A degree from Northern Illinois University provides one of the best returns on investment offered by any college or university in the state, according to rankings released Monday by Affordable Colleges Online.
According to the authors, the rankings strive to identify those colleges and universities that offer the greatest lifetime return on investment. Graduates from ranked schools enjoy the largest earnings gap between non-degree holders over 30 years and earn more on average than graduates from other Illinois schools.
The authors analyzed 315 institutions across Illinois and ultimately ranked 39 of them.
Based on the criteria, NIU offered the third-best return on investment among all public universities in the state, and ranked 10th overall when private institutions were included. According to the authors, the average graduate from Northern Illinois University will earn about $600,000 more over the course of his or her career than an individual without a degree.
“We are pleased to be recognized on this list for the value that we provide,” said NIU President Doug Baker. “Ensuring that our students receive an excellent, affordable education – one that prepares them for career success – is at the heart of our mission, and this ranking tells us that we are on the right track.”
Baker, who took over as president of the university July 1, has said repeatedly that student career success will be the keystone of university improvement efforts going forward. In the weeks and months ahead, he plans to direct a process of analysis and adjustment to further enhance that work.
“We will be examining all of our programs to ensure that our students are not only getting the best technical skills we can impart to them, but also are developing the critical thinking and problem solving skills that will help them become leaders in business, in industry and in their communities,” Baker said.
“Ultimately,” he added, “our goal is to not only increase the return on investment our students reap in terms of dollars and cents, but also to make them better leaders and citizens.”
As part of those efforts, Baker is hoping to increase opportunities at NIU for hands-on learning, expand opportunities for alumni mentoring and encourage greater service to communities across the region.
San Francisco-based AffordableCollegesOnline.org provides information on college affordability and financial aid information.
The rankings were compiled using information from:
- NCES, the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. It provides consistent, reliable, complete and accurate indicators of education status and trends.
- IPEDS, the primary federal source for data on colleges, universities, and technical and vocational post-secondary schools in the United States.
- Carnegie Classification, a framework widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, student or faculty.
- Payscale.com, a salary data collection organization.