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National studies still show that getting a degree leads to higher wages, but not all universities and colleges are doing their part. Every year, PayScale, a national wage analytics company, keeps schools honest by rating how well their students are doing by measuring their return on investment (ROI) 20 years after they graduated. We’ve compiled the worst ones, and you might want to skip applying to these institutes of higher education, unless you want lower wages.

The Baptist College of Florida – Graceville, Florida

Attendees of this college are probably not getting their money’s worth. For nearly $69,000 for four years of education, The Baptist College of Florida only has an average salary of around $44,000. To add insult to injury, only about half of their students even graduate.

The Baptist College of FloridaThe Baptist College of Florida
WTVY

That might not be so bad if they had thousands and thousands of students, but according to recent reports, they only have a little over 500 students enrolled. Luckily for most students, they are saving their precious money to spend elsewhere.

ROI: -$84,000

University of Valley Forge – Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

With a four-year tuition of around $129,000, it’s pretty depressing for students to have to shoulder that debt knowing that they have over half of that in a negative return on investment. Since the average salary is less than $44,000 annually, students would have to spend as many years working to pay off their student loans as they did actually learning!

University of Valley ForgeUniversity of Valley Forge
mychesco.com

Plus, if you happen to be a girl, you won’t see too many other ladies on campus either. With around a 35% female student body, there are fewer than 400 girls to get to know.

ROI: -$84,100

Ozark Christian College – Joplin, Missouri

Paying over $80,000 for four years of college doesn’t have to be a waste of money, but Ozark Christian College certainly is. With an early career salary of under $40,000 and only 10% of the student body being female, it might not be the place you want to spend four years of your formative adult life.

Despite what the numbers say, 89% of graduates believe that their job makes the world a better place. For eternal optimists or people who want to change the world, maybe the money is a small sacrifice to pay.

ROI: -$78,300

Alice Lloyd College – Pippa Passes, Kentucky

For just shy of $100,000, you can attend this college in Kentucky. Considering the enormous investment, you might be surprised to learn that only 28% of attendees manage to graduate. With a student body of around 600, it’s somewhat shocking to learn about such a high drop-out rate, especially given what these kids paid to attend.

Alice Lloyd CollegeAlice Lloyd College
alc.edu

While we’re sure there is plenty of positive praise for Alice Lloyd College, students on a budget should probably consider going somewhere that gives them more bang for their buck.

ROI: -$79,700

Keystone College – Factoryville, Pennsylvania

Attending Keystone College will cost you a whopping $152,000 for a full four years. You’d expect a pretty significant return on that kind of money spent anywhere else, right? Not here! With a $54,000 average salary, students are looking at an uphill battle when it comes to paying back those student loans.

Since its founding in the 1860s, this college has been good for accepting students, with an acceptance rate of around 80%, but the real question is: do you really want to go there?

ROI: -$63,300

Johnson Bible College – Knoxville, Tennessee

For nearly $90,000 and a four-year education, you can’t blame students for being frustrated with such a large negative return on investment. Similar to Ozark Christian College, however, 72% of graduates find that their employment helps give their life meaning. Finding a career that helps you aid the people of the world is admirable, but not everyone can spend quite so much money on it.

The three most popular careers for graduates are pastor, youth minister, and senior pastor, all of which point towards the heavy emphasis on religion in the school’s curricular.

ROI: -$122,600

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary – Ankeny, Iowa

After spending over $100,000 for four years of college, the average graduate from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary makes less than $18.00 per hour! Talk about a rip-off! The most common jobs for graduates are receptionist, office manager, and cafe manager.

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological SeminaryFaith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
faith.edu

If you hadn’t just spent a small fortune and four years of your life getting a degree, those are decent jobs – but imagine trying to pay back student loans with that kind of hourly rate.

ROI: -$84,300

Moore College of Art and Design – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Students are required to drop a jaw-dropping $216,000 for four years of education if they want to join the other 416 students attending the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. For the privilege of attending, however, you only stand to earn an average of $50,000 a year in your future career.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 30: A general view of the Moore College of Art and Design on December 30, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 30: A general view of the Moore College of Art and Design on December 30, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

If you want to be a graphic designer, there may be an expectation that you’ll be giving up a lucrative career in return for the freedom to create what inspires you. But we have to question if that creative freedom is worth the investment.

ROI: -$81,800

Texas College – Tyler, Texas

Although not as expensive as some of the options on this list, $84,000 for four years of learning is a hefty price to pay. With around 1,000 students, you might be looking for a school with a higher graduation rate than just 14%.

Texas College entrance signTexas College entrance sign
2C2K Photography via Wikimedia Commons

We’re not sure what they’re doing over there at Texas College, but it doesn’t seem to be helping the hundreds of students spending tens of thousands of dollars every year who just want to graduate and get a good job.

ROI: -$61,800

Green Mountain College – Poultney, Vermont

Unlike other entries, Green Mountain College has an overwhelmingly female student body, although the school is quite small with around 600 students. That’s a refreshing change of pace for many similar schools in the area, but this college has some drawbacks too.

Green Mountain CollegeGreen Mountain College
Meg Stewart via Wikimedia Commons

The average salary for graduates is around $50,000 which isn’t bad for starting out, but it’s not what every student dreams of when they invest $190,000 and four years of their lives.

ROI: -$69,400

University of Montevallo – Montevallo, South Carolina

Alabama’s only public liberal arts college has made it onto the list, and it’s easy to see why. With a 4-year tuition that costs $99,200 and an ROI of -$24,800, there’s no way this college is worth the price its 2,700+ undergrads are paying to attend.

University of Montevallo - Montevallo, South CarolinaUniversity of Montevallo - Montevallo, South Carolina
collegesofdistinction.com

But it seems like students might be a little less interested in getting paid and a little more interested in having some friendly intra-collegiate competition. At the beginning of their Montevallo career, undergrads sort themselves into either the Purple Side or the Gold Side (named after the school’s two colors). During homecoming week, the two sides compete in everything from ultimate frisbee to musical theater. Go team Purple!

ROI: -$24,800

Harris Stowe State University – Saint Louis, Missouri

The school with a view of the arch offers almost 50 degrees to its 1,800 undergrads. Despite being conveniently located within a stone’s throw of the lively Saint Louis lifestyle, it also provides plenty of activities on campus. Considering the low number of students, it almost feels like overkill to offer 30 activities and special interest clubs, 12 academic clubs and honor societies, and 12 Greek organizations.

Harris Stowe State University - Saint Louis, MissouriHarris Stowe State University - Saint Louis, Missouri
stlamerica.com

If watching the St. Louis Cardinals play ball isn’t exciting enough, students can catch the Harris-Stowe Hornets competing in NAIA sports. But they better hope tickets are cheap, because a 4-year tuition is a high $77,400.

ROI: -$51,200

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma – Chickasha, Oklahoma

USAO, as it is commonly called, is the only publicly-funded strictly liberal arts college in Oklahoma. Despite having only 800 students, the college manages to have a busy campus life. Events at the school include the Montmartre Chalk Art Festival, Droverstock music festival, and the annual Scholastic Meet. There’s also an active Greek life and quite a few NAIA intercollegiate sports teams.

University of Science and Arts of OklahomaUniversity of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
By Crimsonedge34 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

But maybe all of those activities are a bit distracting for students. The school’s graduation rate is a low 40%. And with a 4-year degree costing $65,000, that’s a lot of money to spend to not graduate!

ROI: -$55,600

University of South Carolina Aiken — Aiken, South Carolina

If you’re searching for a school to attend next year, and you see students playing with fidget spinners, then you might want to find another place for your higher education. It takes the average student five years to graduate from University of South Carolina Aiken, and it will cost about $130,000 to attend school there during that time.

University-of-South-Carolina-Aiken-ROI-return-on-investmentUniversity-of-South-Carolina-Aiken-ROI-return-on-investment
uscaiken via Instagram

After mounting student loans and a terrible starting salary, students can expect to get a negative return on investment of -$66,000 over the next 20 years. To use academic terms: “That sucks!” Well, at least the university, which focuses heavily on liberal arts degrees, has cupcakes.

ROI: -$66,000

Lees-McRae College – Banner Elk, North Carolina

This is one of the most expensive colleges on our list, with the cost of a four-year degree coming in at a ridiculously high $163,000. It’s also the highest in another way: Lees-McRae College is the American college/university with the highest elevation east of the Mississippi River.

Lees-McRae College - Banner Elk, North CarolinaLees-McRae College - Banner Elk, North Carolina
Lees-McRae College via Twitter

Although the school has been around for over 120 years, first as a high school and then as a junior college. It was only in 1990 that it became an accredited four-year college. Maybe that’s why they haven’t figured out their ROI yet? Because for all that tuition expense, students get a -$66,300 ROI.

ROI: -$66,300

Florida Memorial University – Miami Gardens, Florida

Who can resist going to school in the Sunshine State? Not the more than 1,500 students of Florida Memorial! But maybe all that sunshine is affecting their decision-making? Because how else would they think it’s a good idea to pay an exaggerated $109,000 for a degree that has a 20-year ROI of -$67,600?

Florida Memorial University - Miami Gardens, FloridaFlorida Memorial University - Miami Gardens, Florida
fmuniv.edu

On the plus side, they are close enough to the heart of Miami to enjoy those four years. The famous fun in the sun of South Beach and Ocean Drive are less than 30 minutes away.

ROI: -$67,600

Bethany College – Lindsborg, Kansas

We all know the most famous Kansas saying: “There’s no place like home!” And in this case it’s true. Bethany College’s students, known as the Terrible Swedes, would be better off staying home than paying an outsized $154,000 for a degree with an ROI of -$67,600.

Bethany College - Lindsborg, KansasBethany College - Lindsborg, Kansas
greenbillion.org

Maybe the high costs are due to the low number of students? With only around 750 students, it’s possible that they have to overcharge to stay profitable. But with these outrageous costs, if they were truly bent on going to school in Kansas, there are much better choices. Even the Wicked Witch of the West would agree.

ROI: -$67,600

Coker College – Hartsville, South Carolina

You might think that a college that’s over a hundred years old might have figured out how to provide a decent ROI, but in this case at least, you’d be wrong. Founded in 1908, Coker is a co-ed liberal arts college with 29 majors and 23 minors. And it’s a decent-sized school, with about 1,280 undergrads, roughly 40% of which will make it all the way through to graduation.

Coker College - Hartsville, South CarolinaCoker College - Hartsville, South Carolina
coker.edu

For years, Coker was the only accredited college between Columbia and Charleston. But maybe students are better off attending a non-accredited college? Because with a 4-year degree coming in at $147,000 and an ROI of -$69,800, Coker doesn’t seem like a very good choice.

ROI: -$69,800

Emmanuel College — Franklin Springs, Georgia

Believe it or not, that Saint Bernard was the Homecoming King of Emmanuel College in 2019. Hopefully you didn’t believe that, but if you did, perhaps you should enroll at Emmanuel College in Georgia, where a five-year internment will cost you over $27,000 a year.

Emmanuel-College-Franklin-Springs-Georgia-ROI-return-on-investmentEmmanuel-College-Franklin-Springs-Georgia-ROI-return-on-investment
emmanuelcollege via Instagram

Emmanuel College is a Christian school, and it seems that the Christian thing to do would be to provide their students with a means to make money after their time there! The school just celebrated its centennial, and we hope they used to do better than giving their students a -$70,600 return on investment.

ROI: -$70,600

University of Maine at Machias — Machias, Maine

Things that make you go, “Umm” … These two men are members of the basketball team at the University of Main at Machias, and umm, that’s the worst acronym for a school ever! Well, maybe second to St. Thomas University of Public International Diplomacy, which comes out as “STUPID.”

Instagram via @umainemachias

Acronyms aside, at least UMM boasts being located on the Bold Coast, which is a unique part of Maine full of life and beautiful scenery … that students pay $124,000 over five years to see. The university likes to connect students to the outdoors, probably because they’ll be spending much more time there with a return on their college investment of -$70,700.

ROI: -$70,700

University of Montana Western — Dillon, Montana

The University of Montana Western says that it offers an “experiential education,” and that’ll happen when a school is located right smack-dab in the middle of two of America’s best national parks: Yellowstone and Glacier. Yes, the scenery is beautiful at UMW.

The-University-of-Montana-Western-Dillon-ROI-return-on-investmentThe-University-of-Montana-Western-Dillon-ROI-return-on-investment
montana_western via Instagram

Though UMW boasts a 46% graduation rate (a high for this list), all that environmental focus just isn’t paying off these days. Even though you can get your education mostly outdoors, experiencing some of the country’s greatest treasures, the focus on the environment just doesn’t pay off in the job sector. That’s why graduates from UMW can expect to get a -$71,400 return on their investment.

ROI: -$71,400

Campbellsville University — Campbellsville, Kentucky

College is where people go to find themselves, and to their credit, Campbellsville University in Kentucky seems to want to help students “find their calling.” So if photo-bombing an Instagram post is what gets you going, don’t be surprised if some people point and laugh at you, especially because you’d be paying $143,000 to graduate.

Campbellsville-University-Kentucky-ROI-return-on-investmentCampbellsville-University-Kentucky-ROI-return-on-investment
campbellsvilleu via Instagram

It seems strange that CU would saddle their students with a ridiculous -$76,800 return on investment, especially since they’ve invested so many resources into their Technical Education Department. That seems like a good idea, until you realize that students can take these expensive courses, but cannot receive a degree in any technical field.

ROI: -$76,800

Saint Augustine’s University — Raleigh, North Carolina

When you only have 974 students enrolled in a school, the tendency is to jack up the price. That’s certainly the case for Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where students will pay over $32,000 a year if they decide to graduate. That tops the list, and if you haven’t noticed, that’s not good.

Saint-Augustine-University-worst-colleges-for-money-return-on-investment-roi-studentsSaint-Augustine-University-worst-colleges-for-money-return-on-investment-roi-students
saufalcons via Instagram

With this ridiculous price tag for an education comes the added terrible news that graduates will receive a -$77,700 return on investment. At least the students there look like they’re having a good time, but with debt like that, the good times are not made to last.

ROI: -$77,700

Concordia University – Ann Arbor, Michigan

In the early 2000s, this school’s financial, enrollment, and administrative difficulties resulted in its merger with Concordia University of Wisconsin. Did they try to overcome some of their money woes through elevated tuition prices? Possibly. The cost of a four-year degree is a whopping $156,000.

Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MichiganConcordia University - Ann Arbor, Michigan
blog.cuaa.edu

But is the school worth it? It’s hard to say yes, when the return on investment for this school is a surprising -$79,200.

Concordia University does offer a wide variety of degrees, with Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees on the table. But sadly, only 43% of students who enroll will ultimately graduate from Concordia.

ROI: -$79,200

Lane College – Jackson, Tennessee

It’s possible that the college’s namesake will last longer than the students. Lane College was named after the SS Lane Victory, one of the few surviving WWII victory warships (currently docked in CA). That’s way more lasting power than exhibited by undergrads – only 24% of them graduate from this college.

Lane College graduation ceremonyLane College graduation ceremony
UNCF.org

Maybe they’re more focused on athletics? The Lane Dragons compete in NCAA Division II in a wide variety of sports. If they did turn their focus to academics, they’d be pleasantly surprised by Lane’s courses. The school offers degrees in a wide variety of fields, including Business Administration, Philosophy, and Computer Science. All those courses won’t come cheap, though.

ROI: -$79,800

Stillman College — Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The joy of graduation is a wonderful feeling that these young ladies are no doubt enjoying. They have caps and gowns with a little extra panache. They also have smiles on their faces, and they should, because they are part of only 18% of students who graduate from Stillman College!

Stillman-College-Tuscaloosa-Alabama-ROI-return-on-investmentStillman-College-Tuscaloosa-Alabama-ROI-return-on-investment
stillmancollege via Instagram

This is the first college on our list to dip below $100,000 for the average cost to graduate, so props to Stillman there. However, with a heavy emphasis on liberal arts education, and the fact that it generally takes students five years to graduate, students are left with a -$80,400 return on investment.

ROI: -$80,400

Unity College — Unity, Maine

While Stillman only graduates about 1 in 5 students, at least Unity College in Maine manages to graduate about 1 out of 2. This young soccer player must not be one of them, as this action shot looks like he’s in a great deal of distress. That’s probably because he’s paying almost $38,000 a year to graduate.

Unity-College-Unity-Maine-ROI-return-on-investmentUnity-College-Unity-Maine-ROI-return-on-investment
unitycollege via Instagram

To put that in perspective, you could get a cheaper education in warm Southern California at the University of San Diego, but you’d have a $642,000 return on investment. At Unity, the ROI for graduating is -$82,100, which is a difference of over $32,000 a year for 20 years. Ouch!

ROI: -$82,100

Wilson College — Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Wilson College is what you would call an old school, because it just recently celebrated its 150th year of existence. Nice job, WC. The only problem is the school hasn’t exactly been kind to their graduates, who will spend $156,000 to graduate.

Wilson-College-Chambersburg-Pennsylvania-ROI-return-on-investmentWilson-College-Chambersburg-Pennsylvania-ROI-return-on-investment
wilsoncollegepa via Instagram

Wilson College made history in 2013 when it enrolled its first male student. That’s right, in the name of inclusion and diversity, the school took a step forward toward a more diverse campus. Now, male students can enjoy what female students have to endure, which is an -$86,700 return on investment. You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, but oh boy, it sure can!

ROI: -$86,700

Emory & Henry College — Emory, Virginia

Emory & Henry College is as old as they come, as it was founded over 180 years ago in 1836. It’s hard to imagine that it would last this long, given the fact that students who graduate are faced with a -$91,300 return on investment!

Emory-and-Henry-College-Emory-Virginia-ROI-return-on-investmentEmory-and-Henry-College-Emory-Virginia-ROI-return-on-investment
emoryhenry via Instagram

At least their graduation rate is over 50%, which means that Emory & Henry are raking in the dough. Couple that with the fact that this school is third on our list for highest tuition, coming it a whopping $179,000 to graduate, and the college is making big bucks. Emory & Henry’s mascot is a wasp, and if you attend there, you will feel its sting.

ROI: -$91,300

Brewton-Parker College — Mount Vernon, Georgia

Don’t let the excited ice cream scooper below fool you, Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia, is not exactly where you want to end up. Ice cream on Halloween is definitely something to be happy about, but a student population that makes up half the population of the town (that has less than 2,500 people) is not.

Brewton-Parker-College-Mount-Vernon-ROI-return-on-investmentBrewton-Parker-College-Mount-Vernon-ROI-return-on-investment
brewtonparker via Instagram

Students at Brewton-Parker College typically borrow less money to attend school there, but that’s probably because the cost of living is near the bottom in the country. As for those who graduate, they’ll be feeling the weight of whatever they did borrow, because they’ll be getting a -$92,200 return on their investment.

ROI: -$92,200

Shaw University — Raleigh, North Carolina

Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, is in a bit of a financial crisis as of December 2019, as it’s been recommended that they sell all nonessential real estate to avoid disaster. It seems like tuition prices are high enough that the university should be able to sustain itself, but then again, only 19% of students stay to graduate.

Shaw-University-Raleigh-North-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investmentShaw-University-Raleigh-North-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investment
shawuniversity via Instagram

For those who stay, the situation is not something to smile about. Students who attend Shaw University tend to borrow more money to complete their education, and will also enjoy a terrible return on their investment, with -$93,600 over their first 20 years post-college.

ROI: -$93,600

Paine College — Augusta, Georgia

Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the smallest schools on this list. Their 2018 admission numbers tell a part of the story: There were only 419 students enrolled. Their graduation numbers tell the rest of the story, as they only graduate 20% of their students, and they have only 6,000 graduates that are still alive.

Paine-College-Augusta-Georgia-ROI-return-on-investmentPaine-College-Augusta-Georgia-ROI-return-on-investment
painecollege via Instagram

That doesn’t bode well for a school that was founded almost 140 years ago in 1882. It’s also not a good sign for a graduating class that will see a -$94,700 return on their investment. If you go to Paine College, you’ll definitely be feeling the pain.

ROI: -$94,700

Rust College — Holly Springs, Mississippi

Rust College is the second-oldest private college in all of Mississippi, as it was established in 1866. The college has about 800 students currently enrolled, and to its credit, it does keep its tuition costs down, as graduates will spend less than $16,000 a year.

Rust-College-Holly-Springs-Mississippi-ROI-return-on-investmentRust-College-Holly-Springs-Mississippi-ROI-return-on-investment
its_jahh via Instagram

That’s hardly good news for the students at Rust College when you consider that you get exactly what you pay for. And in this case, what graduates pay for is a mountain of debt and a terrible return on investment. About 33% will graduate, but after that, they can expect an ROI of -$97,100.

ROI: -$97,100

Johnson University — Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee

They say that ignorance is bliss, and perhaps you’d be jumping for joy too if you weren’t thinking about the terrible financial situation you would be in if you attended Johnson University in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee. FYI, that’s basically in the middle of nowhere, as the population of the town is less than 1,400 as of 2010.

Johnson-University-Kimberlin-Heights-Tennessee-ROI-return-on-investmentJohnson-University-Kimberlin-Heights-Tennessee-ROI-return-on-investment
johnsonunivtn via Instagram

The latest census data on Kimberlin Heights is a little outdated, as is the case for statistics on their current admissions, which seem to be absent from the college’s website. As for graduates, they’re probably not jumping for joy after 20 years, when they realize they’ve received a -$97,900 return on investment.

ROI: -$97,900

Cazenovia College — Cazenovia, New York

Well, we’re not going to clown on these two students of Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, New York, as they are conducting a food drive. But perhaps the food drive is meant for the graduates of their school, who will pay a high for this list: $46,000 a year for tuition.

Cazenovia-College-New York-ROI-return-on-investmentCazenovia-College-New York-ROI-return-on-investment
cazenoviacollege via Instagram

There are under 1,000 students at Cazenovia College, and the school likes to brag about its ability to teach them one-on-one. With all that money students are shelling out, they probably have a one-to-one teacher-to-student population. Yet with all that attention, graduates can expect a -$98,600 return on investment.

ROI: -$98,600

St. Andrews University — Laurinburg, North Carolina

The girls netball team (think basketball, without a backboard), and the rest of the students at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, are gonna need to be picked up from time to time. They look happy now, but 20 years after they graduate, they’re gonna ask themselves why they’re still in debt, after paying over $40,000 a year to go to college.

St.-Andrew’s-University-Laurinburg-North-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investmentSt.-Andrew’s-University-Laurinburg-North-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investment
uniofstandrews via Instagram

St. Andrews University may have a lake and a pond on campus, but their students will be crying a river when they realize their return on investment is -$98,800. With all the money students are forking over, perhaps the school could afford a backboard so students can play actual basketball.

ROI: -$98,800

Benedict College — Columbia, South Carolina

Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, actually has a bustling student population. With nearly 2,500 students enrolled, they’re one of the bigger schools on this list. However, with a graduation rate of 22%, they graduate as many students, or even less, than other schools.

Benedict-College-Columbia-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investmentBenedict-College-Columbia-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investment
benedict_college via Instagram

That seems pretty irresponsible, and it’s exacerbated by the fact that Benedict College is the first on this list to crack a -$100,000 return on investment. Benedict used to be a school where teachers came to get educated, but their first lesson should be to stay away, unless you also want to be an average graduate who has a lot of debt.

ROI: -$105,600

Morris College — Sumter, South Carolina

Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina (right about where the first shots of the Civil War were fired), has an equally deplorable graduation rate as Benedict College, but at least they dress a little smarter at Morris (style points go to Benedict, though).

Morris-College-Sumter-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investmentMorris-College-Sumter-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investment
morriscoll1908 via Instagram

The motto “Intrare Libris, Dispartire Servire,” translates to, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.” Well, students may “enter to learn,” but when they depart, they won’t be serving the community, and won’t be enjoying the good life. Instead, they’ll be paying off mountains of debt after getting a -$106,800 return on investment. It seems like the ones who don’t graduate are the smart ones.

ROI: -$106,800

Montserrat College of Art — Beverly, Massachusetts

These geniuses of creativity attend the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, and the school is so small that this photo actually captures over 2% of the school’s entire student body! That’s right, only 400 students attend Montserrat, and that’s probably because of the financial peril all of them will face.

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montcollegeart via Instagram

Devoting one’s life to the arts is a wonderful endeavor, though more often than not it does not yield a lot of money. That’s why graduates get a -$107,400 return on investment. Another reason is the astronomical tuition, which costs over $42,000 a year. To be sure, that’s not a good picture.

ROI: -$107,400

Paul Smith’s College of Arts & Sciences – Paul Smiths, NY

Usually you’d be going to college in New York for the vibrant, big city life. But you definitely won’t find that here. Paul Smith’s College, located in the Adirondacks, is home to less than 1,000 undergrads. The school offers two- and four-year degrees to students, with a special emphasis on natural sciences, forestry, biology and other environmental sciences.

paulsmith.edu

Paul Smith’s biggest claim to fame might be the lumberjacking, though. Interested students can participate in timbersports year round, including events such as log birling, chopping, sawing, and ax-throwing. No wonder they charge $169,000 for four years of tuition – that’s a lot of logs!

ROI: -$114,300

Columbia International University — Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, should not be mistaken for the Ivy League school in New York by a similar name. Columbia University in the City of New York will net graduates a return on investment of over $650,000, which is way more than graduates from this school in the Palmetto State.

Columbia-International-University-Columbia-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investmentColumbia-International-University-Columbia-South-Carolina-ROI-return-on-investment
ciurams via Instagram

To its credit, Columbia has the highest graduation rate on this list, coming in at 74% (Columbia in New York has a 94% rate). However, students who are lucky enough to graduate won’t be jumping for joy when they realize that they’re getting a -$115,700 return on investment.

ROI: -$115,700

Martin Luther College — New Ulm, Minnesota

Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, is a haven for jocks and wannabe athletes. Not only are a third of the students playing varsity sports, but two-thirds of the campus is at least playing in an intramural league. Physical health is important, especially when one’s financial health is suffering.

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martinluthercollege via Instagram

These young ladies represent over 3% of the small graduating class. By 2039, we’re willing to bet that those smiles will be wiped from their faces when they realize their return on investment for college is -$123,200. At least they graduate 73% of their students, so they can all be saddled with debt.

ROI: -$123,200

Claflin University — Orangeburg, South Carolina

The best days of Claflin University are decidedly behind them, as they leave current graduates with a terrible return on investment these days; but once, they did something historic. In 1884, when they graduated two young women, Alice Jackson Moorer and Annie Thortne, they became the first university in the U.S. to graduate an African-American woman.

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claflin1869 via Instagram

That truly is a wonderful thing, but over 125 years later, things have gotten worse for Claflin. Instead of pioneering education, they now leave their graduating students with a -$133,900 return on investment. It begs the question, who’s laughing at who in this picture?

ROI: -$133,900

Wheelock College — Boston, Massachusetts

Wheelock College is doing some good in the world, as it is a haven for training future educators of America. However, it’s not doing so well for the students of their school. The woes of low teacher salaries are all too common, but Wheelock exacerbates the problem by having the most expensive tuition on this list: $201,000 for four years.

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buwheelock via Instagram

With all that money devoted to their education, you can bet that students will be riddled with debt come graduation. That not-so-handsome teacher’s salary isn’t going to help much either, leaving graduates in a bad position where they’ll get a -$140,700 return on their tuition investment.

ROI: -$140,700

Voorhees College — Denmark, South Carolina

The ladies of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority house at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, definitely have some hops, but after graduating they won’t even be able to get off the ground with all the debt they’ll be carrying. However, students give Voorhees high praise when giving reviews, and that’s certainly on display here.

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voorheescollege via Instagram

It costs about half as much to go to Voorhees College as it does to go to Wheelock College, but the returns are equally terrible. Voorhees only graduates about 26% of its students, and those poor folks will be faced with the fact that after college they got a -$153,400 return on investment.

ROI: -$153,400

Talladega College — Talladega, Alabama

Talladega College in Alabama has the dubious distinction of starting off our top five (perhaps “bottom” is more appropriate), but none of the schools on the list can hold a candle to the Tornado Marching Band. They compete nationally every year, and even played at the presidential inauguration in 2017.

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thetalladegacollege via Instagram

Talladega College actually has the lowest tuition on this list, coming in at $88,200 for four years of education and a degree. However, that degree won’t be worth much, as graduates are looking at a -$156,900 return on investment. Guess “Marching Band” doesn’t appear on a lot of job resumes.

ROI: -$156,900

Lindsey Wilson College — Columbia, Kentucky

“Nope, it’s not your diploma, silly. It’s a pizza!” At least there’s something to celebrate for students who graduate from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, as pizza always wins. But winning doesn’t come easy for graduates, who end up spending over $30,000 a year at the private college.

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lindseywilsoncollege via Instagram

Lindsey Wilson is known for their athletics and has produced numerous professional soccer players. But for those who aren’t excelling in professional sports, they can look forward to a life of debt, and a return on investment of -$160,800. At least they have free pizza; maybe that’s why students go there.

ROI: -$160,800

Maine College of Art — Portland, Maine

You probably haven’t heard of the Maine College of Art, or as it’s commonly known, “MECA.” The reason for that is almost 70% of the student population is from New England, and anyone from that area who’s pursuing a fine arts degree will try to make the pilgrimage to MECA.

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mecaart via Instgram

MECA has a very tiny population of artists, as they have less than 500 undergraduate students. It’s one of the most expensive colleges, coming in at $46,000 a year for tuition. They also rank near the top in leaving their students anchored down by debt, and in return on investment, which equates to a terrible -$163,600.

ROI: -$163,600

Miles College — Fairfield, Alabama

Miles College is widely known for its athletics, and its famous marching band — the Purple Marching Machine (PMM). The PMM is so pervasive on campus that they make up nearly 15% of the student population. And now here comes the bad part.

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milescollege via Instagram

Not only is Miles College second-highest on our list of PayScale’s worst schools for return on investment, with a -$164,600 ROI (yikes!), but they also have the worst graduation rate, at only 17%. OK, we should’ve said, “Here come the bad parts.” At least it’s one of the cheapest schools on the list, but c’mon, how are these students supposed to make a living?!

ROI: -$164,600

Mississippi Valley State University — Itta Bena, Mississippi

Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is widely known for its excellence on the football field (and for its fashion sense), and has some very famous alumni. The most famous of these alumni is Jerry Rice, the NFL’s all-time touchdown leader and Hall of Fame inductee. That’s about where the good news stops.

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mvsu1950 via Instagram

Rice may have gone on to top many of the NFL’s records lists, but MVSU tops a much more terrible list: PayScale’s worst college for return on investment. MVSU graduates will have to face a -$174,800 ROI for the next 20 years of their lives. At only $75,000 for four years of school, which is the lowest on this list, it’s either boom in the NFL or bust everywhere else for these graduates.

ROI: -$174,800