Understanding ROI

When considering college choices, It’s easy to look at a college’s sticker price and think, “I could never afford that.” Or, you may find various return on investment (ROI) rankings — many of which are fatally flawed in the way they measure costs and returns.

1. Willamette offers generous financial assistance.

To assess cost meaningfully, you must consider institutional financial assistance, which is awarded when students are admitted.

We base financial assistance on each applicant’s need and merit, and 96% of students receive financial assistance from the university. For those who have demonstrated need — about two-thirds of our students — the average financial aid package is $33,652 annually. And the other one-third of our undergraduates are still eligible for merit-based aid — they receive $16,325 on average from Willamette.

2. Tuition is not the same as cost.

Actual price is only one part of the total cost. Another important consideration is time — how long will it take you to graduate? A higher four-year graduation rate means that it’s likely you’ll spend less time — and pay fewer years’ actual price — getting your degree.

About 71% of Willamette students graduate in four years — compared to 29.8% at Oregon’s public colleges. Add this to the above discussion of aid and you’ll understand why the average Willamette student debt after graduation mirrors the statewide average. More than a third of our students graduate with no debt.

3. Cost isn’t everything. Value matters.

As with any purchase you make, you want to consider value — what will you get for your money? Ask, “Does this college give me what I need?” and consider the quality of the education you’ll receive.

Willamette provides students with a more personalized and meaningful education through smaller classes, higher-quality teaching and mentoring, and opportunities to apply knowledge in real-world settings.

And if you want to view our value through the lens of job earnings, we compare favorably to other West Coast institutions — we’re among the top 25 liberal arts colleges for our graduates’ mid-career earnings.

Willamette University ROI

To help you evaluate the return on your investment in a Willamette University education, we’ve laid out three key points below and in a related infographic, “Value: Going Beyond the Sticker Price.”