Penn Ranks No. 1 in Return on Investment for Business, Economics Careers

College is expensive. Know what kind of salary to expect.

Wharton Penn

With student loan debt reaching crisis levels and the debate around the value of a college education boiling over, students and parents are becoming more practical when evaluating colleges. So which college provides the best return on investment for a business career? The University of Pennsylvania, according to a new study.

PayScale’s 2015 College ROI report surveyed more than 1.4 million bachelor graduates around the nation, and calculated ROI by factoring each college’s costs against expected future income. Penn costs $234,000 over four years, the study said, but delivers a 20-year net ROI of $979,000. Upon graduation, Penn grads (in all careers) “earn an average of $77K” the study says.

Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University rounded out the top five.

The report also provided ROI by college majors. Penn ranked No. 1 for economics majors and third for business majors. It also ranked fourth in ROI for marketing careers and sixth for technology.

Two other local colleges also made the list:

Drexel University ranked 8th best for health care careers. (Cost: $219,700, 20-Year ROI: 523,300).

Villanova University ranked 12th nationally for business degrees. (Cost: 222,900, 20-Year ROI: 650,100)

All Pennsylvania schools are ranked here.

While Payscale suggests that students shouldn’t make decisions about where to attend school based solely from college ROI rankings, it’s still valuable to be informed.

“Study something that’s at the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs and what someone will pay you to do,” Lydia Frank, editorial director at Payscale wrote in the report.


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