The 7 best "bang for your buck" colleges

Feb. 28, 2018

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Choosing a college isn’t just about picking the best campus or most inspiring professors — it’s also an investment in your future.

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And considering the growing student debt crisis, you probably want to make that investment a smart one.

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LendEDU, a platform for student loan refinancing, calculated which colleges had the highest pay shortly after graduation and the lowest student loan debt.

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These seven schools are its picks for the safest investments, or the best “bang for your buck” schools.

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7. Harvard University

Harvard’s financial aid and prestigious reputation set grads up for success.

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The median pay within five years of graduation from Harvard was $69,200 and the average debt per graduate was $3,841.

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6. Paul Quinn College

This historically black college in Dallas caps student debt at $10,000 and requires students to work while in school in exchange for a grant.

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The median pay within five years of graduation from Paul Quinn was $41,400 and the average debt per graduate was $2,258.

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5. Webb Institute

The Webb Institute has just 98 students and one program — a double major in naval architecture and marine engineering — so it’s not for everyone.

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But it pays off. The median pay within five years of graduation was $70,800 and the average debt per graduate was $2,850.

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4. Newman University

Newman is a Catholic liberal arts school in Wichita, Kansas. It’s small, with just 2,535 undergrads.

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The median pay within five years of graduation from Newman was $46,500 and the average debt per graduate was $1,676.

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3. Yale University

This Ivy League school has extremely generous financial aid but a low acceptance rate — just 6% as of fall 2016.

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For Yale grads, the median pay within five years of graduation was $66,800 and the average debt per graduate was $1,908.

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2. Princeton University

Another Ivy League school, Princeton also offers generous financial aid, and 82% of seniors graduate debt-free.

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At Princeton, the median pay within five years of graduation was $69,800 and the average debt per graduate was $1,603.

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1. College of the Ozarks

Nicknamed “Hard Work U,” this Christian college has no tuition and requires all students to work on-campus jobs.

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And it works out: The median pay within five years of graduation was $38,300 and the average debt per graduate was just $374.

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