The Biggest Bang for the Smallest Buck

The Biggest Bang for the Smallest Buck

Anne VanderMey

Big name schools like Wharton might churn out high-paid grads, but the business programs with the biggest bang for the buck are usually those with the lowest price tag.

To determine which undergraduate business programs give students the biggest return on their tuition dollar, we compared annual tuition costs at each school with median starting salaries for graduates. Overall, public universities with their lower tuition did far better than elite private schools, averaging $5.98 in pay for every tuition dollar spent, compared to $1.87 for the privates. Brigham Young—with tuition costs that are a sliver of what most elite schools charge—topped the list of privates, generating more than $12 in salary for every dollar spent. North Carolina, which has the lowest costs of all public schools, topped the list of publics, with nearly $10 in salary for every tuition dollar spent.

Note: Tuition fees for state institutions are in-state only. Tuition fees shown for Brigham Young are for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints only; all others are charged more. Cornell is listed among the private schools because the university is private, even though the business program is in a state-assisted portion of the school.

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Business of Higher Education