Study Shows Catholic Colleges Provide Unmatched Return on Investment

Catholic institutions offer students a higher ROI than other private and liberal arts colleges just 10 years after degree completion.

Top of Chapel of De La Salle and His BrothersA Georgetown University study has shown that Catholic colleges and universities provide a strong return on investment (ROI) and an unparalleled value.

Analysis by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) of data published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that students who graduate from Catholic institutions earn a higher ROI than their peers in nearly any other sector, particularly over the long term. 

ACCU examined the CEW data for 190 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and found that Catholic institutions offer students a higher ROI than other private and liberal arts colleges, outpacing them by at least $15,000 just 10 years after degree completion. 

Then, just five years later, Catholic colleges begin to increase their lead in ROI over all other types of institutions, including public colleges and universities. The Catholic edge becomes pronounced in the long term (40 years after degree completion), showing the highest median ROI among all types of higher education institutions — 16 percent higher than private nonprofits and 27 percent higher than public institutions. 

“The data shows that enrolling in a Catholic college is a good investment, particularly over time,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of CEW. “It’s important for students and their families to take advantage of data on costs and earnings by institution to make more informed financial decisions about where to attend college.”

Manhattan College is one Catholic college shown to deliver a high ROI. Less than a year after graduating, on average 90% of alumni report that they are employed or in graduate school. Manhattan also lands high on lists of college value by MONEY, Forbes and Payscale, pointing out that factors like teaching quality, student ambition and alumni networks contribute to its rankings. 

“I firmly believe I would not be where I am today, without having had the benefit of going to Manhattan College,” noted Stephen J. Squeri ’81 ’85 (MBA), chairman of the American Express Company. “It gave hope to a kid from Queens that anything was possible with hard work, dedication and accountability.” 

By Pete McHugh