State of Arizona ranks No. 7 in nation for college degree return on investment

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A new analysis by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity ranks the state of Arizona No. 7 in the nation in terms of college degree return on investment, or ROI. The analysis, which looks at public higher education institutions in all 50 states, compares tuition and several other financial factors to the relative increase in lifetime income that graduates can earn from their degrees, defined as "the amount a student can expect to gain financially from each individual degree."

Graduates from an Arizona public college or university can expect a typical lifetime return of $164,136 on their degrees, compared to the national median of $118,182.

The report calculates the median ROI of undergraduate degree and certificate programs at public institutions in each state, including both four-year universities and community colleges.

ROI compares the main financial benefit of college – the increase in lifetime income attributable to the degree – to the costs, including tuition and foregone earnings. The analysis defines ROI as the amount by which a degree or certificate is expected to increase the typical student's lifetime earnings, minus the cost of in-state tuition and time spent out of the labor force.

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median annual wage for full-time workers ages 22 to 27 is $22,000 higher for those with a bachelor's degree compared to those with a high school diploma.