WPI Named a Top U.S. College for Return on Investment

Payscale study looks at return over a 30-year period and ranks WPI in the nation's top 20 for the third time.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Payscale, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has once again been rated as one of the top 20 colleges in the nation that offer the highest return on investment (ROI). According to their data, WPI graduates can expect a net ROI of $842,900 over a 30-year period. This is the third year of this study, which looked at nearly 700 colleges and universities nationwide, and the third time WPI has ranked among the top 20.

The Payscale.com ROI ranking is intended to help students and parents evaluate the "payback" value of a student's undergraduate degree. In the ranking, ROI was determined by comparing the cost of attending a school with how much its graduates earn. The report projects that WPI has a 9.6 percent annual ROI over 30 years.

"Families can no longer afford to select colleges based on ambience and amenities," said Kristin Tichenor, WPI's senior vice president of enrollment and institutional strategy. "The bottom line is that this is a major investment. Students and parents alike want to know about student outcomes after graduation. For WPI, the results are consistently strong."

For this ranking, ROI was determined by comparing the cost of attending a school with how much its graduates earn. The study took into account Payscale's online pay reports of 1.4 million college graduates nationwide, with an average of 1,000 alumni from each school factoring into in the calculations. The top 20 list also included Caltech, Harvey Mudd, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, Babson, Columbia, Lehigh, Colorado School of Mines, Manhattan College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell, and Rensselaer.

All Payscale pay reports are for full-time employees without advanced degrees in U.S.-based jobs. For 30-Year and 15-Year Net ROI, PayScale calculated the average earnings of a graduate (in excess of those of a high school graduate) in 2010 dollars after deducting the cost of the degree and adjusting for the school's graduation rate. The cost of the degree includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, and supplies for a 2010 graduate who obtains a degree in the average time it takes to graduate at each institution.

This marks the fifth straight year that Payscale has ranked WPI highly for the employment and salary opportunities of its alumni. A 2008 Payscale survey reported by Forbes.com ("The Top Colleges for Getting Rich") ranked WPI No. 9 in the nation for graduates employed for 10 to 20 years. The university has also ranked high in Payscale's "Best Paid Graduates" rankings: in both August 2009 and in June 2010, WPI placed in the top 10 among all schools for highest median starting salary. It was also in June 2010 that WPI was first named to Payscale's top 20 list of colleges and universities that offer the highest return on investment.

Recognizing the value of WPI graduates, businesses actively recruit WPI students and alumni. Top recruiters include General Electric, United Technologies Corp., Raytheon, Intel, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer, National Grid, IBM Rational, Lucent Technologies, Accenture, and Genzyme, among others.

April 24, 2012

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