MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The cost of college tuition these days has a lot of students wondering if it’s even worth it to go.

A website called Affordable Colleges Online recently ranked the best Minnesota schools for getting a return on your investment.

And according to the website, the pain of paying for college is actually paying off. They analyzed data from 145 Minnesota colleges to find out which schools offer students the best lifetime return.

That return is how much more a college graduate makes in 30 years, versus someone with a high school diploma. And that’s after subtracting college expenses.

St. John’s University came in at number one. Students pay more than $35,000-a-year in tuition, but their lifetime return is $860,000 more than what someone with a high school diploma earns. The University of Minnesota was second. Students at the U pay a third of St. John’s yearly tuition, and will earn $825,000 more than a high school graduate.

St. John’s rival, the University of St. Thomas, came in fourth. But graduates at the University of St. Thomas can still expect to earn $750,000 more than someone with just a high school diploma.

The website ranked 22 schools. Gustavus Adolphus was 22nd, but the return on investment there is still very good.

The “Return on Investment” formula that Affordable Colleges Online put together is based on everything from tuition, books and fees to discount rates and time period adjustments.

Two things became clear while looking at this, and they seem pretty obvious: Colleges on the list rank higher when their graduates earn bigger salaries, or when their college tuition costs less than other schools.


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