Story Affordability

CSU Campuses Among Nation's Best for Return on Investment

Elizabeth Chapin



According to's 2017 Best Value Colleges report, 12 CSU campuses are among the top 100 public universities in the nation when it comes to return on investment for in-state tuition.

The campuses include Cal Maritime (4), San Luis Obispo (11), San Jose (21), Pomona (31), East Bay (53), Chico (60), San Francisco (82), Sacramento (83), San Diego (89), Long Beach (90), Fresno (96), and Northridge (97).

PayScale's rankings are based on the net income a graduate will earn 20 years after graduation after subtracting both what he or she would have earned as a high school graduate and the total cost of college attendance. Rankings also consider factors including financial aid and in-or out-of-state tuition.

When combining all public and private universities, Cal Maritime ranks ninth in the nation with a 20-year net ROI of $826,000 and a total four-year cost of $87,500. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo comes in at 29th with an ROI of $678,000 and total four-year cost of $98,300.

PayScale is an online compensation database that has released a college ROI report annually for the last several years. The rankings are generated using data collected from 1.3 million employees who have earned a bachelor's degree and currently work in the U.S.

Due to high-quality academic programs, affordable tuition, robust financial aid and low student loan debt, the value of a CSU education consistently ranks among the best in the nation. Fourteen campuses were recently named "Best Colleges for Your Money" by Money magazine and three were honored by Kiplinger's as "Best College Values."

More information about PayScale's 2017 College ROI Report is available at