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Colleges are like buying real estate property, some will pay out more than others over time.

The average student loan borrower graduates more than $32,000 in the red, according to the Federal Reserve. So, it’s common to question whether college is worth the cost now.

Compensation research site PayScale compared its own data to research from the National Center for Education Statistics to find the best and worst return on investment from colleges. Its findings are based on the following five factors to judge whether the pay will be worth the debt in the long-run:

  • 20-year return on investment
  • Student loan debt after graduating
  • The time it takes to graduate
  • Likelihood of graduating
  • The cost of attending

For one thing, the top five colleges — the only ones with a return higher than a million dollars — are in the North (three of them are in New York alone). And while all but one of the colleges at the bottom of the barrel — when it comes to value — are in the South.

Click or swipe through to see what colleges will give you the most bang for the buck…

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Meet the Author

Gideon Grudo

Gideon Grudo

Writer for

Grudo is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Previously he was the digital editor of Air Force Magazine and the managing editor of South Florida Gay News.

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