The Princeton Review's 2016 Colleges That Pay You Back: Book & Rankings Now Out: Annual Project Names Colleges Best For Academics, Affordability, and Career Prospects

CalTech, Harvey Mudd, and Vassar Take Top Spots On Guide's Ranking Lists

NEW YORK, February 2, 2016 — The Princeton Review today released the 2016 edition of its annual guide to colleges that the education services company considers the nation's best for academics, affordability/financial aid, and for getting their graduates out the door to satisfying and rewarding careers.    

Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck – 2016 Edition  (Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books, $21.99, February 2) addresses two of the most pressing concerns of college applicants and their parents: paying for college and finding a job that pays back on that investment. 

The Princeton Review selected these schools based on a comprehensive analysis of more than 650 colleges that weighted 40+ data points to tally ROI (return on investment) ratings for the schools. Data analyzed covered academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt and more. The company collected that data from its 2014-15 surveys of administrators and students at the schools.  It also factored in data from PayScale collected through April 2015 on starting and mid-career salaries of alumni of the schools. 

"On so many fronts that matter to parents and students alike, these colleges are truly standouts," said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher and lead author, Colleges That Pay You Back . "They offer outstanding academics and generous financial aid to students with need and/or charge a relatively low cost of attendance. Some, phenomenally, do both. Their students also have access to extraordinary career services programs and a lifetime of alumni connections and post-grad support."

Colleges That Pay You Back has detailed school profiles, plus seven ranking lists: one titled "Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back" (based on Princeton Review's ROI ratings), and six "Top 25" lists.  The full lists, profiles, and information on the project methodology are accessible at Colleges That Pay You Back.

On the "Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back" list, the top five colleges are:

  1. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) 
  2. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)    
  3. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (New York, NY)    
  4. Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA)    
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) 

On the six additional lists (each naming 25 colleges), the categories and #1 schools are:

  •  "Best Career Placement"– Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA)    
  •  "Best Financial Aid" – Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY) 
  •  "Best Schools for Internships" – George Washington University (Washington, DC)    
  •  "Best Alumni Network" – Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)    
  •  "Best Schools for Making an Impact" – University of North Carolina at Asheville (Asheville, NC)    
  •  "Top Colleges That Pay You Back For Students With No Demonstrated Need – California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)    

The Colleges That Pay You Back project is an expansion of The Princeton Review's annual Best Value Colleges book and list first published in 2004. The company expanded it in response to findings of its 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey that polled 12,000 college applicants and parents. Franek noted, "While 100% of our respondents viewed college as 'worth it,' worries about college costs and job prospects ran deep. Ninety percent reported financial aid would be 'very necessary' to pay for college, and 40% said their college choice would be the school 'best for my (my child's) career interests.'"

Among the 200 colleges (publics and privates) profiled in the book, the:     

  • average cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) for in-state students receiving need-based aid is $11,900.
  • median starting salary of graduates is $50,488 and median mid-career salary is $93,775.    

At the 66 public colleges profiled, the:

  •  average cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) is $12,306 for in-state students receiving need-based aid       
  •  average admission rate is 52.3%.    

Colleges That Pay You Back also has a list of "Great Schools for the Highest Paying Majors" and profiles of nine tuition-free schools. It is one of 150 Princeton Review books published by Penguin Random House in a line that includes The Best 380 Colleges, known for its 62 categories of college rankings, and Paying For College Without Going Broke. 

The Princeton Review has infographics on this project at Colleges That Pay You Back. They show College Board 2015 statistics on college costs and financial aid and Princeton Review information about some top schools on the book's "Best Financial Aid" and "Colleges That Pay You Back" ranking lists.


About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in Natick, MA and is an operating business of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH).  For more information, visit  The Princeton Review. Follow the compnay on Twitter  @ThePrincetonRev.

About Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books

Penguin Random House LLC is the world's largest English-language general trade book publisher. Its 250 imprints publish more than 70,000 digital and 15,000 print books annually, with more than 100,000 eBooks available worldwide. Among them are best-selling and award-winning fiction, non-fiction and children's books. Random House has been the exclusive trade book publisher of Princeton Review Books since 1986 when the line debuted with "Cracking the System: The SAT" -- the only test-prep guide ever to become a New York Times best seller. The Princeton Review Books line is part of the company's Random House Children's Books division and numbers more than 150 titles. It includes guides to dozens of standardized tests, colleges and graduate schools, and study aid books for pre-teens to post-grads. Follow Penguin Random House on Facebook and Twitter @penguinrandom.


Penguin Random House / The Princeton Review



Note to Editors:

Reporter resources are available. Two complete lists of the colleges in the book are accessible here. One is alphabetical by state/city/school name and one is alphabetical by school name. Each list indicates ranking lists (if any) the schools are on in the book, and their ranks on the lists.