The education services company said it crunched more than 40 data points to determine which undergraduate institutions offer the best return on investment. Topics covered everything from academics, cost and financial aid to graduation rates, student debt, alumni salaries, and more. To make the list, a school needed to have stellar academics at an affordable cost with strong career prospects after graduating.
“The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2020 comprise only 7% of the nation’s four-year colleges,” Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review, said. “They are truly distinctive and diverse in their programs, size, region, and type, yet they are similar in three areas. Every school we selected offers outstanding academics, generous financial aid and/or relative low cost of attendance, and stellar career services. We recommend them highly to college applicants and parents seeking schools that are academically top-notch and committed to making their programs affordable. These colleges are also standouts at guiding their students to rewarding futures.”
The New Jersey-based schools on the list are (alphabetically):
- The College of New Jersey, Ewing;
- Drew University, Madison;
- New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark;
- Princeton University, Princeton;
- Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken.
“An NJIT degree provides a pathway to career success, and that speaks to the value of the education received by our students,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “NJIT is ranked No. 1 nationally by Forbes for the upward mobility of students from the lowest income brackets. Our students have an average of approximately three job offers in hand during their senior year and attain starting salaries almost 20% above their peers across the country. And we are ranked among the top 2% out of more than 4,000 colleges and universities for alumni mid-career earnings.”
On the projects main ranking list, “Top 75 Best Value Colleges” which is based entirely on ROI ratings, Princeton University earned the top spot. For admitted students that qualify for financial aid, the university meets 100% of each student’s need with scholarship grants instead of loans. The average grant awarded is $51,365.
Other notables among the 200 colleges (137 private, 63 public):
- The average grant to students with need is $29,748;
- The median starting salary of graduates is $60,824;
- The mid-career salary of graduates is $117,583.
Among the 63 public colleges:
- The average net cost of attendance for in-state students receiving need-based aid is $12,944;
- The average admission rate is 53%;
- 14 of the colleges admit over 70% of applicants.