COLLEGE STATION — Texas A&M University is one of only three public institutions included in a ranking of the nation’s top 20 colleges for “return on investment”—and the only one in Texas or the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
The ROI rankings were compiled by The Daily Beast and based on salary information provided by Payscale.com. The Daily Beast is a news reporting and opinion website affiliated with Newsweek magazine.
Texas A&M placed 19th and was shown to have average starting salaries of $51,900 for its graduates and an average of $94,300 for its graduates at the mid-point of their careers. The other two public institutions included on the list are the University of California at Berkeley, 8th, and the University of Virginia, 17th.
As is typically the case, the list is dominated by private institutions. Harvey Mudd College in California heads the list, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology – and with Ivy League schools well represented. Rice University, ranked 12th, is the only other Texas institution included on the list.
“To figure out which degrees hold the most earnings potential, The Daily Beast analyzed data on starting and mid-career salaries for schools across the country, according to Payscale.com, as well as the average cost of a degree for each school,” the publication’s editors explained in an on-line posting. “Each of the three factors was weighted equally to create the final ranking.
“However, only colleges with a six-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent were eligible to land on the list,” the editors added. “After all, an investment in college only pays off if you get a degree, and we wanted to highlight schools where the educational investment will reliably end in graduation.”
In addition to being prominently included in ROI rankings, Texas A&M fares well in other types of college ratings, including “best values” surveys that are based a combination of academic quality and affordability.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, in 2014 rankings appearing in its February issue, places Texas A&M 17th on such basis—the highest ranking for any public university in Texas. Likewise, It is the only public university in Texas to rank among the top 50 national universities in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category of the 2014 ratings by U.S. News & World Report – and it maintained its second-place ranking overall in that key assessment of national public institutions. Washington Monthly ranked Texas A&M second among all U.S. universities—public or private—in its latest rankings, which are based in large part on universities’ contributions to the public interest through endeavors such as service programs and research that drives economic growth.
Texas A&M also was listed as a “best buy” in the 2014 edition of the “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” a publication created by former New York Times higher education editor Edward B. Fiske.
In another recent listing by The Daily Beast, Texas A&M students were said to be the “happiest” in the nation, based on several key factors for which students around the country offered opinions about their schools.