College Tops National Return on Investment Ranking

Published on 15 November 2019

As public conversation regarding the cost of higher education grows, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently used federal 40-year return data to calculate the return on investment for thousands of colleges across the country and answer the question, “Is college worth it?”

Georgetown University researchers examined the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard data to calculate net present value, a metric that includes costs, future earnings, and the length of time it would take to earn a certain amount of money over a fixed amount of time.

They then ranked institutions across the country by net present value of a bachelor’s degree 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 years after enrollment.

St. Louis College of Pharmacy ranked among the top tier of colleges and universities across the country, surpassing institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, in addition to other globally recognized institutions.

  • 10-Year Rank: No. 5
  • 15-Year Rank: No. 1
  • 20-Year Rank: No. 1
  • 30-Year Rank: No. 2
  • 40-Year Rank: No. 2

Forty years after enrollment, bachelor’s degrees from private colleges have the highest returns on investment, and at the 40-year mark, three of the top 10 schools specialize in pharmacy and health sciences education.

Unlike many institutions included in the study, the College was one of only two institutions to rank in the top 10 for short-term returns 10 years after enrollment and remain in the top 10 for long-term returns at the 40-year mark.

Table: Institutions with the Highest Net Present Value (NPV)

School Rank 40-Year NPV
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 1 $2,722,000
St. Louis College of Pharmacy 2 $2,714,000
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 3 $2,421,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4 $2,273,000
Stanford University 5 $2,068,000
Maine Maritime Academy 6 $2,043,000
Babson College 7 $1,985,000
Harvard University 8 $1,967,000
Georgetown University 9 $1,950,000
United States Merchant Marine Academy 10 $1,949,000

“This top ranking is a testament to the College serving as a leader in health care education,” said John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAPhA, president of the College. “We have a long-standing history of preparing our students to be successful professionally, socially and financially.”

A bachelor’s degree from the College offers graduates an average long-term net present value of more than $2.7 million, when examining 40-year net economic gains. This earning calculation surpasses the average earnings for graduates of public two- and four-year colleges, private four-year colleges, for-profit colleges and training academies, even when factoring in student loan debt.

“These findings further prove our college experience and academics add significant value which results in higher earnings throughout our graduates’ lifetime,” Pieper added.

For the full report and sortable tables of 4,500 colleges and universities ranked by various return on investment metrics, visit

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