for students with loans to pay back. United States Merchant Marine Academy topped the list at a ratio of 14.8 to one, a little more than 4.7 times the national average, which is not surprising as students get free tuition. Princeton University came second with a ratio of 11 to one.

The Top 100 Universities in the U.S. Based On Graduates’ Earnings to Tuition Ratios

While the School Analysis Tool makes it easy to compare schools based on available financial data, we have limited the following three top 100 lists to 4-year schools with a graduation rate of greater than 50 percent and enrollment greater than 500 students: 

  1. Earnings to Tuition Ratios for the top 100 all 4-year schools;
  2. Earnings to Tuition Ratios for the top 100 public 4-year schools; and
  3. Earnings to Tuition Ratios for the top 100 private 4-year schools.

A. Here is a list of the top 100 all 4-year schools and their Earnings to Tuition Ratios (average earnings to tuition ratios of 2.3 to one for this data subset):

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RankSchoolRatio
1United States Merchant Marine Academy14.8
2Princeton University11.0
3Berea College10.9
4CUNY Bernard M Baruch College8.0
5CUNY Queens College7.9
6CUNY Brooklyn College7.0
7California State University-Fresno6.9
8Harvard University6.8
9Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus6.8
10California State University-Stanislaus6.4
11California State University-Fullerton6.2
12CUNY Hunter College6.2
13Stanford University5.9
14Christian Brothers University5.5
15University of Washington-Tacoma Campus5.3
16The California Maritime Academy5.1
17California State University-Long Beach5.0
18Brigham Young University-Idaho4.9
19Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art4.8
20Texas A & M University-College Station4.8
21University of Washington-Bothell Campus4.7
22California State Polytechnic University-Pomona4.6
23Brigham Young University-Provo4.5
24University of California-Los Angeles4.4
25University of California-Berkeley4.4
26Massachusetts Maritime Academy4.4
27Rutgers University-Newark4.4
28University of Florida4.3
29Missouri University of Science and Technology4.3
30Michigan Technological University4.3
31Louisiana Tech University4.3
32University of California-Irvine4.3
33West Virginia University4.2
34San Jose State University4.2
35University of California-San Diego4.2
36Arizona State University-Tempe4.2
37The University of Texas at Dallas4.1
38University of South Florida-Main Campus4.1
39Stony Brook University4.1
40University of the Sciences4.0
41University of Wyoming4.0
42University of Washington-Seattle Campus4.0
43Rice University3.9
44University of North Texas3.9
45Rutgers University-Camden3.9
46University of Georgia3.9
47University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill3.9
48Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences3.8
49Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College3.8
50University of Maryland-College Park3.8
51Massachusetts Institute of Technology3.8
52Maine Maritime Academy3.8
53San Diego State University3.8
54University of Hawaii at Manoa3.8
55Pomona College3.7
56University of Michigan-Dearborn3.7
57University of Illinois at Chicago3.7
58Florida International University3.7
59Yale University3.7
60Purdue University-Main Campus3.7
61University of Michigan-Ann Arbor3.6
62University of California-Davis3.6
63Fashion Institute of Technology3.6
64Murray State University3.6
65Northwest Missouri State University3.6
66University of California-Riverside3.6
67Claremont McKenna College3.6
68Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington3.6
69Utah State University3.6
70University of Utah3.6
71Brigham Young University-Hawaii3.5
72New Jersey Institute of Technology3.5
73Vanderbilt University3.5
74Truman State University3.5
75Illinois Institute of Technology3.5
76Mount Carmel College of Nursing3.5
77Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh Valley3.5
78University of North Florida3.5
79California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo3.4
80Virginia Military Institute3.4
81University of Delaware3.4
82Iowa State University3.4
83Columbia University in the City of New York3.4
84University of Virginia-Main Campus3.4
85Sam Houston State University3.4
86Santa Fe College3.3
87Saint Joseph’s College-New York3.3
88University of North Carolina at Charlotte3.3
89MCPHS University3.3
90University of Iowa3.3
91Davidson College3.3
92University of Pennsylvania3.3
93University of California-Santa Barbara3.3
94California State University-Chico3.3
95Old Dominion University3.3
96Texas State University3.2
97Holy Family University3.2
98St Francis College3.2
99North Carolina State University at Raleigh3.2
100College of William and Mary3.2

Here are some interesting data we found with respect to the top 100 4-year school list:

  • Of the 100 schools, 74 are public and 26 are private.
  • 8 CUNY schools made it to the list.
  • 20 California and 12 New York schools made it to the list.
  • The average test scores are as follows:
    • SAT Verbal: 579.35
    • SAT Math: 606.02
    • SAT Writing: 599.16
    • ACT English: 26.23
    • ACT Math: 26.28
    • ACT Writing: 8.34
  • The average admission rate is as follows:
    • Top 10 Schools = 35%
    • Top 20 Schools = 43%
    • Top 30 Schools = 47%
    • Top 40 Schools = 50%
    • Top 50 Schools = 51%
    • Top 60 Schools = 51%
    • Top 70 Schools = 52%
    • Top 80 Schools = 52%
    • Top 90 Schools = 53%
    • Top 100 Schools = 53%
  • The average annual net price for federal financial aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government, is $13,611.
    • An average of 31% receive Pell Grants.
    • An average of 40% of undergraduates receive federal student loan.
  • The average median earning (10 years after entry) of the top 100 schools is $55,105.

B. Here is a list of the top 100 public 4-year schools and their Earnings to Tuition Ratios (average earnings to tuition ratios of 3.1 to one for this data subset):

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RankSchoolRatio
1United States Merchant Marine Academy14.8
2CUNY Bernard M Baruch College8.0
3CUNY Queens College7.9
4CUNY Brooklyn College7.0
5California State University-Fresno6.9
6Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus6.8
7University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee6.6
8California State University-Stanislaus6.4
9California State University-Fullerton6.2
10CUNY Hunter College6.2
11University of Washington-Tacoma Campus5.3
12Texas A & M University-Texarkana5.2
13The California Maritime Academy5.1
14California State University-Long Beach5.0
15Texas A & M University-College Station4.8
16University of Washington-Bothell Campus4.7
17California State Polytechnic University-Pomona4.6
18University of California-Los Angeles4.4
19University of California-Berkeley4.4
20Massachusetts Maritime Academy4.4
21Rutgers University-Newark4.4
22University of Florida4.3
23Missouri University of Science and Technology4.3
24Michigan Technological University4.3
25Louisiana Tech University4.3
26University of California-Irvine4.3
27West Virginia University4.2
28San Jose State University4.2
29University of California-San Diego4.2
30Arizona State University-Tempe4.2
31The University of Texas at Dallas4.1
32University of South Florida-Main Campus4.1
33University of Houston-Victoria4.1
34Stony Brook University4.1
35University of Wyoming4.0
36University of Washington-Seattle Campus4.0
37University of North Texas3.9
38Rutgers University-Camden3.9
39University of Georgia3.9
40University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill3.9
41Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College3.8
42University of Maryland-College Park3.8
43Maine Maritime Academy3.8
44San Diego State University3.8
45University of Hawaii at Manoa3.8
46University of Michigan-Dearborn3.7
47University of Illinois at Chicago3.7
48Florida International University3.7
49Purdue University-Main Campus3.7
50University of Michigan-Ann Arbor3.6
51University of California-Davis3.6
52Fashion Institute of Technology3.6
53Murray State University3.6
54Northwest Missouri State University3.6
55University of California-Riverside3.6
56Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington3.6
57Utah State University3.6
58University of Utah3.6
59New Jersey Institute of Technology3.5
60Truman State University3.5
61Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh Valley3.5
62University of North Florida3.5
63California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo3.4
64Virginia Military Institute3.4
65University of Delaware3.4
66Iowa State University3.4
67University of Virginia-Main Campus3.4
68Sam Houston State University3.4
69Santa Fe College3.3
70University of North Carolina at Charlotte3.3
71University of Iowa3.3
72University of California-Santa Barbara3.3
73California State University-Chico3.3
74Old Dominion University3.3
75Texas State University3.2
76North Carolina State University at Raleigh3.2
77College of William and Mary3.2
78University of Wisconsin-Platteville3.2
79Central Washington University3.1
80University of Central Florida3.1
81Clemson University3.1
82Indiana University-Bloomington3.1
83SUNY at Albany3.1
84Texas Tech University3.1
85North Dakota State University-Main Campus3.1
86SUNY at Binghamton3.1
87The University of Texas at Austin3.1
88University of Nevada-Reno3.1
89University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign3.1
90University of Arkansas3.1
91George Mason University3.1
92Michigan State University3.0
93Minnesota State University-Mankato3.0
94University of Maryland-Baltimore County3.0
95Oklahoma State University-Main Campus3.0
96Pittsburg State University3.0
97Towson University3.0
98University of Wisconsin-Whitewater3.0
99Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University3.0
100University of Massachusetts-Lowell3.0

Here are some interesting data we found with respect to the top 100 public 4-year school list:

  • 4 CUNY schools made it to the list (Baruch, Queens, Brooklyn, and Hunter College).
  • 17 California schools made it to the list.
  • The average test scores are as follows:
    • SAT Verbal: 558.92
    • SAT Math: 586.49
    • SAT Writing: 562.2
    • ACT English: 25.01
    • ACT Math: 25.19
    • ACT Writing: 8
  • The average admission rate is as follows:
    • Top 10 Schools = 42%
    • Top 20 Schools = 48%
    • Top 30 Schools = 53%
    • Top 40 Schools = 54%
    • Top 50 Schools = 56%
    • Top 60 Schools = 58%
    • Top 70 Schools = 58%
    • Top 80 Schools = 59%
    • Top 90 Schools = 60%
    • Top 100 Schools = 61%
  • The average annual net price for federal financial aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government, is $13,128.
    • An average of 32% receive Pell Grants.
    • An average of 44% of undergraduates receive federal student loan.
  • The average median earning (10 years after entry) of the top 100 schools is $50,188.

C. Here is a list of the top 100 private 4-year schools and their Earnings to Tuition Ratios (average earnings to tuition ratios of 2.0 to one for this data subset):

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RankSchoolRatio
1Princeton University11.0
2Berea College10.9
3Harvard University6.8
4Stanford University5.9
5Christian Brothers University5.5
6Brigham Young University-Idaho4.9
7Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art4.8
8Brigham Young University-Provo4.5
9University of the Sciences4.0
10Rice University3.9
11Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences3.8
12Massachusetts Institute of Technology3.8
13Pomona College3.7
14Yale University3.7
15Claremont McKenna College3.6
16Brigham Young University-Hawaii3.5
17Vanderbilt University3.5
18Illinois Institute of Technology3.5
19Mount Carmel College of Nursing3.5
20Columbia University in the City of New York3.4
21Saint Joseph’s College-New York3.3
22MCPHS University3.3
23Davidson College3.3
24University of Pennsylvania3.3
25Holy Family University3.2
26St Francis College3.2
27Amherst College3.2
28Milwaukee School of Engineering3.1
29Saint Peter’s University3.1
30Kettering College3.1
31Newman University3.1
32California Institute of Technology3.1
33Georgetown University3.1
34College of the Ozarks3.0
35Duke University3.0
36Lincoln Memorial University3.0
37Notre Dame of Maryland University3.0
38Baker University3.0
39Stevens Institute of Technology3.0
40Washington and Lee University3.0
41Bowdoin College2.9
42Babson College2.8
43Chatham University2.7
44Caldwell University2.7
45Saint Xavier University2.7
46Cedar Crest College2.7
47Ranken Technical College2.7
48University of St Francis2.6
49Dominican University2.6
50Colgate University2.6
51Benedictine University2.6
52College of Mount Saint Vincent2.6
53Case Western Reserve University2.6
54McKendree University2.6
55Wellesley College2.6
56Haverford College2.6
57Lewis University2.5
58St Mary’s University2.5
59Aquinas College2.5
60Cox College2.5
61Harvey Mudd College2.5
62Saint Johns University2.5
63University of St Thomas2.5
64Dartmouth College2.5
65Aurora University2.5
66Middlebury College2.5
67Williams College2.5
68Waynesburg University2.5
69Mount Saint Joseph University2.5
70The College of Saint Scholastica2.5
71Clarkson University2.5
72Cornell University2.5
73John Brown University2.5
74Lehigh University2.5
75Martin Luther College2.4
76University of Chicago2.4
77Bentley University2.4
78Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health2.4
79Presbyterian College2.4
80University of Richmond2.4
81Carnegie Mellon University2.4
82Regent University2.4
83Brown University2.4
84DigiPen Institute of Technology2.4
85Valparaiso University2.4
86North Park University2.4
87Ohio Northern University2.4
88University of Southern California2.4
89University of Notre Dame2.4
90Bryan College of Health Sciences2.4
91Monmouth College2.4
92University of Jamestown2.4
93Hamilton College2.4
94Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute2.4
95LeTourneau University2.4
96Birmingham Southern College2.4
97Northwestern University2.4
98The Sage Colleges2.4
99Wheeling Jesuit University2.4
100Elmhurst College2.3

Here are some interesting data we found with respect to the top 100 private 4-year school list:

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  • All 8 Ivy Leagues made it to the list.
  • 12 New York and 9 PA schools made it to the list.
  • The average test scores are as follows:
    • SAT Verbal: 606.72
    • SAT Math: 624.24
    • SAT Writing: 622.65
    • ACT English: 26.92
    • ACT Math: 26.77
    • ACT Writing: 8.6
  • The average admission rate is as follows:
    • Top 10 Schools = 34%
    • Top 20 Schools = 31%
    • Top 30 Schools = 40%
    • Top 40 Schools = 39%
    • Top 50 Schools = 40%
    • Top 60 Schools = 43%
    • Top 70 Schools = 44%
    • Top 80 Schools = 45%
    • Top 90 Schools = 45%
    • Top 100 Schools = 46%
  • The average annual net price for federal financial aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government, is $19,963.
    • An average of 28% receive Pell Grants.
    • An average of 47% of undergraduates receive federal student loan.
  • The average median earning (10 years after entry) of the top 100 schools is $57,786.

If you are interested in using TUN’s School Analysis Tool for a more detailed search, click here.

Yoora is the Creative Director at The University Network. She finds beauty in simplicity and grace in the mundane.