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Education ROI: Getting the Best Return on Your College Investment

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Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

We might not always think of a college education as a return on investment (ROI). But it is one of the biggest investments you make for your future. After all, you are putting in your money, time, hard work and dedication toward a goal.

But attending college requires a large financial investment up front. Depending on the institution you choose, your cost of attendance (COA) could be as high as six figures over four years of study. That does not include the amount of time and effort you put in to succeed.

Tips for Increasing Your Education ROI

Because you are investing so much in your education, you need to make sure you benefit as much as possible from that investment after graduation. Here are a few ways to potentially increase your education ROI:

1. Perform a cost-benefit analysis of every school you are interested in attending. Take a look at the available COA and Federal Student Aid (FSA) packages to get a clearer picture of the educational expenses you might incur.

Before making your final choice, look at the school’s gainful employment (GE) data. This information will give you an idea of the employment opportunities available after graduation and a rough estimate of your ROI.

2. Try not to judge a school solely by its COA. Look at the education and services that each school offers. Online universities can often offer you a comparable degree at a fraction of the cost of a public or state-run university.

Depending upon your educational goals and motivation, other schools might be a solid choice. These educational institutions may range from prestigious universities to technical schools.

3. Network with as many people at the school of your choice as you can. Joining a school-sponsored activity, such as the student newspaper, a sports team or a club, is a great way to meet people.

These people may serve as your advisors or even as your references for a job after graduation. Expanding your network as widely as possible in this way will give you a better chance of a high ROI.

The best investment you will ever make is the one you make in yourself. Getting an education is a great way to self-improve, make yourself more marketable and distinguish yourself from your peers as you apply for jobs.

Susan Hoffman is a Managing Editor at APU Edge, whose articles have appeared in multiple publications. Susan is known for her expertise in blogging, social media, SEO, and content analytics, and she is also a book reviewer for Military History magazine. She has a B.A. cum laude in English from James Madison University and an undergraduate certificate in electronic commerce from American Public University.

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