Originally published June 28, 2013

AffordableCollegesOnline.org (ACO) has released its “Million Dollar ROI” rankings for 2013, a new list of private universities whose graduates out-earn non-degree holders by at least one million dollars during their careers. Institutions on the list make up the top one percent of U.S. colleges as measured by return on investment (ROI).

“Some of today’s most recognizable universities appear on the list, despite higher tuition rates,” says ACO founder Dan Schuessler. “While ACO is dedicated to promoting affordability, these colleges provide significant value to their students. Students pay to gain the skills necessary for long-term career success.”

Each school’s return on investment figure derives from a three-tiered calculation: estimated 30-year earnings of graduates minus both projected earnings without a degree and four years of tuition and fees. Key data sources and partners leveraged for the analysis include the following:

  • NCES, the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. It provides consistent, reliable, complete, and accurate indicators of education status and trends.
  • IPEDS, the primary federal source for data on colleges, universities, and technical and vocational postsecondary schools in the U.S.
  • Carnegie Classification, a framework widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty.
  • Payscale.com, the premier salary data collection organization.


AffordableCollegesOnline.org’s “Million Dollar Alumni Club” Rankings of Private Universities:

  1. Harvey Mudd College
  2. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
  3. Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. Stevens Institute of Technology
  6. Stanford University
  7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  8. Claremont McKenna College
  9. Harvard University
  10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  11. Santa Clara University
  12. Dartmouth College
  13. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  14. Williams College
  15. University of Notre Dame
  16. Princeton University
  17. Babson College
  18. Carnegie Mellon University
  19. Haverford College
  20. University of Pennsylvania
  21. Manhattan College
  22. Columbia University
  23. Duke University
  24. Lehigh University
  25. Swarthmore College
  26. Illinois Institute of Technology
  27. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  28. Lafayette College
  29. Brown University
  30. Cornell University
  31. Clarkson University
  32. Kettering University
  33. Bucknell University
  34. Johns Hopkins University
  35. Touro College
  36. Rice University
  37. Washington and Lee University
  38. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  39. Tufts University
  40. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  41. Hamilton College
  42. University of the Pacific
  43. Amherst College
  44. Colgate University
  45. Drexel University
  46. Villanova University


MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,500 students celebrating its 110th  anniversary. MSOE offers 20 bachelor’s degrees and nine master’s degrees in engineering, business, mathematics and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 94% placement rate; and the highest average starting and mid-career salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.