By Liem Ho
A recent study (link) conducted by financial data and technology company, SmartAsset, assessed and ranked ten colleges for having the best value in the state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Institute of Technology ranked number four on SmartAsset’s list, trumping competitors such as Rutgers University- New Brunswick, Monmouth University and Montclair State University.
The top ten colleges with the highest College Education Affordability Index were classified. This index was determined by weighing a student’s initial financial investment versus the return on said investment. Factors such as tuition, student living costs—be it transportation for commuters, or room and board for residents— and the average amount of scholarships, loans and grants offered to students were measured to calculate a student’s true cost of education at an academic institution.
In order to determine return on investment, SmartAsset compared student retention rate, the percent of students that returned at the institution the following year, to a graduated student’s average starting salary.
Princeton University, ranking at number one on the list, has an index score of 86.69. This high score may attribute to its student retention rate at 98%. The living costs of the average student are $17,270, similar to that at NJIT. Tuition for a semester is $39,537 and students receive an average quantity of $37,160 in scholarships, grants and loans per semester, totaling in a net payment of $2,377, which is approximately $800 less than what the average NJIT student pays “out of pocket” per semester. Princeton University graduates also have a starting salary of $56,100, which is approximately $2,000 more than NJIT.
Despite NJIT being a university which enrolls primarily commuter students, many students live on campus, and higher student living costs may be due to its proximity to many cities such as Jersey City, Hoboken and New York City. Additionally, SmartAsset did not consider the ratio of loans students withdraw—because Princeton has a higher tuition cost, students may be more likely to withdraw higher loans which will take a longer time to pay off.
With recently published rankings and NJIT having a better affordability index compared to other well-known New Jersey colleges, it is apparent that NJIT is an up and coming school and will continue to climb the ranks for having the best educational value for students.