The team of researchers determined that the highest-valued schools in the study were mainly nonprofit, private institutions–graduates from those schools left with lower average student debt and higher average earning potential 10 years after enrollment.
For-profit private schools tended to have higher student debt and a lower reward, and clustered around the $20,000 average potential earning mark.
Data also showed a correlation between higher SAT scores and lower average student debt. Higher test scores also correlated with higher average earning potential in the years following graduation.
The study ranks schools in various categories, including the top 20 national universities with the highest earnings and lowest median student debt (this list inclues ivy league schools and prestigious universities), the top 20 liberal arts colleges, the top 20 public universities, and the top 50 schools with the highest potential earnings.
It also includes the top 50 schools with the highest median student debt. Topping the list are the Southwest University of Visual Arts ($49,750), the International Academy of Design and Technology ($47,000), Sanford-Brown College, Chicago ($47,000), Boston Architectural College ($46,802), and Beulah Heights University ($44,499).
Schools in D.C. and Massachusetts had the highest average earning potential, while Idaho and Mississippi had the lowest–but D.C. schools also had the highest average student debt amount.
The top 10 states with schools offering the best value regarding average debt and earning potential are Wyoming, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois and Maryland.