12 Colleges That Aren't Worth The Money

Is a bachelor’s degree still worth the investment?

Payscale put together a report comparing ROI data on 1,060 schools in the country to determine if an expensive tuition is still worth the cost.

In the report, Payscale added up the median pay from the last 30 years to get a net 30-year return on investment from various American colleges and universities.

Still, “return on investment is a murky thing,” Katie Bardaro, lead economist at Payscale, tells us.

Despite the rising costs of education, she says that a bachelor’s degree is still worth it, but people need to know what they intend to study and if the payout after school will justify the costs. Another thing young people need to consider is the growth in the jobs they want to have after school. For example, a nursing degree will get you a job that pays a lot right out of school, but it’s not a field that offers you much room for growth in the long-run.

“When you think about the attractive qualities about a college … a lot of those things disappear over short-term whereas the financial aspects are a long-term thing to consider.”

From this list, most of the colleges are private institutions and all of the return on investment are negative, meaning the money the graduates invested in their college degrees didn’t help them make more money than a high school graduate who didn’t have to pay for college. The college ROI is determined by comparing how much graduates are expected to make against someone with a high school diploma, minus the college costs. Therefore, bachelor degrees with negative ROIs are deemed as bad investments if finance is the priority.

Payscale required the universities and colleges selected to have at least 1,000 undergraduates in their bachelor’s program in 2012 and enough data available for the company to calculate a 30-year return on investment.

12. Lakeland College

Located in Plymouth, WI.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $132,400

30-year net ROI: -$51,300

Source: Payscale

11. Shaw University

Located in Raleigh, N.C.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $110,700

30-year net ROI: -$56,500

Source: Payscale

11. Medaille College

Located in Buffalo, New York

School type: private

Cost (2012): $139,700

30-year net ROI: -$60,400

Source: Payscale

10. Meredith College

Located in Raleigh, N.C.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $150,400

30-year net ROI: -$66,200

Source: Payscale

9. Ozark Christian College

Located in Joplin, Miss.

School type: state

Cost (2012): $116,000

30-year net ROI: -$89,100

Source: Payscale

8. Fayetteville State University

Located in Fayetteville, N.C.

School type: state

Cost (2012): $116,000

30-year net ROI: -$89,100

Source: Payscale

7. Hilbert College

Located in Buffalo, New York

School type: private

Cost (2012): $116,000

30-year net ROI: -$89,100

Source: Payscale

6. Springfield College

Located in Springfield, Mass.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $174,700

30-year net ROI: -$114,000

Source: Payscale

5. Florida Memorial University

Located in Miami Gardens, Florida

School type: private

Cost (2012): $116,100

30-year net ROI: -$114,000

Source: Payscale

4. University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI)

Located in Presque Isle, Maine

School type: state

Cost (2012): $79,330

30-year net ROI: -$124,000

Source: Payscale

3. Miles College

Location in Fairfield, Ala.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $92,280

30-year net ROI: -$136,000

Source: Payscale

2. Valley Forge Christian College

Located in Phoenixville, Penn.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $114,100

30-year net ROI: -$178,000

Source: Payscale

1. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Located in Pittsburgh, Penn.

School type: private

Cost (2012): $155,000

30-year net ROI: -$228,000

Source: Payscale

Now see who decided not to finish college:

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