CUNY City University Is The Best ‘Value For Money’ University In 2023 

Published on
  • CUNY City College ranks as America’s best value for money college.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) takes second place, whilst University of Florida came in third.
  • Princeton University and Stanford University ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

A new study reveals that CUNY City College comes top in a ranking of the best national universities and colleges, based on relative value for money.

The Best Value For Money Universities In 2023 

College ROI experts at Degreechoices analyzed data from more than 400 national universities and colleges, to determine the top 25 schools, based on the typical cost of a degree relative to eventual graduate earnings.

The analysis used a benchmark of all students at each university or college from two different enrollment years and a measure of their earnings 10 years later. Using data for undergraduate payback and debt-to-earnings for graduates to determine a cost-to-earning metric, these results were adjusted by each school’s earning performance.

An ‘Economic score’ was produced for each institution, with lower scores indicating a smaller payback and lower debt-to-earnings for attending students.

CUNY City College

CUNY City College was revealed to be the best college for return on investment in 2023, with an Economic score of 0.44.

The sticker price for an in-state student at CUNY City College was found to be $30,721. However, among students that qualify for federal aid, the net cost per student each year was found to be just $2,805 on average.

Considering the average salary of a CUNY City College graduate is $55,741 ten years after enrollment, and students take 5 years to graduate on average, a degree from the university was found to take under 6 months to payback.

CUNY City College was found to have a modest 64% admission rate; however, its graduation rates fall below the New York state national average, at just 59%.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In second place was Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with an Economic score of 0.46. Among students who qualify for federal aid, the net cost per student each year was found to be $16,407 on average.

The average salary of MIT graduates ten years after enrollment in study is a staggering $111,222, which means they can expect to pay back the cost of their degree in just under a year. MIT has an extremely selective admission rate of just 4%, and an advertised sticker price of $72,462 per year.

University of Florida

University of Florida came close behind in third, with an Economic score of 0.49. It has a 30% admission rate and in-state fees averaging $5,135 per year when accounting for institutional and government grants.

With 88% of all students graduating within eight years, the graduation rate at University of Florida is 21% above the average for all national universities in the country. The average salary of graduates ten years after enrolling at the university is $95,689.

Princeton University

Princeton University ranked fourth for return on investment, with an Economic score of 0.51. Return on educational investment at Princeton is within the top 5% of all ranked schools and 98% of all students graduate within 8 years.

The average salary of graduates ten years after enrollment is $95,689 and students can expect to pay back their degree within a year of graduating. Princeton is also considered extremely selective, with an admission rate of just 4%.

Stanford University

In fifth place is Stanford University, with an Economic score of 0.57. It has a 4% admission rate and an average in-state cost per year of $12,894.

The average salary of graduates ten years after enrolling at Stanford is around $97,798. When adjusted for earning differences by major, bachelor students attending this university earn 40% more than the national average.

Harvard University

Harvard University came sixth, with an Economic score of 0.63.

Harvard graduates can expect to pay $13,872 per year of study after financial aid, with annual earnings of $84,918, ten years after enrollment, meaning their educational investment can be paid back in under a year.

While Harvard has an extremely low 4% acceptance rate, 98% of all students were found to graduate within 8 years.

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) came seventh, with an Economic score of 0.73. Ten years after enrollment, Caltech graduates earn on average $112,166, and when adjusted for earning differences by major, this means that bachelor students earn 77% more than the national average.

Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU) came eighth, with an Economic score of 0.75. FIU students earn on average $54,501 ten years after enrolling and can expect to pay $5,298 per year after financial aid. At FIU, 94% of students receive some sort of grant or scholarship, compared to the national average of 87% for all colleges and universities.

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania came ninth, with an Economic score of 0.79. The average salary of graduates ten years after finishing their program here is $103,246, and the average cost per year of study is an eyewatering $25,046 after financial aid.

Yale University

Yale University came tenth, with an Economic score of 0.85. Students typically graduate after 4.2 years of study and pay $15,296 per year on average. With Yale alumni earning $88,655 on average 10 years after enrolling, they can expect to take 1 year to pay off the cost of their degree.

David Levy, Author at commented: 

“It is understandable that students are carefully considering how valuable a university degree currently is, given the substantial financial investment and uncertainty around its positive impact on their future earnings.

“As higher education institutes adjust their tuition fees with each passing year, it will be interesting to see whether they can continue to justify these higher prices by guaranteeing a return on investment for their students over the course of their careers.”

The 25 best value for money national universities and colleges (2023)

Rank University/College 
1. CUNY City College
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. University of Florida
4. Princeton University
5. Stanford University
6. Harvard University
7. California Institute of Technology
8. Florida International University
9. University of Pennsylvania
10. Yale University
11. University of California – Berkeley
12. Georgia Institute of Technology
13. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
14. Rice University
15. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
16. Vanderbilt University
17. University of California – Irvine
18. University of Washington
19. University of California, Los Angeles
20. Columbia University
21. Missouri University of Science and Technology
22. University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign
23. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
24. California State University, Fresno
25. University of California, San Diego

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