The names of acclaimed schools outside the Midwest are popular across America: Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, and more. For students who don't want to leave the Midwest to get an education, there are other options.
In an interview with WGN's Morning News team, the editor-in-chief of the "Princeton Review" Rob Franek listed the University of Dayton, University of Illinois, and Knox College as three great schools in the Midwest that will return a student's investment in their education.
In his book "Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck," Franek went into specifics on the University of Dayton's return of investment. There, he listed the University of Dayton’s Flyer First Destination Survey which found 97 percent of graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school or a service program within six months of graduation.
Franek writes that these 200 schools, "stand out not only for their outstanding academics but also for their affordability via comparatively low sticker prices and /or generous financial aid to students with need — or both."
The average yearly cost of an education at the University of Dayton according to College Factual is $41,000. Their students are expected to break even within 4.2 years of graduating.
This chart includes both starting and mid-career salaries for graduates from University of Dayton. Data for high school earnings comes from the 2012 U.S. Census.
College Factual found that an education at the University of Dayton, with an annualized return of 7.4 percent, will be worth $1,293,000 over 30 years.
By comparison, students at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Ill., with an average yearly cost of $39,000, will break even in about 3.5 years. Students here will surpass the salaries of a high school graduate in 17 years.
This chart includes both starting and mid-career salaries for graduates from University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign. Data for high school earnings comes from the 2012 U.S. Census
Over 30 years, with an annualized return of 8.1 percent, an education at the University of Illinois is worth $1,507,000.
Meanwhile, students at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., with an average yearly cost of $30,000 can break even in 3.7 years. In Forbes's 2016 Grateful Graduates Index, Knox is ranked among the top four schools in Illinois, along with the University of Chicago, Northwestern and Wheaton.
"When Forbes says Knox has ‘grateful graduates,' that's a perfect description for the outstanding support that Knox receives from alumni and friends worldwide," said Knox College President Teresa Amott.
Forbes lists Knox College as the number 51 school in the Midwest and writes, "immersive opportunities include term-long for-credit immersion experiences, including the StartUp Term, biology-focused Green Oaks Term and Clinical Psychology Term."