Worst 10 Colleges for ROI – How Does Your School Rank?
March 13, 2013

I wrote yesterday about a recent study by Bloomberg Business Week on the long-term value of your college education. The business journal looked at the costs of attending different colleges, the likelihood of graduation and prospective earnings for graduates. This enabled them to determine the return on investment (ROI) for the 1,248 universities in their study.

Yesterday I looked at the top 10 schools for ROI – many of them notable Ivy League colleges – and the top school one I’d never heard of – Harvey Mudd College. Today, we’ll take a look at the bottom 10 performers to see where – at least according to Bloomberg – students and graduates may not be getting their money’s worth. (To see how school ROIs were calculated, click here.)

With that in mind, here are the worst 10 schools for educational ROI:

#10 Concord University. This West Virginia public school sees a staggeringly low 39% of its students graduate. 92% of its students get financial aid and their 30 year ROI is projected to be minus $318,000.

#9 Nazareth College of Rochester.  This private New York school graduates an admirable 72% of its students of which 100% get financial aid. Their 30 year ROI is projected at negative $176,000.

#8 Jackson State University. This Mississippi public school graduates just 47% of its enrollees and projects a 30 year ROI of negative $281,000.

#7 University of Montevallo. This public university in Alabama sees 45% of its students graduate and after 30 years, this translates to an ROI of minus $304,000.

#6 College of the Ozarks. This private Missouri university graduates roughly 60% of students (interestingly, 100% of its students get financial aid.) Their 30 year ROI comes out to negative $235,000.

#5 Seton Hill University. The private Pennsylvania school graduates 59% of students, 99% of which get financial aid. This turns out to a 30 year ROI of minus $242,000.

#4 Meredith College.  This private liberal arts school in North Carolina graduates just 57% of enrollees, all of which get financial aid. Their 30 year ROI is calculated at negative $265,000.

#3 Medaille College. This private New York school sees just 58% of its students graduate but 100% get financial aid. Bloomberg calculates their 30 year ROI at minus $272,000.

#2 Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Georgia’s private design school graduates 66% of its students. A similar amount get financial aid. Graduates can expect a 30 year ROI of negative $242,000.

#1 Judson University. This private Illinois school gives 99% of its students financial aid, but just 54% graduate. Their 30 year ROI is a whopping minus $298,000.

The bottom 10 is a mix of schools I’ve heard of and some smaller schools I haven’t. The calculated ROI is for graduates only. As I’ve written recently, for those who borrow to fund their education, but aren’t able to graduate, the ROI for college may be far less. They have the onus of loans without the benefit of the sheepskin to offset it.

To see the full Bloomberg ROI list so you can check out where your school ranks, click here. As I wrote yesterday, the important thing about considering ROI is that when you select a university, you are making an investment in your future. This is, to some extent, a business decision and you should certainly consider your long-term prospects from this investment.

College pays off for plenty of people, but it’s not your only option for a financially stable future. Plenty of people opt for trade school and make a great living repairing and beefing up transmissions. Still others opt for an Associate’s degree and a career in nursing or radiology. If your ROI isn’t optimal, a school change may be in order or a change in the way you’re financing your education…

No matter if you’re just starting school and beginning to borrow or have just graduated and are juggling work with student loans, Tuition.io’s free student loan management tool can help you manage and optimize your debt. Try it today!