College return on investment

Do college costs have a convincing ROI (return on investment)?

Crunch these numbers:


Percentage of Northwestern students who receive financial aid.


Average amount of financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans and campus employment) awarded to a Northwestern freshman. Yes, the loans must be repaid, but Northwestern students who finance college with loans graduate with the same debt (approximately $28,000) as graduates from Iowa's public universities*. [*from Peterson's Project on Student Debt]


Difference between your average yearly income as a college graduate ($57,621*) and the average yearly income of someone who starts working after high school ($32,003*). Over a 40-year career, that's more than $1 million in lost income if you don't invest in a college education. [*from U.S. Census Bureau data]


The percentage of Northwestern graduates who finish college in 4 years or less. (In comparison, an average of 39%* of students at Iowa’s public universities graduate in 4 years or less. The rest take 5 or 6 years to complete their education, losing about $30,000 of income potential per extra year in addition to tuition costs.) [*from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System information]


You’ll get great career preparation at Northwestern. But life is more than making a living. You’ll learn to integrate your faith with your job as an economist, nurse or teacher. Of course, you want to be a smart, Christ-like spouse, parent and church or community leader too. And you can’t put a price on an education that will prepare you for that.

In addition to our top-10 U.S. News & World Report ranking, we’ve received national recognition for excellent academics, student volunteerism, affordability, conservation and other achievements. Learn more

Nov 15 - 16

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