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Mass. colleges rate well on pay of grads

Massachusetts colleges and universities offer a good return on investment, according to a new report from PayScale Inc., a Seattle data firm.

Seven Massachusetts colleges ranked in the top 50 nationally, and Babson College in Wellesley finished at number one for business schools nationwide, and 25th overall.

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PayScale ranked more than 1,500 undergraduate programs based on how much graduates are projected to earn over a 30-year period, after subtracting the cost of the degrees.

The report took into account such expenses as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and wages students might earn if they enter the workforce immediately after high school instead of going to college. The calculations did not include financial aid.

“Massachusetts and California have excellent representation at the top of list because there are so many well-regarded, high-performing schools in the area,” said Katie Barbaro, PayScale’s lead economist.

The Bay State school highest on the list was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at fourth in the nation, while Harvard University came in at 14, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy tied at 15, Williams College was 21, Babson College was 25, and UMass Lowell ranked 50th.

“There are numerous benefits to attending a particular college, but here we’re primarily talking about the financial benefit,” Barbaro said. “A lot of benefits such as extracurriculars or fun aspects are temporary. Post-graduate earnings are for a lifetime.”

‘There are numerous benefits to attending a particular college, but . . . post-graduate earnings are for a lifetime.’

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Barbaro said that as tuition and student debt continue to rise nationwide, the potential financial return on a college education should be an increasingly important factor in a student’s decision.

PayScale’s highest-ranked schools all focus on engineering. They include Harvey Mudd College, California Institute of Technology, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and SUNY-Maritime College.

Alyssa Edes can be reached at alyssa.edes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alyssaedes.
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