8 College Degrees with the Best Returns on Investment

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Economics

With the average cost of a four-year college education at a private school approaching $122,000 a year, the selection of a college major has far more financial consequences than it once did. Considering the less-than-robust job prospects of today's economy, choosing a major can be one of the most critical decisions a college student can make. Even at $37,000 per year for a public university education, college students must consider the monetary values of their degrees in the current job market if they hope to generate reasonable returns on their own, or their parents') investment.

For purposes of determining a return on investment (ROI) for a college degree, factor in the number of years it would take to repay your college costs applying the median salary earned in a position for which you qualify. Salary.com, which compiles salary information across all job sectors, has calculated the ROI for all positions using a 30-year payback period.

 

College graduates with degrees in economics are in big demand by financial institutions and large corporations. The median salary for a corporate economist is $115,671 for an ROI of 55% on a private college degree or 182% on a public school degree. An investment operations manager can earn $142,921 for a 225% ROI on a private school degree.

 

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