UC San Diego Computer Science Degree #3 for 20-Year Return on Investment

Apr 18, 2017

What's a computer science undergraduate education worth to computer science graduates of UC San Diego?  In the 20 years after graduation, UC San Diego alumni are averaging a return on their investment of more than a million dollars.

2017 PayScale report ranks CSE #3 for return on investment

According to a new study, that puts UC San Diego at #3 in the U.S. for net return on investment (ROI) on the cost of their four-year education (an average of $123,000 for in-state students at UC San Diego). Specifically, the ROI for in-state students averages $1,045,000 in the 20-year period after graduation. CSE trailed only UC Berkeley and the University of Washington as the top three schools in computer science.

That's one of the main conclusions in PayScale's just-released College ROI Report for 2017, which compares the average cost of education with the expected 20-year earnings for alumni from top universities across the nation..

At #1-ranked UC Berkeley, the cost of education was somewhat higher, and the net return on that investment was $1,133,000 over the 20-year period.

Basement lab in the CSE building: ensuring a strong return
on their investment in a CS college education

The main ranking assumes that computer science majors paid the full cost of attending college. Factoring in financial aid, UC San Diego in-state students do even better, with a net return of $1,113,000 in the 20-year period.-- putting UCSD at #2 in the nation, right behind UC Berkeley. 

The survey also ranked return on investment for students who pay the higher out-of-state tuition. Although the net return isn't as high as for in-state students, the ROI for out-of-state degrees 20 years after graduation is $951,000 -- still in the top ten for return on investment, at #8.

The PayScale report on "Best Value Colleges for Computer Science Majors" focused specifically on computer science for one good reason: computer science majors have the best 20-year net return on investment out of any degrees the company analyzed. The reason? The report credits the high earning potential that a computer science degree warrants in today's technology-driven world.

The report also noted that UC San Diego computer science majors have among the highest graduation rates in the country -- 86 percent, for both in-state and out-of-state students.

For more on the rankings and to compare return on investment at other CS programs, see the PayScale College ROI Report.