WASHINGTON -- It's that time of year again: High school seniors are opening their acceptance letters and finding out whether they've been accepted into their dream colleges. But before they commit, they should consider which ones are the best deals. And that might just be a university in the area.
Payscale analyzed graduation and salary data for hundreds of colleges and ranked them based on their return on investment. The data can be broken down into many different categories including location, public versus private, majors and campus culture.
Graduates from Harvey Mudd College, MIT and Cal Tech make the most money, but The Atlantic examined the data and found that University of Virginia has the greatest return on investment for in-state students.
A degree from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., is the most valuable in the country.
"For dollar-for-dollar investment, nothing beats going to the University of Virginia as an in-state student. PayScale found that a degree in business, or computer science, or engineering, or economics at UVA has a higher dollar-for- dollar return than any major at any other school in the country," according to The Atlantic. "Yes, better than majoring in finance at Harvard, or computer science at Stanford, or business at Berkeley, or anything at Harvey Mudd."
Over 20 years, college graduates make $1 million more than people who did not go to college. But the cost of attendance is high -- about $230,000, without financial aid, to complete a bachelor's degree.
But when looking at an annualized ROI -- the 20-year return when comparing money invested in college to money invested in the markets -- U.Va. in-state students get the most bang for their buck.
On average, engineering graduates have the highest potential salaries, according to PayScale.
The University of Maryland made PayScale's list of party schools with a No. 3 ranking.
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