January 28, 2022 

Most of Top 20 for ROI of Bachelor’s Degrees are HSIs and Emerging HSIs

The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI, published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, concludes that, overall, public institutions that predominantly grant bachelor’s degrees give low-income students the greatest long-term return on investment (ROI). Conversely, private for-profit institutions, as a group, have the lowest ROI for low-income students, regardless of the predominant credential they offer.

The report highlights graduation rates and earnings of Pell Grant students after graduation. Impressively, the vast majority of the top 20 institutions with the highest ROI at the bachelor’s level are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs as follows:

Hispanic-Serving Institutions:

  • California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Illinois Chicago

Emerging HSIs:

  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Baruch College, CUNY

When the ratings are weighted to reflect graduation rates and long-term earnings, the top associate’s-level colleges for low-income students are mostly institutions that offer degrees in a narrow range of specialties. In this category, too, HSIs and emerging HSIs have a significant presence among the top 20 as listed below.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions:

  • Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
  • Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
  • De Anza College
  • Northern New Mexico College
  • Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

    Emerging HSIs:

  • Parker University
  • Fashion Institute of Technology


To view the full report and rankings, visit cew.georgetown.edu/lowincome.