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Insights on education news and trends worldwide

Upasana Gupta - April 0

2014's Top 10 ROI Colleges

Computer Science Major Has Highest Earning Potential

Payscale.com has recently published it's annual 2014 ranking of 1,310 colleges based on what students' pay to attend college versus what they get back in net earnings in 20 years as a college graduate.

(View our listings for graduate and undergraduate IT colleges.)

The 10 schools with the highest-earning graduates over the next 20 years on Payscaleís list include: Harvey Mudd College, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT), Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. The list has altered quite significantly as compared to 2012. Back then, there were more Ivy League universities like Harvard and Princeton dominating the top ten list.

Rank School Name 2013 Cost 20 Year Net ROI Annual ROI Grad Rate
1. Harvey Mudd College $229,500 $980,900 8.8% 88%
2. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) $220,400 $837,600 8.3% 92%
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) $223,400 $831,100 8.2% 93%
4. Stanford University $236,300 $789,500 7.8% 95%
5. Colorado School of Mines (In-State) $114,200 $783,400 11.0% 67%
6. Georgia Institute of Technology (In-State) $92,250 $755,600 11.9% 79%
7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) $217,400 $736,200 7.8% 76%
8. Polytechnic Institute of New York University $223,900 $724,500 7.7% 62%
9. Stevens Institute of Technology $250,900 $722,400 7.2% 78%
10. Colorado School of Mines (Out-Of-State) $178,500 $719,000 8.6% 67%

The three majors with the highest return-on-investment (ROI) in America are Computer Science, Computer Science, and Computer Science. The top three universities with the best ROI offering computer science programs include: Stanford University, University of California (Berkeley) and Columbia University.

(View our list of over 500 college majors).

From my understanding speaking with students' majoring in computer science, the growth of social networking and mobile applications has cultivated an interest among younger people who aspire to build social platforms like Facebook or mobile apps such as Instagram, which can impact the way people communicate with one another. Another factor motivating students' to take up computer science is the availability of employment opportunities and job security within the technology field.

The flourishing job market is what first attracted Abdul Basit to a degree in computer science at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "There are so many employers coming in, the career department is great, and the faculty have a lot of connections," he says.

According to a 2013 report by the Computing Research Association (CRA), which tracks enrollments and graduation rates for computer science students, enrollments throughout the country have increased in computer science programs. The report highlights a 22 percent increase in bachelorís enrollment during 2012-13 as compared with 2011-12 in the U.S.

"Computer science majors are really good options to make money, those degrees will always be in demand and will command higher salaries, because of tight competition for top technology talent within employers," says Scot Melland, Dice's chairman, president and CEO. Dice is a dedicated career site for technology professionals.

According to the 2013-2012 Salary Survey from Dice, average annual wages for tech employees hiked to $85,619 in 2013, up from $81,327 in 2011.

Technological advancements in smart phones, mobile applications and transition to cloud environments has pushed the demand for IT practitioners who can effectively build applications, secure data and analyze new threats and vulnerabilities . Entry-level tech employees with two or less years experience saw their salaries increase by 8 percent to $46,315 in 2013, while IT professionals with at least 15 years' experience earned a six-figure salary of $103,012 in 2013 as compared to 2011 based on the survey results.

So for students who enjoy working with computer software and hardware this is the time to consider majoring in computer science, a field offering excellent job prospects and salary hikes. Information technology professionals are responsible for designing, developing, supporting and managing computer hardware, computer software, and information networks, including the Internet.

(Explore careers by selecting videos for over 600 career paths.)

The reality is that degrees in computer science and engineering can easily translate into jobs that will necessarily stay and offer lucratrive salaries. A bachelor’s degree is important for students' to get placed in decent careers, but the money one makes after college is directly tied to the major one takes.