Cal Poly Shines in Latest Return-on-Investment Report

For Immediate Release
April 20, 2017

Contact: Matt Lazier

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A Cal Poly education pays dividends for decades, according to the latest ranking of return on investment among the nation’s top colleges and universities.

Cal Poly ties for No. 29 for all institutions nationally in the 2017 rankings, up from No. 32 a year ago, with California residents netting 20-year return on investment of nearly $680,000, according to the online salary, benefits and compensation information company.

Cal Poly in-state students rank No. 3 among state public institutions, behind CSU Maritime Academy and UC Berkeley; No. 6 among all California colleges and universities; and No. 17 among the nation’s public institutions.

The PayScale list includes the weighted total cost for a graduate based on in-state tuition rates along with the 20-year net return on investment. The list also includes ROI for students from out of state.

For Cal Poly, the total cost for in-state residents is $98,300, and return on investment is $678,000. For out-of-state students, cost is $143,000 versus an ROI of $633,000 (ranking third for public universities in the state, ninth overall in California, and 43rd overall nationally).

“A Cal Poly education is, quite simply, a good investment for students,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We see the evidence over and over that our Learn by Doing approach creates professionals who are prepared to succeed and lead in their careers.”

Cal Poly also rated well in various majors and career paths. Among computer science majors, the university was rated ninth (in state) and 14th (out of state) for its return on investment. These graduates can expect more than $900,000 over 20 years. For business majors, the university tied for 11th among all institutions with a $783,000 ROI for California residents (21st for non-state residents, with $692,000 ROI).

Meanwhile, graduates in art careers ranked seventh (in state) and 10th (out of state), with 20-year ROIs of $485,000 and $440,000, respectively.

Cal Poly ranked 17th (in state) and 24th (out of state) on the site’s list of best value public colleges for 2017.

More online 
For more information on the PayScale annual rankings and to see the list, visit

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