Want to Evaluate the ROI of Your College Degree?

3 min read
July 16, 2014

roi on your degree

If you're wondering how your major of choice might pay off for you, you're not alone.

With the cost of college higher than ever and a collective student loan debt burden to match, younger members of Gen Y who are considering degrees are thinking about the return on their investment of time and tuition money.

But it's difficult to know exactly how the future will play out, and doing the research on multiple degrees or areas of study you're interested in can be confusing. Thankfully, there are some neat resources to serve as great starting points for students.

If you want to evaluate the potential ROI of your degree, check out Discover's Comparison of College Degrees interactive tool.

Consider the Potential ROI of Your Degree Before Investing Heavily in Coursework

This with resource, anyone can quickly compare college degrees they'd need to break into the career they hope to have. Information provided by this comparison includes average salary, industry and more.

So for someone interested in learning more about a degree in finance, they'd pull up the tool and start by getting into the Business category. Then they could click on Finance, where they'd learn things like:

  • The average salary of someone with a Finance degree is $65,000
  • 64% of people who hold this degree are male; 36% are female
  • 94% of college grads with a Finance degree end up with a full-time position

Using tools like this one can help students have a game plan before heading to college and racking up loads of student debt. It's important to have an understanding of what you'd like to do, so you can determine whether the time and money required to earn a specific degree provides a sensible return (in the form of job prospects and salaries).

Additional Financial Tips for College Students

Along with choosing a career path before investing heavily in university education, college students can help themselves out financially by being aware of what their money is doing -- and not sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to financial issues.

Sophia Bera, XYPN financial advisor and founder of Gen Y Planning suggests that those headed off to college get in the habit of tracking spending. New college students should also establish a budget to keep discretionary spending under control.

There's nothing wrong with eating out or doing some shopping, but students should be careful to keep spending at reasonable levels -- and avoid spending more than they actually have. Remember, student loans should pay for your tuition and fees, not gas in your car or nights out with friends.

And if students can avoid loans altogether, that's even better.

Erin Lowry, personal finance blogger at Broke Millennial, suggests going beyond evaluating the potential ROI on your degree. "Evaluate the ROI on your specific school and program before just going for the name brand," she advises.

Doing so may help you choose a smaller school that offers just as much value but at a much lower cost than bigger, well-known universities. Those off to college should focus on choosing a program, not a school in general. You'll still graduate with a degree that can help launch you into a career, but you'll have a much easier time dealing with the smaller expenses.

How are you planning to save on your college education? If you already graduated, how did you evaluate the ROI of your degree?