These Are the Colleges that Give the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck in 2017

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The Princeton Review ® ( released the 2017 edition of its annual guide to colleges that the education services company considers the nation’s best for academics, affordability/financial aid, and for getting their graduates out the door to satisfying and rewarding careers.

Colleges That Pay You Back has detailed school profiles, plus seven ranking lists: one titled “Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back” (based on Princeton Review’s ROI ratings), and six “Top 25” lists.

We recommend:[Infographic] The Complete Parent Guide to Get Financial Aid for College

On the “Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back” list, the top five schools are:

1. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
2. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
4. Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA)
5. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

On the six additional lists (each naming 25 colleges), the categories and #1 schools are:

“Best Career Placement”– Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
“Best Financial Aid” – Pomona College (Claremont, CA)
“Best Schools for Internships” – Bentley University (Waltham, MA)
“Best Alumni Network” – Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN)
“Best Schools for Making an Impact” – Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
“Top Colleges That Pay You Back For Students With No Demonstrated Need – California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

The Colleges That Pay You Back project is an expansion of The Princeton Review’s annual Best Value Colleges book and list first published online in 2004. The Princeton Review expanded the rankings and published its first edition of the book with Random House in 2011.

It was then further expanded in response to findings of its 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey ( that polled 12,000 college applicants and parents.  Franek noted, “While 100% of our respondents viewed college as ‘worth it,’ worries about college costs and job prospects ran deep.

Ninety percent reported financial aid would be ‘very necessary’ to pay for college, and 40% said their college choice would be the school ‘best for my (my child’s) career interests.'”

Among the 200 public and private colleges profiled, the:

  • average grant to students with need is $25,150
  • median starting salary of graduates is $51,200 / median mid-career salary is $94,377.

At the 73 public colleges profiled, the:

  • average cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) is $12,498 for in-state students receiving need-based aid
  • average admission rate is 55%.

We recommend: [Video] 4 Action Steps for a Stress-Free College Aplication Process by a College Admissions Expert

Colleges That Pay You Back also has a list of “Great Schools for the Highest Paying Majors” and profiles of nine tuition-free schools. It is one of 150 Princeton Review books published by Penguin Random House in a line that includes The Best 381 Colleges, known for its 62 categories of college rankings, and Paying For College Without Going Broke.

The Princeton Review selected these schools based on a comprehensive analysis of more than 650 colleges that weighted 40+ data points to tally ROI (return on investment) ratings for the schools.

Data analyzed covered academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt and more.

The company collected that data from its 2015-16 surveys of administrators and students at the schools. It also factored in data from collected from their online compensation survey on starting and mid-career salaries of alumni of the schools.

The full lists, profiles, and information on the project methodology are accessible at


More to explore...

College Planning


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *