A degree from KU ranks 3rd in state for best 40-year return on investment, according to report

photo by: Associated Press

In this Oct. 24, 2019, file photo students walks in front of Fraser Hall on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

The University of Kansas ranks third among higher education institutions in Kansas for a 40-year return on investment, according to a report this week from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

The report, which took data from the federal government’s College Scorecard, ranks 4,500 colleges and universities.

Baker University, which has its main campus in Baldwin City, ranked first in Kansas for a 40-year return on investment, followed by Washburn Institute of Technology. Among the top 10 institutions for a 40-year return on investment in Kansas, three are technical colleges and one predominantly offers associate degrees.

Rankings were determined based on net present value (NPV), which is how much a sum of money in the future is valued today. “This metric includes costs, future earnings, and the length of time it would take to invest and earn a certain amount of money over a fixed horizon,” according to the Georgetown report. While the report considers the 40-year benchmark to be the most comprehensive in determining value, it also lists the NPV at 10, 20 and 30 years.

Compared with KU’s 10 peer institutions — which KU identified in its 2012 Bold Aspirations strategic plan — KU ranked eighth out of 11. These peer institutions all share KU’s status as members of the Association of American Universities, a designation KU esteems but one some faculty members and provost candidates fear KU could lose.

KU fared better among the Big 12 schools, coming in sixth out of the 10 schools.

Overall, the rankings show that bachelor’s degrees from private colleges have a greater 40-year return on investment than degrees from public colleges and that community colleges and certificate programs rank better on return on investment in the short term, such as in 10 years, but bachelor’s degrees outrun them in the long term.

Here are the top 10 institutions in Kansas for a 40-year return on investment, according to the report:

1. Baker University

2. Washburn Institute of Technology

3. University of Kansas

4. Kansas State University

5. Manhattan Area Technical College

6. Southwestern College

7. Newman University

8. North Central Kansas Technical College

9. Hesston College

10. Cleveland University-Kansas City

Here is how KU compares with its peer universities for a 40-year return on investment. The number in parentheses is the institution’s rank out of the 4,500 colleges in the report:

1. University of Virginia (119)

2. University of Florida (198)

3. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (223)

4. Michigan State University (289)

5. University at Buffalo (312)

6. University of Iowa (317)

7. University of Colorado Boulder (423)

8. University of Kansas (520)

9. Indiana University–Bloomington (521)

10. University of Missouri-Columbia (541)

11. University of Oregon (807)

Here is how KU compares with universities in the Big 12 for a 40-year return on investment. The number in parentheses is the institution’s rank out of the 4,500 colleges in the report:

1. University of Texas at Austin (163)

2. Texas Tech University (343)

3. Iowa State University (353)

4. University of Oklahoma (373)

5. Texas Christian University (450)

6. University of Kansas (520)

7. Baylor University (546)

8. Oklahoma State University (607)

9. West Virginia University (656)

10. Kansas State University (756)


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