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Money ranks US colleges based on bang for the buck

October 31st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Education

To find out which of the nation’s roughly 1,500 four-year colleges offer the most bang for your tuition buck, MONEY screened out those with a below-average graduation rate and then ranked the 665 that remained on 18 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings provided by PayScale.com. (Enrollment, acceptance rate, and H.S. GPA data is for the 2012-2013 academic year, the latest that was available from the Department of Education.) Included: a “value added” grade that rated each college in light of the economic and academic profile of its student body and the mix of majors at that school. We then used a statistical technique to turn all the data points into a single score on a five-point scale and rated them accordingly. These schools went to the head of the class.

1. Babson College

 Location: Babson Park, MA
 Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.41
Enrollment: 2,015
Net Price of Degree: $198,917
Acceptance Rate: 29%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.6
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $59,700
Website: babson.edu
Babson College, Wellesley, MA
Bob O’Connor
Babson specializes in business and entrepreneurship. Although the school offers only one degree—a B.S. in business—half of the students’ course loads are in the liberal arts and sciences. And upperclassmen can choose a “concentration,” akin to a major, in subjects as diverse as literary and visual arts, history and political studies, and environmental sustainability.
Still, the focus on business is the big draw—and provides a big payoff. Students get hands-on experience from the start, launching a business as part of a freshmen team (profits go to charity) and, in later years, through continuing interaction with local companies and via internships. The result of all that real-world learning: Babson alums report earning an average of nearly $60,000 a year within five years of graduation—about $13,000 more than the average for recent grads of comparable schools. Ninety percent graduate within six years, eight points better than similar colleges. And the list of ventures started by alums is impressive, including Gerber, Home Depot, and Zumba Fitness.
The suburban Boston campus draws an international crowd; more than 25% of students come from 70 countries other than the U.S. About half the students play sports (Babson has 22 Division III teams, as well as club and intramural teams). Monthly Knight parties and the annual spring concert, with headliners such as Kesha, also help students blow off steam.

2. Webb Institute

Location: Glen Cove, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.34
Enrollment: 79
Net Price of Degree: $77,606
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Average H.S. GPA: 4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $65,400
Website: webb.edu
140722_COLL_WebbInstitute_1
courtesy of Webb Institute

Tiny Webb—total enrollment is only around 80 undergraduates—offers just one double major: naval architecture and marine engineering. For students interested in that subject matter and related fields, it’s an extraordinary value. Start with the price tag: free. Thanks to a substantial endowment, every Webb student who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder gets a full-tuition scholarship, worth $44,000 this year.

Bolstered by four required internships over the course of their studies, Webbies also typically graduate into terrific jobs. The typical recent grad reports earning about $65,000 a year, which compares favorably with graduates of other engineering schools.

The path to those stellar outcomes isn’t easy; the workload at Webb is routinely described as “intense.” All students—about 80% of whom are male—are required to live on campus, which is scenically and conveniently located (given the nature of the program) on the Long Island Sound. One of the most popular of the five sports on campus, not surprisingly, is sailing.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.3
Enrollment: 4,503
Net Price of Degree: $154,676
Acceptance Rate: 9%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $68,600
MIT
Patrick Gillooly

MIT is one of the world’s most respected science schools, with good reason. For one, consider its notoriously competitive selection process—at least 25% of students got perfect scores on their math SAT. Then there’s the grueling workload, which includes physics, biology, chemistry and calculus as required courses. And, of course, MIT’s professors are world class, with nine Nobel Prize winners currently on the faculty.

All that hard work reaps rewards, as the 92% of Techies who graduate tend to do very well. Those who go straight into the workforce report earning 22% more than students at similarly elite schools. While the school isn’t exactly a bargain, it’s one of the less expensive private schools and generous with aid: 55% of students get institutional grants. As a result, only about 20% of undergraduates borrow in a typical academic year.

MIT has a highly diverse student body, with no one ethnic group making up a majority. The urban campus in Cambridge gives students access to nightlife and the cultural activities of nearby Boston. Techies are known for creative nerdy fun like playing Quidditch or experimenting in the Laboratory for Chocolate Science.

4. Princeton University

Location: Princeton, NJ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.26
Enrollment: 5,327
Net Price of Degree: $146,215
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.87
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $56,100
Website: princeton.edu
Princeton Environmental Institute students working in the lab.
Brian Wilson—Princeton University Office of Communications

Princeton University’s generous financial aid makes it, according to MONEY’s analysis, the most affordable member of the Ivy League. The school gives out such large grants to the six in 10 families who qualify (households earning less than $250,000 generally get some aid; those making less than $60,000 get a free ride) that more than 90% of students graduate without any debt.

While in school, undergrads have access to some of the country’s most important intellectual figures, such as economists Paul Krugman and Burton Malkiel, novelist Joyce Carol Oates, and MacArthur “geniuses” Daniel Sigman, a geophysicist, and historian Emily Thompson. Once out of school, Princeton diplomas clearly help in the job market: Recent grads report earning more than $56,000 a year, on average, a premium over similar schools.

Princeton’s park-like campus with ivy-covered Gothic-style buildings is widely considered one of the country’s most beautiful. While there’s no Greek life, most juniors and seniors belong to “eating clubs,” some of which only admit students who pass through a secretive selection process. The Tigers compete in NCAA Division I athletics. If the school defeats both Yale and Harvard in football, it holds a ceremonial bonfire.

5. Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.23
Enrollment: 7,063
Net Price of Degree: $168,780
Acceptance Rate: 7%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $61,300
Website: stanford.edu/
Princeton Environmental Institute students working in the lab.
Linda A. Cicero—Stanford News

Families named Stanford University as their top dream college in a recent Princeton Review survey—the school they most wished their student could attend if cost and acceptance were not issues. Part of the draw: The faculty features a stunning array of innovative and important thinkers, including 22 Nobel laureates, 27 MacArthur “geniuses,” and five Pulitzer Prize winners.

The educational demands are intense on enrollees, who often describe themselves as “ducks,” because they try to appear serene, but are paddling desperately to keep going. Students also get unusual entrepreneurial encouragement. Stanford provides undergrads with grants to fund research, as well as summer or art projects. The results speak for themselves, especially in nearby Silicon Valley. Stanford alums founded Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and hundreds of other tech companies. On average, recent Stanford grads report earning more than $61,000, a $12,000 premium over similar schools.

The Mission-style campus is vast, and most students use bicycles to get around. An NCAA Division I school, Stanford has a longstanding football rivalry with the University of California-Berkeley. Traditions include the Halloween Mausoleum Party, held at the Stanford Mausoleum, burial site of Leland Stanford Jr., whose dad, a California governor, founded the university in his son’s name after the boy died at age 15.

 

6. Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.2
Enrollment: 10,564
Net Price of Degree: $181,221
Acceptance Rate: 6%
Average H.S. GPA: 4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $55,300
Website: harvard.edu
Harvard University
Justin Ide—Harvard Public Affairs & Communications

Harvard is probably the school most synonymous with the Ivy League and its prestigious reputation is well-deserved. Students have access to the largest university library in the world, and some of the most illustrious faculty, including historian Niall Ferguson, Nobel-prize winning economist Alvin Roth, and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. Its alumni are well-represented at the top of most professions, ranging from music (cellist Yo-Yo Ma) to health (physician Andrew Weill) to law (Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts).

Harvard can also be surprisingly affordable. Its generous financial aid program gives full rides to the more than 20% of students from families earning less than $65,000 a year. Students from families earning up to $150,000 pay no more than 10% of their income. As a result, the vast majority of students graduate debt-free.

Harvard fields 42 Division I sports teams and gears up for football and tailgating at the much-ballyhooed annual game against rival Yale. One key aspect of Harvard life is its residential system. On Housing Day each spring, costumed upperclassmen storm the freshmen dorms with gongs and other props to tell freshmen of their randomly assigned placements into one of the school’s twelve upper class houses.

7. Harvey Mudd College

Location: Claremont, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.16
Enrollment: 784
Net Price of Degree: $187,694
Acceptance Rate: 19%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $73,300
Website: hmc.edu
Harvey Mudd College engineering course
courtesy of Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College is a fairly young college (founded in 1955) with an unfamiliar name that has quickly become a leading science and engineering school. Although it’s classified as a liberal arts institution—it comes in at No. 1 on our liberal arts list—the college offers only B.S. degrees in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Mudders do take a healthy dose of humanities and social science courses as part of the core curriculum. And they can enroll in any classes offered by the other Claremont Colleges: Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps.

Unlike at many other science-oriented schools, the faculty focuses on teaching rather than research, and it shows. Harvey Mudd professors tend to be among the highest rated on Ratemyprof.com. Although it has only 800 students, it is the nation’s second-largest producer of Ph.D.s in science and engineering, according to the National Science Foundation. The approximately 60% of graduates who go straight into the workforce earn, on average, about $70,000 a year within five years—18% more than the graduates of schools with similar specializations in science and math.

The coursework is intense, but Harvey Mudd students join with the other Claremont colleges to field Division III football, basketball, soccer, and other teams. Each year, the students perform one of Shakespeare’s plays during Alumni Weekend.

8. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Location: New York, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.14
Enrollment: 880
Net Price of Degree: $146,797
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.6
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $61,400
Website: cooper.edu
Cooper Union
Mario Morgodo—Cooper Union

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, as the school is officially called, is a small college in New York City’s artsy East Village with only three programs of study: art, architecture, and engineering. It is among the nation’s most selective schools with a low acceptance rate that rivals that of the Ivy League.

Getting in pays off after getting out: Cooper Union alumni often thrive in the competitive art and architecture world. Notable graduates include Daniel Libeskind, who designed New York City’s new Freedom Tower, and installation artist Whitfield Lovell, whose intricately crafted tableaux of early twentieth century African Americans won him a MacArthur “genius” award in 2007. On average, the school’s recent grads report earning about $61,000 a year, or 13% more than expected given the school’s mix of majors.

One reason for Cooper Union’s past popularity, and its high placement on many “value college” lists, was its free tuition policy. But for the first time since it was founded in 1859, the school started charging tuition ($19,800) this year. Even so, CU remains one of the lowest-cost private elite colleges around, with an estimated average net price of a degree that is not that much higher than costs for in-state students at many top public schools.

9. Brigham Young University

Location: Provo, UT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.06
Enrollment: 31,060
Net Price of Degree: $82,037
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.79
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,000
Website: byu.edu
Brigham Young University
Jaren Wilkey—BYU

BYU-Provo is the main campus of a private college system specializing in educating members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Non-Mormons can attend, but are charged twice as much for tuition as church members and must obey the school’s strict code of conduct. That means abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; dressing modestly; and living a “chaste and virtuous life” both on and off campus.

The lack of distraction appears to work to students’ advantage: BYU grads report earning, on average, $50,000 a year within five years. That’s $2,700 more than schools that take in students with similar test scores and economic backgrounds.

Not surprisingly, the campus is not very diverse. Fewer than 6% of students say they are either black or Hispanic. BYU’s Division I sports teams are very competitive, especially in football, volleyball, track, and women’s soccer. The comparatively modern campus is about 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City, and offers views of the nearby Rocky Mountains. Because of the emphasis on church, family, and the honor code, students say that dating is a main social activity and that many BYU students go on to pair off and get married.

10. California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A/4.05
Enrollment: 997
Net Price of Degree: $174,825
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $68,400
Website: caltech.edu
California Institute of Technology lab student
courtesy of California Institute of Technology

Even by the high and demanding standards of elite schools, California Institute of Technology is tough. Exhibit A: The bottom 25% of recently admitted students scored about 1490 on their SATs—higher than at Harvard, MIT, or Stanford. Freshmen take their first-year courses pass-fail to ease into the school, but after that, professors (including five Nobel Prize winners) are notoriously hard graders. No easy A’s here.

Along with the challenging workload comes great research opportunities, a hallmark of the school. Internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located near Caltech’s Pasadena campus, are a prime example. The result: Caltech is one of the nation’s top producers of science and engineering Ph.Ds, according to the National Science Foundation. And Techies tend to go on to great jobs, reporting salaries averaging more than $68,000 within five years of getting their degree, a premium over the average of other elite tech schools.

Caltech isn’t known for its athletics or social life. The men’s Division III basketball team, for instance, had a 310-game losing streak from 1985 through 2011. Male students outnumber females by 2:1. But the school’s six residential houses pick up the slack. Each throws at least one big party a year, often complete with theatre-style sets.

 

27. Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.72
Enrollment: 2,871
Net Price of Degree: $186,523
Acceptance Rate: 29%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.64
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,800
Website: colgate.edu
Colgate University mascot
Heather Ainsworth

Colgate combines a small-campus liberal arts education with the kind of serious athletic teams and active Greek life often found at much larger schools. Student athletes can play on one of 25 Division I teams at Colgate. And about a third of Colgate students were Greek-affiliated in fall 2013.

Graduates of this small upstate New York school enter the “real world” on sturdy financial footing, with low average debt and high earnings compared to alumni of similar schools. Colgate encourages students to use their liberal arts education in hands-on, proactive ways — the Thought Into Action institute, for example, promotes entrepreneurial activities on campus, with a student incubator program, speakers, events, and clubs for budding business owners.

28. Bentley University

Location: Waltham, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.71
Enrollment: 4,241
Net Price of Degree: $177,451
Acceptance Rate: 45%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.81
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,700
Website: bentley.edu
Bentley College
Winslow Townson—AP

Bentley has been rising up the ranks of the nation’s business colleges. The curriculum places special emphasis on technology as well as business. The school has its own trading room, complete with dual-screen monitors and Bloomberg terminals, to train students in trading, portfolio construction, corporate finance, and risk management. Its Career Services office excels at placing students in practical internships: About 90% of Bentley seniors have held at least one.

The business coursework and hands-on experience appears to translate into high salaries; recent grads report earning an average of $54,700, about a third higher than the average salary of similar business-oriented schools.

In their off-hours, Bentley students indulge in the nightlife and culture of nearby Boston. But one of the most popular events on campus each term is “Greedy Bingo,” in which students can win thousands of dollars worth of prizes.

28. Lafayette College

Location: Easton, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.71
Enrollment: 2,488
Net Price of Degree: $178,453
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.46
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $57,600
Lafayette College
Chuck Zovko

Though one of the nation’s oldest liberal arts schools, Lafayette College also offers prominent engineering and science programs from which some 30 students are admitted to medical or dental schools each year. In fact, several Lafayette programs team liberal arts majors with engineering, science, or technology students to take on real-world problems. One example: a clinic to improve operations at a local fish farm.

Such cross-disciplinary experience may be one reason that alumni do well in the workforce, reporting salaries averaging $57,600, significantly more than the average reported by graduates of similar institutions even after adjusting for the impact of majors.

28. University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.71
Enrollment: 32,776
Net Price of Degree: $86,963
Acceptance Rate: 44%
Average H.S. GPA: 4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,600
Website: ufl.edu/
Veterinary College Hospitals, University of Florida
Ray Carson—UF University Relations

The University of Florida is one of the best bargains in higher education. Tuition is just $6,310 a year, and more than 90% of undergraduates get state or other grants. Those numbers pay real dividends, as well: Almost 30% of students come from low income families, but more than 85% graduate, 7 percentage points more than is typical for schools with similar student bodies.

Despite the low net cost, students get access to some of the world’s top professors in fields such as biotechnology, gerontology, and astronomy. (UF has produced eight astronauts.)

Sports and Greek life are the biggest players on the campus social scene. The Gators, of course, are one of the strongest college sports franchises in the country. (The football team routinely wins a bowl berth, and the gymnastics and track teams recently won national championships.) The annual Gator Growl, meanwhile, is the nation’s largest student-run pep rally and features nationally known entertainers.

31. University of California-Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.7
Enrollment: 27,941
Net Price of Degree: $126,677
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.21
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,600
Website: ucla.edu/
UCLA
Stephanie Diani—UCLA

There’s a lot of star power at UCLA. There are professors like computer science pioneer Leonard Kleinrock, who sent the first message over the internet; Pulitzer Prize-winning geographer Jared Diamond; and Lloyd Shapley, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. And then there are the students: the Theatre, Film and Television department is among the best in the country, boasting scores of alumni in movies and on television, including Mayim Bialik, George Takei, Jack Black, and Ben Stiller. The Bruins sports teams also produce plenty of stars, including Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Troy Aikman and dozens of Olympians in track and field.

That said, the school does a fine job supporting everyday people as well. Although almost one-third of the students come from low-income families, more than 91% of freshmen eventually graduate, 10 percentage points more than is typical for schools with similar student bodies. Bruins also tend to graduate into good jobs, reporting average salaries of almost $50,000 within five years, significantly above the average.

The campus also offers more than 800 clubs, so there’s something for everyone to do. And Santa Monica beach is just five miles away.

32. Duke University

Location: Durham, NC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.68
Enrollment: 6,655
Net Price of Degree: $192,804
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $55,900
Website: WWW.DUKE.EDU
Duke University
Rachael Nedrow—Duke Photography

One of the most selective colleges in the South, Duke accepts only about 13% of applicants and the typical student scored in the mid 700s on the SAT. Students who clear the bar get a very fine education: Though a major research institution, Duke offers undergrads an extraordinary amount of direct interaction with professors. More than two-thirds of classes have fewer than 20 students and about half of students work on research projects with faculty members. And many of those profs are the tops in their field, including rock star economist Dan Ariely; Nobel-winning chemist Robert Lefkowitz; and — we are not making this up – scientists who are supposedly developing an invisibility cloak.

All this is wrapped in quintessential collegiate trappings. Its towering architecture has earned the Duke campus the nickname “Gothic Wonderland.” Undergrad social life, meanwhile, tends to revolve around fraternities and athletics. As any sports fan knows, Duke’s Blue Devils — particularly the basketball team – are perennial winners and have a passionate national following.

Non-athletes from Duke also tend to do well outside academia: Recent Duke graduates report making almost $56,000 within five years, 12% more than alums of similar institutions.

32. Lehigh University

Location: Bethlehem, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.68
Enrollment: 4,883
Net Price of Degree: $190,589
Acceptance Rate: 33%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.12
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $58,500
Website: lehigh.edu
Lehigh University
Christa Neu—Lehigh University Communications

Lehigh is a private research university with especially strong business and engineering programs. Its business majors, in fact, report average earnings of more than $58,000 within five years, which puts them in the top 30 colleges nationwide by that measure, according to Payscale. But even the school’s liberal arts majors tend to out-earn their peers — by an average of 16%, according to Payscale.

The university spreads across more than 2,300 acres in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, making it one of the country’s largest private campuses. Greek life plays a prominent role on campus, with about 40% of undergrads formally participating. Athletics, too, are significant part of the university’s culture: Lehigh’s Division I football team has a longstanding rivalry with nearby Lafayette College’s team. Every year, Spirit Week brings the school together for a series of events ranging from parades to “bed races” in which student “jockeys” race along Library Drive in beds pushed by four teammates.

32. Principia College

Location: Elsah, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.68
Enrollment: 489
Net Price of Degree: $65,517
Acceptance Rate: 87%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $42,200
140722_COLL_Principia_2
Ellen Sprague—Principia College

Principia is not for everyone – literally. The school restricts enrollment to practicing Christian Scientists (applicants are asked to submit references attesting to their church attendance). But those who fit the bill have an opportunity to attend one of the most affordable private liberal arts colleges in the country, and one where 97% of undergraduates get scholarships that further cut the cost of a degree. In fact, the school has the lowest estimated net price of a degree in MONEY’s top 50.

Because of its religious nature, Principia is not especially diverse, although about 15% of students come from outside the U.S. Religious restrictions and small town locale also make the social life comparatively sedate. But there are plenty of clubs and activities on campus. For the annual “Lowrey House Rumpus,” for example, students fill a pool with goop and invite the campus community to dive in.

Principia’s location on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and English village-style (some say Hogwarts-like) architecture have earned the campus designation as a National Historic Landmark.

32. Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.68
Enrollment: 1,552
Net Price of Degree: $174,789
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,000
Swarthmore College
Eleftherios Kostans

Swarthmore is an elite and demanding liberal arts school. Though relatively small, with just 1,600 undergraduates, Swarthmore gives its students unusually expansive opportunities. Swatties can take classes at nearby Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or the University of Pennsylvania. Swarthmore classes themselves are typically small. Roughly one-third of the students opt for the school’s Honors Program, taught in a seminar format with final grades given by outside examiners.

Swarthmore appears to instill a love of learning: About 20% of Swatties go on to earn PhDs, the third-highest percentage in the country. But those who go into the job market report average earnings of about $51,000 within five years, a healthy premium over schools with similar students. (And that’s not counting the recent $300,000 Jeopardy winnings of 2008 alum Arthur Chu.)

Swarthmore, which plays in Division III, fields 22 varsity teams, but the school’s spirit is perhaps better exemplified by another kind of athletic tradition: Once a year, students race 18 laps around the library stacks in an effort to win a big roll of Scott toilet paper, in honor of an alum who was once the president of Scott Paper Company.

32. University of California-Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.68
Enrollment: 22,216
Net Price of Degree: $122,860
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.89
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,900
Website: uci.edu/
201407_COL_01
Bob O’Connor

One of the youngest campuses (49 years old) in the state’s public university system, Irvine is already one of the world’s most respected research institutions, with three Nobel Prize winners on the faculty.

Undergraduates also thrive: Although about 40% of students come from low-income families, 86% of freshmen go on to graduate — 15 percentage points more than the average for schools with a similar student body. And the typical Anteater (the nickname comes from the school mascot) earns about $49,000 within five years of graduation, about $9,000 more than alums of comparable colleges.

Irvine is one of the most diverse schools in the country—47% of the 22,216 students are Asian and 20% are Hispanic. It is also well located: in the suburbs, just nine miles from the Pacific Ocean. UCI doesn’t field a football team, but its baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball programs are strong. In one of the quainter college cheers, the “Antourage,” as UCI sports fans are called, cheer “Zot, zot, zot” to mimic the sound of an anteater sucking up ants.

37. Georgetown University

Location: Washington, DC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.67
Enrollment: 7,552
Net Price of Degree: $204,478
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.38
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $53,000
140722_COLL_Duke_1
Georgetown University is the 18th most expensive school on the Best Colleges list. Phil Humnicky—Georgetown University

Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit University in the U.S., is the second most expensive school in MONEY’s top 50 (only Columbia’s net price of a degree is higher). But one of the key reasons the school is so costly, its location in Washington D.C., is also one of its biggest draws, especially for students interested in studying politics or international relations. With a beautiful red brick campus on a bluff overlooking the Potomac—its flagship building is on the National Register of Historic Places—Georgetown frequently gets Washington’s elite to lecture or teach classes, recently including former CIA director George Tenet, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and veteran campaign strategist Donna Brazile. Distinguished alumni include Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former president Bill Clinton.

About 40% of students get scholarships from Georgetown to defray their costs. A small portion of those awards go to high-achieving athletes or students without regard to the family’s financial circumstances. Georgetown’s diplomas seem to pay off. Recent graduates report earning about $53,000 a year, roughly $4,000 more than the average reported by graduates of similar institutions.

Georgetown, which plays in Division I, fields 29 varsity teams, including its revered basketball team, which has gone to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament five times and won the championship once (1984). In one of the more head-turning traditions, students can attend screenings of “The Exorcist” each Halloween, and then walk to the scenes on campus where the movie was filmed, including the “Exorcist stairs” where the climax of the movie takes place.

37. University of Washington-Bothell

Location: Bothell, WA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.67
Enrollment: 3,508
Net Price of Degree: $125,690
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $52,100
Website: uwb.edu
University of Washington-Bothell

Founded in 1990 and located just a few miles from the state system’s more famous flagship, the University of Washington at Bothell is a little known school that dramatically outperforms its peers on graduation rates and alumni financial success indicators. It isn’t particularly selective. The typical student scored about 500 on each of the SAT tests, and the school admits about 75% percent of those who apply. Almost 40% of its students come from low-income families.

Yet more than two-thirds of freshmen go on to graduate—an impressive 16 percentage points better than other schools with similar student profiles. And graduates appear to thrive, reporting salaries averaging about $52,000 within five years, or $12,000 more than graduates of comparable schools. Students tend to focus on health, business, and computer science majors, but philosophy and psychology are also popular.

39. Washington and Lee University

Location: Lexington, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.65
Enrollment: 1,838
Net Price of Degree: $149,377
Acceptance Rate: 19%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.34
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,000
Website: wlu.edu/
Washington and Lee University

courtesy of Washington & Lee

Despite its high sticker price ($58,580 last year), Washington and Lee awards so much aid that the all-in price of a degree is comparatively low for a private liberal arts school. And, unlike the Ivy League and many other elite private colleges, W&L offers some merit scholarships to top students who might not qualify for need-based aid.

One of the oldest colleges in the U.S., Washington and Lee is named after George Washington, who endowed the struggling school with a $20,000 gift in 1796, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who served as the university’s president after the Civil War. Recently the school has faced controversy over a perceived lack of sensitivity regarding racial issues (more than 80% of students are white; only about 10% percent come from low-income households). In response, the university president apologized for the school’s past ownership of slaves and ordered Confederate flags removed from a campus chapel named after Lee.

W&L students who go on to graduate typically do well in the work world. Recent graduates report earning about $48,000 within five years, about $4,500 more than would be expected for a school with its student body profile. One of the campus social highlights of each year is the annual Fancy Dress Ball, a themed black-tie event that’s been hosted by the school for more than 100 years.

40. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.63
Enrollment: 18,503
Net Price of Degree: $84,113
Acceptance Rate: 33%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.53
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,200
Website: unc.edu
Students listen as Donald Hornstein teaches a MOOC class at the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dan Sears—UNC Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is the lowest-cost public school for in-state students in MONEY’s top 50. Among the strongest departments at UNC are biology and other sciences, traditional liberal arts such as religious studies, and journalism.

UNC has a comparatively high graduation rate of 89%, which is six percentage points higher than what you’d expect for schools with similar student populations. Sports play a big role on campus: Basketball games are typically sold out, especially when the Tar Heels face Duke, their fiercest rival. Other teams excel as well. The women’s soccer team has won 22 NCAA titles.

When they aren’t studying or cheering, students have access to hundreds of on-campus clubs, as well as the college town’s many nightclubs and restaurants. UNC’s high female-to-male ratio of 58:42, though, causes some complaints about the social life. On University Day every year, the school celebrates its place as the nation’s first public university. Presidents including John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton have addressed students in the past.

40. Manhattan College

Location: Riverdale, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.63
Enrollment: 3,351
Net Price of Degree: $161,520
Average H.S. GPA: 3.3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $55,200
Website: manhattan.edu
Manhattan College

Chris Taggart

With alumni that include former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly, Manhattan College is a quintessentially New York City school. (Despite the name, the campus is located just north of Manhattan in the Riverdale section of the Bronx). While the school accepts applicants of all faiths, this Catholic institution does require students in some majors to take at least one course in Catholic theology.

Even B students have a good shot of getting into Manhattan College, where the average student reports SAT scores in the 500s. Once graduated, the students boast average salaries of $55,200 within five years. That’s 18% higher than what’s typical at similar schools, and more than $6,000 higher than the averages reported by graduates of nearby schools such as New York University and Fordham.

Manhattan fields 19 NCAA Division I sports teams, including basketball, baseball, soccer and lacrosse. Major social events of the year include Manhattan Madness, which kicks off basketball season, and Jasper Days, at which Pitbull, Jay Sean, and Gym Class Heroes have performed.

42. Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, GA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.62
Enrollment: 14,527
Net Price of Degree: $107,806
Acceptance Rate: 51%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.9
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $60,700
Website: gatech.edu
Skyline views of Atlanta and Georgia Tech taken from the roof of the library. Tech Tower

Raftermen Photography—Georgia Institute of Technology

For in-state students, Georgia Tech is one of the lowest-cost technology-focused colleges in MONEY’s top 50. The typical student has SAT scores in the 700s, and undergraduate classes are reported to be demanding.

Georgia Tech students, who have ample opportunities to assist in faculty research, do well on the job market, reporting average earnings of more than $60,000 within five years of graduation—just above the average for graduates of other tech schools.

The high concentration of men—67% of undergraduates—causes some to complain about the social scene. But there’s plenty to do on campus, as well as in Atlanta. Each year, Georgia Tech rents out a Six Flags theme park so that faculty, staff, alumni, and friends can enjoy the rides without the long lines.

The school has 15 NCAA Division I teams, but football is particularly revered. Homecoming week for the Yellow Jackets has a full lineup of traditions, including a water gun fight and a pre-game foot race that awards cakes to the winners and cupcakes to all participants. Students carry on one of the most intense college football rivalries in the country against University of Georgia. Georgia Tech students are known to describe their attitude toward University of Georgia as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.”

42. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Location: Blacksburg, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.62
Enrollment: 23,859
Net Price of Degree: $115,317
Acceptance Rate: 70%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.98
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,700
Website: WWW.VT.EDU
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
John McCormick

Virginia Polytechnic and State University, or Virginia Tech, is a leader in using technology to teach—and have fun. The campus Math Emporium is a former department store that houses hundreds of computers programmed with math tutoring lessons that have boosted students’ math success rates. Geography teacher John Boyer (who styles himself as “The Plaid Avenger”) is regularly voted among the top instructors at the school in part because he gets world leaders to hold discussions with his classes via Skype.

Such programs are one reason the school has an unusually high graduation rate: 83%, which is five percentage points higher than the average for its peers. Although Virginia Tech is known especially for its engineering program, its business, social sciences, and agriculture curriculums are also strong. About 1,000 students participate in the school’s cadet program, which can lead to an officer commission in the military. Virginia Tech fields 22 Division I teams, all cheered on by a mascot called a Hokiebird, a kind of mythical muscled-up turkey. In an example of nerdy fun, the school’s robotics researchers created an award-winning robot that can dance Gangnam style.

 

44. Bowdoin College

Location: Brunswick, ME
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.61
Enrollment: 1,839
Net Price of Degree: $179,818
Acceptance Rate: 16%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,500
Website: bowdoin.edu/
Bowdoin college

Michele Stapleton

Bowdoin College is an elite liberal arts college that counts among its alumni influencers like Netflix founder Reed Hastings and Harlem Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada. Although it is highly selective, rejecting 85% of applicants, Bowdoin is test optional, meaning applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. As part of the school’s classic liberal arts approach, students must do course work in all of the major disciplines, including math, science, the arts, and the social sciences.

Bowdoin promises to provide grants to meet the entire demonstrated need of students who can’t afford the full sticker price. As a result, most Bowdoin graduates leave school without any student debt. Also keeping costs down: 90% of freshmen graduate within four years, one of the highest rates in the country. The Polar Bears field 31 Division III sports teams. To encourage students to take full advantage of opportunities to kayak, hike, and ski in bucolic Maine, Bowdoin lends outdoor gear for free. One social highlight of the year is the annual Lobster Bake, at which students chow down on steamed local lobsters.

45. Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.6
Enrollment: 3,536
Net Price of Degree: $198,138
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $53,400
Website: bucknell.edu
Bucknell University

Laurie Jackson

Though a liberal arts college, Bucknell also boasts strong engineering, science, and business programs. Students must take courses in the core curriculum, including a lab science, a foreign language, and math. Classes, all taught by faculty, not graduate students, tend to be small.

Bucknell has one of the nation’s highest graduation rates. Fully 90% of freshmen finish in four years. Players on the school’s Division I teams excel as well. The 93% graduation rate for athletes is among the nation’s highest. Post-graduation, Bucknell students do well on the job market, making 12% more on average than graduates from similar institutions.

At this historic tree-filled campus on a branch of the Susquehanna River, Greek life dominates, as most students belong to a fraternity or sorority. Every January, Bucknell freshmen celebrate First Night to mark the end of their first semester. At the event, students present their newly designed class crest and serenade the university president at his home.

46. University of California-San Diego

Location: La Jolla, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.59
Enrollment: 22,676
Net Price of Degree: $124,852
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.94
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,300
Website: ucsd.edu
UC San Diego

UC San Diego Publications

One of the top 20 research universities in the world, the University of California, San Diego is especially renowned for its science programs—and great teachers. Music professor Kenneth Anderson is one of very few professors nationwide to receive a perfect five from his students on Ratemyprofessor.com. Notable alumni include Mike Judge, who earned a bachelor’s in physics before going on to create TV shows like King of the Hill; and Billy Beane, who put his UCSD economics degree to use when he used statistical analysis to build a competitive Oakland Athletics team on the cheap in a season immortalized in the book and movie Moneyball.

Although nearly a third of UCSD students come from low-income families, 86% graduate, a rate that’s 12 percentage points higher than what’s typical for colleges with similar student bodies. The student body is highly diverse: 42% are Asian, and 16% are Hispanic. The Tritons field 20 Division II teams, and three Division I teams (men’s and women’s water polo and men’s volleyball). The college’s annual Sun-God Festival is one of the most popular events of the year, attracting bands like Third Eye Blind and Black Eyed Peas.

47. University of Washington-Seattle

Location: Seattle, WA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.57
Enrollment: 29,475
Net Price of Degree: $117,473
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.75
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,300
Suzzallo Library interior, University of Washington

Mary Levin—University of Washinton

The flagship Seattle campus of the University of Washington has emerged as one of the world’s leading research universities. The UW is known for strong social science, business, medical, and engineering programs. Because of its proximity to Boeing’s headquarters, the school has a particular expertise in aeronautics and counts many astronauts among its alums.

UW has encouraging admissions odds for such a top-rated school: The typical student has SAT scores of roughly 600, and the school accepts about 55% of applicants. Although lower division classes can be large—some have as many as 700 students—undergraduates appear to thrive; 81% of incoming freshmen graduate, six percentage points higher than what would be expected given the make-up of the student body.

The Huskies field 22 Division I sports teams. The football team often gets a bowl invitation, and many other teams excel as well. The men’s crew team has won four national championships in a row. Besides the hundreds of campus clubs, students can enjoy a wide variety of activities in the Seattle area.

47. Middlebury College

Location: Middlebury, VT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.57
Enrollment: 2,516
Net Price of Degree: $202,812
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.39
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,900
Aquatic Ecology, Middlebury College

Bridget Besaw

The quality of teaching is high at this elite liberal arts college, at least in the eyes of the those being taught. On average, Middlebury’s professors receive among the highest student ratings in the country on Ratemyprofessor.com. The college is known especially for its language and writing programs—every summer it’s host to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, which has featured writers such as Toni Morrison, George R. R. Martin, and Anne Sexton.

The bucolic New England campus offers both mountain views and the village’s collection of used bookstores, boutiques, and coffee shops. And Middlebury graduates do well for themselves after they leave it behind, earning 17% more than counterparts at comparable schools. Students who tire of outdoor activities can head to nearby Burlington for more nightlife and entertainment. Of course, studying in New England means ample opportunities to enjoy winter sports: The Middlebury Snow Bowl is popular for skiing, as is nearby Bread Loaf Mountain.

47. Claremont McKenna College

Location: Claremont, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.57
Enrollment: 1,264
Net Price of Degree: $196,740
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.39
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,100
Claremont McKenna

courtesy of Claremont McKenna

The academic emphasis at Claremont McKenna is on political science and economics, but students can take classes offered by any other member of the Claremont Consortium, including nearby Harvey Mudd and Pomona Colleges. CMC’s rigorous education requirements include not only a sampling of economics, humanities, and government courses but also three physical education classes.

The upshot of that approach: The school launches students into good jobs. Recent graduates report salaries that are a solid 13% higher than the average for peers from similar universities. Famous alums include Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Michael Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch.

In their downtime, CMC students can relax at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, a college club where students and faculty gather to dine and listen to guest speakers ranging from Condoleeza Rice and Karl Rove to Jonathan Franzen and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

50. Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, TN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.56
Enrollment: 6,796
Net Price of Degree: $160,791
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.75
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $52,100
Vanderbilt University

courtesy of Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt’s elegant campus is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most beautiful. Home to forests containing hundreds of species of trees, it has been designated a national arboretum. Although fewer than half Vanderbilt’s students are from the South, alumni like Al Gore, Lamar Alexander, and Rosanne Cash make up a Who’s Who of Southern politics and culture.

The university has a world-class medical school, and its pre-med undergrads receive extra advising, research opportunities, and other assistance, leading to a 67% medical school acceptance rate—about 25 percentage points higher than the national average. Vanderbilt’s liberal arts and humanities programs are also strong. The average non-science, non-business major at Vanderbilt earns about $42,000 within five years, about $4,000 above the average salary reported by graduates with those majors.

The Division I Commodores sports teams also stand out. The baseball squad won the national championship in June 2014, while the football team often gets bowl invitations. Fraternities and sororities play a significant part of the social life on campus, and many students take advantage of Nashville’s vibrant music scene.

50. Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Location: Buzzards Bay, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.56
Enrollment: 1,312
Net Price of Degree: $98,721
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Average H.S. GPA: 3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,700
Website: maritime.edu
Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Liz Novak

This school isn’t a military academy, but it may feel like one. Freshmen kick off their college career with two weeks of physical and nautical training. Then throughout the school year, reveille is called at 6 a.m., at which time cadets don their uniforms, and, after breakfast, muster in formation. The reward for the long eight-hour school days are degrees in subjects such as engineering, marine transportation, environmental protection, and business.

All students must learn to handle the school’s training ships, and most cadets serve on at least one six-week training cruise to a foreign port, typically in the Caribbean. The payoff for this disciplined approach to education: Mass Maritime offers in-state students a low-cost education that can lead to a successful career. Recent graduates report earning an average of almost $55,000, above average even for graduates of other schools that focus on engineering or business.

Besides shipping, many grads find work in the energy, cruise, or fishing industries or go on to serve as officers in the military. The student body is not as diverse as you’ll find elsewhere: About 90% of students are male, and 90% are white. The Buccaneers have eight Division III sports teams each for men and women. As you might expect, the sailing team is especially strong.

50. Pomona College

Location: Claremont, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.56
Enrollment: 1,607
Net Price of Degree: $162,778
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,500
Website: pomona.edu
Turrell Skyspace in Lincoln Edmunds Quad, Pomona College

Henry Cabala

Pomona College is an elite liberal arts college with highly regarded teachers. On Ratemyprofessor.com, the average grade Pomona students give their professors is 3.96 (on a five-point scale), which puts the school’s faculty in the top 30 nationwide. Pomona is also one of only handful of colleges that promises to meet the full demonstrated need of admitted students, allowing most to graduate without any student debt.

With 1,500 undergraduates, Pomona is comparatively small, but students can take any class offered by the other members of the Claremont Colleges consortium—Claremont-McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps. The schools combine to offer many Division III sports and extracurricular activities as well. One popular club: On the Loose, or OTL, an outdoor activities club that sponsors more than 50 trips every year.

53. James Madison University

Location: Harrisonburg, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.55
Enrollment: 18,107
Net Price of Degree: $98,246
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,000
Website: jmu.edu/

53. Robert Morris University Illinois

Location: Chicago, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.55
Enrollment: 3,230
Net Price of Degree: $144,169
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Average H.S. GPA: 2.7
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $38,100

53. The College of New Jersey

Location: Ewing, NJ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.55
Enrollment: 6,545
Net Price of Degree: $127,531
Acceptance Rate: 46%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.89
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,400
Website: tcnj.edu

53. The University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, TX
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.55
Enrollment: 39,955
Net Price of Degree: $116,482
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.96
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,400
Website: utexas.edu

57. Berea College

Location: Berea, KY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.54
Enrollment: 1,658
Net Price of Degree: $49,281
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.42
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $32,600
Website: berea.edu

58. Grove City College

Location: Grove City, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.53
Enrollment: 2,506
Net Price of Degree: $94,143
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.76
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,300
Website: gcc.edu

58. Stevens Institute of Technology

Location: Hoboken, NJ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.53
Enrollment: 2,575
Net Price of Degree: $165,161
Acceptance Rate: 40%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $64,900
Website: stevens.edu

 

60. College of William and Mary

Location: Williamsburg, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.52
Enrollment: 6,171
Net Price of Degree: $96,219
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Average H.S. GPA: 4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,500
Website: wm.edu

61. Doane College-Crete

Location: Crete, NE
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.51
Enrollment: 1,149
Net Price of Degree: $103,632
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.49
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $45,800
Website: doane.edu

62. College of the Ozarks

Location: Point Lookout, MO
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.5
Enrollment: 1,372
Net Price of Degree: $72,420
Acceptance Rate: 9%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.58
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $31,100
Website: cofo.edu

62. University of California-Davis

Location: Davis, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.5
Enrollment: 25,666
Net Price of Degree: $133,424
Acceptance Rate: 48%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.96
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,000
Website: ucdavis.edu

62. University of Georgia

Location: Athens, GA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.5
Enrollment: 26,259
Net Price of Degree: $100,269
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.83
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $43,800
Website: uga.edu

62. Washington University in St Louis

Location: Saint Louis, MO
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.5
Enrollment: 7,259
Net Price of Degree: $211,860
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,900
Website: wustl.edu

66. Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Location: Butte, MT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.49
Enrollment: 1,860
Net Price of Degree: $88,245
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.39
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $63,100
Website: mtech.edu

66. University of Delaware

Location: Newark, DE
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.49
Enrollment: 18,202
Net Price of Degree: $98,943
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.78
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,300
Website: udel.edu/

68. Holy Family University

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.48
Enrollment: 2,139
Net Price of Degree: $149,649
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.06
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,400

68. University of Maryland-College Park

Location: College Park, MD
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.48
Enrollment: 26,538
Net Price of Degree: $99,096
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.07
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,600
Website: umd.edu

 

70. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

Location: New York, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.47
Enrollment: 13,777
Net Price of Degree: $134,744
Acceptance Rate: 22%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.14
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,500

70. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.47
Enrollment: 17,680
Net Price of Degree: $124,874
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.87
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,000
Website: calpoly.edu

72. Davidson College

Location: Davidson, NC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.46
Enrollment: 1,790
Net Price of Degree: $165,141
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.1
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,500
Website: davidson.edu/

72. Molloy College

Location: Rockville Centre, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.46
Enrollment: 3,444
Net Price of Degree: $178,059
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Average H.S. GPA: 3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $59,100
Website: molloy.edu

72. Tufts University

Location: Medford, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.46
Enrollment: 5,255
Net Price of Degree: $201,016
Acceptance Rate: 21%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.49
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,800
Website: tufts.edu

72. Wake Forest University

Location: Winston Salem, NC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.46
Enrollment: 4,815
Net Price of Degree: $196,665
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.21
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,800
Website: wfu.edu

76. Oregon Institute of Technology

Location: Klamath Falls, OR
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.45
Enrollment: 3,960
Net Price of Degree: $100,117
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.41
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $57,000
Website: oit.edu

76. Purdue University-Main Campus

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.45
Enrollment: 31,284
Net Price of Degree: $105,631
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.7
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,200
Website: purdue.edu

76. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.45
Enrollment: 32,281
Net Price of Degree: $118,657
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.06
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,600
Website: illinois.edu/

79. California Maritime Academy

Location: Vallejo, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.44
Enrollment: 973
Net Price of Degree: $99,062
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.1
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,500
Website: csum.edu

79. Carleton College

Location: Northfield, MN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.44
Enrollment: 2,055
Net Price of Degree: $178,184
Acceptance Rate: 26%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.43
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,700
Website: carleton.edu

79. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Location: Raleigh, NC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.44
Enrollment: 24,833
Net Price of Degree: $90,630
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.37
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,500
Website: ncsu.edu

82. Michigan Technological University

Location: Houghton, MI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.43
Enrollment: 5,611
Net Price of Degree: $102,160
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.62
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $59,200
Website: mtu.edu

 

82. Saint Vincent College

Location: Latrobe, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.43
Enrollment: 1,566
Net Price of Degree: $108,622
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.56
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,500
Website: stvincent.edu

84. Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.41
Enrollment: 5,921
Net Price of Degree: $211,477
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.69
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $60,200
Website: cmu.edu/

84. Presbyterian College

Location: Clinton, SC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.41
Enrollment: 1,172
Net Price of Degree: $101,709
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.47
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $42,800
Website: presby.edu

86. Bradley University

Location: Peoria, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 4,879
Net Price of Degree: $139,125
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.7
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,200
Website: bradley.edu

86. Bryant University

Location: Smithfield, RI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 3,180
Net Price of Degree: $164,132
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,800
Website: bryant.edu

86. Colby College

Location: Waterville, ME
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 1,863
Net Price of Degree: $189,969
Acceptance Rate: 29%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.24
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,000
Website: colby.edu

86. Iowa State University

Location: Ames, IA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 25,553
Net Price of Degree: $77,836
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.55
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,800
Website: iastate.edu

86. Missouri University of Science and Technology

Location: Rolla, MO
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 5,841
Net Price of Degree: $93,284
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.53
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $61,900
Website: mst.edu/

86. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, NJ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.4
Enrollment: 31,593
Net Price of Degree: $125,587
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.78
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,700
Website: rutgers.edu/

92. Illinois Institute of Technology

Location: Chicago, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.39
Enrollment: 2,801
Net Price of Degree: $140,092
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.92
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $55,000
Website: iit.edu

92. Santa Clara University

Location: Santa Clara, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.39
Enrollment: 5,250
Net Price of Degree: $203,863
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.64
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $53,300
Website: scu.edu

94. Kenyon College

Location: Gambier, OH
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.38
Enrollment: 1,667
Net Price of Degree: $190,407
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.9
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,400
Website: kenyon.edu/

95. John Carroll University

Location: University Heights, OH
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.37
Enrollment: 2,949
Net Price of Degree: $131,619
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.46
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,200

95. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.37
Enrollment: 24,626
Net Price of Degree: $96,990
Acceptance Rate: 80%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,300
Website: lsu.edu

95. University of California-Santa Barbara

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.37
Enrollment: 18,977
Net Price of Degree: $131,294
Acceptance Rate: 46%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.91
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,300
Website: ucsb.edu

95. Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.37
Enrollment: 2,482
Net Price of Degree: $165,868
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.34
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $43,400
Website: wellesley.edu

99. University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, AZ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.36
Enrollment: 31,565
Net Price of Degree: $98,556
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.42
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,400
Website: arizona.edu

99. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, WI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.36
Enrollment: 30,301
Net Price of Degree: $104,851
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.84
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,400
Website: wisc.edu

101. College of the Holy Cross

Location: Worcester, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 2,926
Net Price of Degree: $186,227
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.88
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $45,600
Website: holycross.edu

101. George Mason University

Location: Fairfax, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 20,653
Net Price of Degree: $117,523
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.66
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,800
Website: gmu.edu

101. Hamilton College

Location: Clinton, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 1,884
Net Price of Degree: $181,798
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.38
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $53,700
Website: hamilton.edu

101. University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 5,618
Net Price of Degree: $188,813
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.28
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $45,600

101. University of Illinois at Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 16,678
Net Price of Degree: $121,119
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.26
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,200

101. Wheaton College

Location: Wheaton, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.35
Enrollment: 2,508
Net Price of Degree: $144,023
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.71
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $42,400
Website: wheaton.edu

107. College of Our Lady of the Elms

Location: Chicopee, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 1,268
Net Price of Degree: $119,284
Acceptance Rate: 80%
Average H.S. GPA: 3
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $45,400
Website: elms.edu

107. Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 6,023
Net Price of Degree: $209,964
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.72
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $55,600
Website: jhu.edu

107. Rutgers University-Newark

Location: Newark, NJ
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 7,666
Net Price of Degree: $140,858
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.32
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,000
Website: rutgers.edu

107. Stony Brook University

Location: Stony Brook, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 15,837
Net Price of Degree: $98,729
Acceptance Rate: 40%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.68
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,600

107. University of Mary Washington

Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 4,515
Net Price of Degree: $98,983
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.48
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,100
Website: umw.edu

 

107. University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, WY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 10,194
Net Price of Degree: $82,633
Acceptance Rate: 96%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.48
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,900
Website: uwyo.edu

107. Utah State University

Location: Logan, UT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.34
Enrollment: 25,445
Net Price of Degree: $85,983
Acceptance Rate: 97%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.46
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,400
Website: usu.edu

114. Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Location: Charleston, SC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 2,629
Net Price of Degree: $95,797
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,900
Website: citadel.edu

114. Providence College

Location: Providence, RI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 4,146
Net Price of Degree: $181,352
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.39
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,100

114. Scripps College

Location: Claremont, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 945
Net Price of Degree: $188,228
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.11
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $43,000

114. Tennessee Technological University

Location: Cookeville, TN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 9,957
Net Price of Degree: $106,806
Acceptance Rate: 93%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $48,500
Website: tntech.edu

114. Villanova University

Location: Villanova, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 7,100
Net Price of Degree: $196,392
Acceptance Rate: 46%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.86
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $52,600
Website: villanova.edu

114. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Location: Worcester, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.33
Enrollment: 3,952
Net Price of Degree: $158,474
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $62,100
Website: wpi.edu

120. University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.32
Enrollment: 17,528
Net Price of Degree: $102,024
Acceptance Rate: 45%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.9
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,700
Website: uconn.edu

120. University of Richmond

Location: University of Richmond, VA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.32
Enrollment: 3,341
Net Price of Degree: $157,221
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.16
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,400
Website: richmond.edu

122. Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 9,837
Net Price of Degree: $201,557
Acceptance Rate: 29%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.28
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,200
Website: bc.edu

122. Haverford College

Location: Haverford, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 1,205
Net Price of Degree: $181,842
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.43
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $38,600
Website: haverford.edu

122. Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, MI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 37,354
Net Price of Degree: $106,050
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.61
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $45,900
Website: msu.edu

122. Mount St. Mary’s College

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 2,458
Net Price of Degree: $176,503
Acceptance Rate: 60%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.35
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,400
Website: msmc.la.edu

122. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Location: Socorro, NM
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 1,565
Net Price of Degree: $80,638
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.65
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,500
Website: nmt.edu

122. University of Oklahoma Norman Campus

Location: Norman, OK
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 21,109
Net Price of Degree: $100,584
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.59
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,700
Website: ou.edu

122. University of Utah

Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.31
Enrollment: 24,840
Net Price of Degree: $115,666
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.55
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,300
Website: utah.edu

129. Earlham College

Location: Richmond, IN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.3
Enrollment: 1,087
Net Price of Degree: $108,878
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.4
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $40,300
Website: earlham.edu

129. Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, IL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.3
Enrollment: 9,376
Net Price of Degree: $200,157
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,000

129. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Location: Rapid City, SD
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.3
Enrollment: 2,101
Net Price of Degree: $106,762
Acceptance Rate: 88%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.5
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $62,400
Website: sdsmt.edu

129. University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.3
Enrollment: 18,316
Net Price of Degree: $192,021
Acceptance Rate: 20%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.7
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $50,900
Website: usc.edu/

129. Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.3
Enrollment: 2,406
Net Price of Degree: $155,008
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $44,800
Website: vassar.edu

134. Colorado School of Mines

Location: Golden, CO
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.29
Enrollment: 4,156
Net Price of Degree: $124,905
Acceptance Rate: 45%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.8
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $66,700
Website: mines.edu

134. DePauw University

Location: Greencastle, IN
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.29
Enrollment: 2,336
Net Price of Degree: $129,752
Acceptance Rate: 62%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.51
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $46,600
Website: depauw.edu

134. New College of Florida

Location: Sarasota, FL
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.29
Enrollment: 832
Net Price of Degree: $77,399
Acceptance Rate: 60%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.98
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $39,800
Website: ncf.edu

134. Wofford College

Location: Spartanburg, SC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.29
Enrollment: 1,619
Net Price of Degree: $136,699
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.56
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $40,900
Website: wofford.edu

138. Centre College

Location: Danville, KY
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.28
Enrollment: 1,344
Net Price of Degree: $118,815
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.68
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $43,500
Website: centre.edu

138. Clemson University

Location: Clemson, SC
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.28
Enrollment: 16,562
Net Price of Degree: $124,837
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.23
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $49,000
Website: clemson.edu

138. Gettysburg College

Location: Gettysburg, PA
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.28
Enrollment: 2,600
Net Price of Degree: $161,794
Acceptance Rate: 40%
Average H.S. GPA: 4.05
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $47,200

138. Loyola University Maryland

Location: Baltimore, MD
Value Grade/Ranking Score: B+/3.28
Enrollment: 3,917
Net Price of Degree: $183,309
Acceptance Rate: 65%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.39
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $51,000
Website: loyola.edu
For the rest of the list -> Money
Money magazine 2014

 

Millennials value empathy and good citizenship, not self-interest

October 30th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Marketing

 

The first people to come of age in the 21st century, with its dizzying rate of technological change, have been forced to invent new ways of navigating it. Credit Bon Duke for The New York Times

Suddenly, as you may have noticed, millennials are everywhere. Not that this group of people born after 1980 and before 2000 — a giant cohort now estimated to number at least 80 million Americans, more than the baby boom generation — was ever invisible. What’s changed is their status. Coddled and helicoptered, catered to by 24-hour TV cable networks, fussed over by marketers and college recruiters, dissected by psychologists, demographers and trend-spotters, the millennial generation has come fully into its own. The word “millennial,” whether as noun or adjective, has monopolized the nonstop cultural conversation, invariably freighted with zeitgeisty import.

This newspaper is no exception. A recent search of The New York Times database turned up no fewer than 122 mentions of “millennial” so far in 2014, on topics ranging from TV and pop music to travel and literature.

A random sampling:

1. “Fusion was created in October as both a cable network and a digital network aimed at a younger, so-called millennial audience and is committed to telling and delivering the news in ways that a young audience expects.”

2. “Lana Del Rey, the pouty, retro torch singer for the millennial generation. …”

3. “On the heels of hotels like Yotel and Aloft, a crop of new brands is designed for millennial travelers.

4. “Elyria is disengaged and depleted in a manner that put me in mind of the characters in the novels of Tao Lin, that Zen summoner of millennial ennui.”

Why this microscopic attention paid to a generation whose oldest members are only now entering the prime of their adult lives? One answer is that millennials, the first people to come of age in the 21st century, with its dizzying rate of technological change, have been forced to invent new ways of navigating it.

But first, what besides youth sets millennials apart from their elders — the wizened silent generation, the graying boomers, the midlife Gen-X’ers?

The usual answer seems to be “narcissism” — self-absorption indulged to comical extremes. We all can recite the evidence: the breathlessly updated Facebook profile, the cascade of selfies, the Kardashians.

Millennials know this litany, too. “People have been calling me a narcissist since I was 3,” says Hannah, the character Lena Dunham plays in “Girls,” her comedy of millennial manners. It’s a small joke on Hannah but a bigger one on the anxious, hovering adults who supplied the clucking soundtrack when she was growing up.

But a very different picture of millennials emerges from what may be the most illuminating literary project of our era, the Pew Research Center’s sequence of reports on millennials. The 2010 edition, subtitled “Confident. Connected. Open to Change,” offered an X-ray of its first wave, the “roughly 50 million millennials who currently span the ages of 18 to 29.”

What Pew found was not an entitled generation but a complex and introspective one — with a far higher proportion of nonwhites than its predecessors as well as a greater number of people raised by a single parent. Its members also have weathered many large public traumas: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, costly (and unresolved) wars, the Great Recession. Add to those the flood of images of Iraq and Katrina (and, for older millennials, Oklahoma City and Columbine) — episodes lived and relived, played and replayed, on TV and computer screens.

For a generation digitally wired from childhood, and reared on apocalyptic videos and computer-generated movie epics, not to mention the exploits of hackers, these events showed the real world to be as tightly networked, and for that reason as easily disrupted as the virtual one, even as the grown-ups in charge, the guardians of order, seemed overwhelmed and overmatched, always a step behind.

It is no surprise, as Pew reported, that the millennial generation is skeptical of institutions — political and religious — and prefers to improvise solutions to the challenges of the moment. It is one thing to own a smartphone, as so many of us do. It is quite another to have mastered its uses at age 10.

Thus, in a range of areas, millennials have not only caught up, but have jumped out in front.

Credit Bon Duke for The New York Times

 

Consider the approach many take to the workplace. Thanks to the 2008 economic crash, millennials know how fleeting wealth can be. Their solution? For many, it is to acquire not more, but less.

“Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring,” the Brookings Institution recently noted in a report by Morley Winograd and Michael Hais titled “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The generation that gave us Occupy Wall Street has embraced its own modes of entrepreneurship, found across the broad spectrum of “creatives,” from stylists to techies, who reject the presumed security of the corporate job and riskily pursue their own ventures, even if it means working out of their parents’ basement.

Consider millennial shopping habits. Even in the realm of fashion, many are indifferent to prestige brands and lavish ad campaigns, preferring to buy online or get “disposable” clothing at H & M or Zara, which boasts that its organically farmed cottons are “completely free of pesticides, chemicals and bleach.”

The do-goodish pitch is aimed squarely at millennials, who collectively favor companies that embrace the values of good citizenship. The Brookings report says millennials overwhelmingly “responded with increased trust (91 percent) and loyalty (89 percent), as well as a stronger likelihood to buy from those companies that supported solutions to specific social issues (89 percent).”

And consider food. The new generation may have had health-consciousness drilled into them at home or in school. But they have raised it to a new level. “For millennials, food isn’t just food. It’s community,” The Washington Post reported last year in an article on the Silver Diner chain, which has developed an up-to-the-minute locavore menu and “started actively catering to those on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.”

It was a shrewd calculation. An estimated 12 percent of millennials say they are “faithful vegetarians,” compared with 4 percent of Gen X’ers and 1 percent of baby boomers, according to one study.

Taken together, these habits and tastes look less like narcissism than communalism. And its highest value isn’t self-promotion, but its opposite, empathy — an open-minded and -hearted connection to others.

Exhibit A may be LeBron James, the N.B.A. superstar who in July announced that he would be going back to rust-belt Cleveland after four glamorous years in Miami, becoming, at age 29, one of America’s wealthiest boomerang children.

“Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids,” James explained in a statement on SI.com exuding millennial earnestness. “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

Four years ago, he meant, when he seemed the picture of self-importance, proclaiming on a live ESPN spectacle that he would “take my talents to South Beach.”

 

Photo

The generation that gave us Occupy Wall Street has embraced its own modes of entrepreneurship, found across the broad spectrum of ‘creatives,’ from stylists to techies. Credit Bon Duke for The New York Times

 

But James didn’t develop his new vocabulary of civic obligation and social responsibility overnight. On the contrary, he was a model teammate in Miami, insistently deflecting praise to others. He also helped lead the campaign to hold the former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling accountable for racially charged blurtings when they became public last spring.

Tellingly, James reacted forcefully on Twitter. In common with other millennials, he has made social media, with its many opportunities for “oversharing” self-display, a means of communication that pushes outward, instead of turning inward.

And he is not alone. We all know about celebrity-stalking websites like Gawker and TMZ, and the harm they wantonly inflict. But the millennial Brandon Stanton, a 30-year-old former bond trader and self-taught camera portraitist, has created a counterexample in “Humans of New York,” his popular photo blog.

Combing streets and parks, Mr. Stanton takes pictures of ordinary people and interviews them about their lives. The resulting images and excerpts give dignity to what might otherwise be forgotten faces in the urban crowd. Published in book form, “Humans of New York” became a No. 1 best seller last fall.

A similar theme illuminates the writings of Leslie Jamison, a 31-year-old Yale graduate student who has emerged as an accomplished essayist in her acclaimed book “The Empathy Exams.” On the surface, Ms. Jamison’s confessional writings look like exhibitionism — including the title essay, which records her time as a “medical actor” enacting a script of symptoms for the benefit of medical students.

Yet she has been deluged with mail from grateful readers, who have poured forth their own, often harrowing experiences. “I found myself becoming an unwitting confessor to countless strangers,” Ms. Jamison wrote last month in The Guardian. “I started to feel like confession could be the opposite of solipsism.”

On book tour, Ms. Jamison clinched the bond. “Whenever someone asked me to sign her book, I would ask her to sign mine,” she wrote. “It was a way to create, for a moment, the kind of symmetry that felt impossible in the letters I received.”

Empathy was a theme sounded repeatedly by some of the millennials photographed for this article, and interviewed in an online slide show that accompanies it.

One said he hoped to succeed because “the better you’re doing, the more you can share with other people.” Another pointed out that while he was nursed on the traditional American dream — “this idea that if you worked hard and got good grades and did all the right stuff you would succeed” — he has developed a more pragmatic version of it suited to the economic realities of the 21st century.

“I know that as hard as I work — and I work very hard — I very well may fail. And it’s liberating to know that.” The key word is “liberating.” In the age of the start-up, of fortunes gained and lost overnight, of flawed ideas in need of continual debugging and re-tweaking, failure is the default outcome and also, at times, the ground zero of eventual triumph.

No wonder, then, that “millennials are the nation’s most dogged optimists,” as Pew reported in a new study this spring. “They believe their own best days are ahead.”

They, and we, can expect some less-than-best days, too. Cultural transformations are seldom cost-free. And they’re not always permanent. A new generation, as yet unnamed, is growing up in the world the millennials have made and may already be working on its own revision of the nation’s moral life.

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6 Keys to Fundraising Success With Millennials

October 29th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

There is no denying the fact that today’s workplace is increasingly diverse. Composed of professionals across multiple generations, including baby boomers, Generation Xers and millennials, a one-size marketing strategy is no longer a sufficient means to capture the attention of this diverse audience.

This, coinciding with the increasing number of millennials participating in the workforce, has created the evident need to eliminate this type of strategy to include this younger demographic. With this in mind, knowing how to effectively interact with the younger generation is imperative to successful fundraising efforts.

Here are six tips to help you fundraise with the millennial generation.

Know the audience
If you want to build lasting relationships and establish valuable connections, you must know your audience members. What are their interests? What are their pain points? What excites them?

To design a successful fundraising campaign, take the time to research and understand your audience’s demographics and what makes it tick. For example, the millennial generation comprises individuals born between 1978 and 1994. Millennials are extremely technologically savvy and believe in working smarter as opposed to working longer. They were nurtured by their parents and value their families, teamwork and praise. In total, they represent approximately 22 percent of the workforce today.

Now, take this information and build on it based on your specific millennial audience. Beyond this, ask yourself what tactics you can use to stimulate the interests and capture the attention of this young generation to raise awareness and build money for your nonprofit.

Go green
Millennials have a strong sense of social responsibility. They want to make a difference in the world, so fundraising and volunteerism appeal to their generation. Get them excited to donate by creating advocacy opportunities and allowing them to get involved and make an impact.

Be online
Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the Internet, and not surprisingly, they are engaged in online activities all the time. Use this fact to your advantage, and meet them where they want to be met.

Make sure to utilize mobile apps and online applications to run fundraising campaigns. For example, using the PayAnywhere app, your organization can accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and PayPal with an iPhone, iPad, Android or BlackBerry device. This makes donating convenient and easy.

Use multiple communication platforms to engage effectively
As a direct result of growing up with the Internet, millennials are constantly plugged in and use a variety of platforms to communicate — anytime and anyplace. Whether it’s via social media, a blog, a website, personal invitations or videos, millennials are accustomed to expecting creative, relevant content that is personalized to them. In fact, they have mastered the art of weeding through all of the junk.

Make sure when you execute your fundraising initiatives you do so through a variety of communication channels, including your website, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, remember that this generation loves interesting videos that can be watched online and on-demand. Consider delivering pertinent information about your fundraising campaign using videos that engage and appeal to millennials’ interests.

Host fundraising events
This generation highly values its personal time spent with peers. Be accommodating by creating fundraising events that encourage participants to invite their friends, making sure to reward those who do so. This simple tactic not only helps ensure your attendees are content, but it also organically inspires others to get involved.

Be everywhere

The younger generation is far and away the most difficult to reach. Millennials communicate using a variety of technological platforms. You need to make sure your message is available on multiple channels and can be easily found.

Beyond this, remember that since their daily lives revolve around communication, you need to make your message brief and to the point. For example, Twitter is often a great way to raise awareness about a specific fundraising effort, as it challenges you to reach out and communicate in 140 characters or less.

One of the many challenges that nonprofit organizations face is knowing how to communicate and connect with the younger generations. By simply taking the time to get to know your audiences, their interests and their preferences, you enhance the performance of your fundraising efforts. Use the six tips outlined above, stay true to your vision and always have fun!

By DJ Muller | Posted on August 07, 2014
Fundraising Success Magazine