RANKED: The 50 most underrated colleges in America – Finance

  • Choosing the right college isn’t all about prestige and name recognition.
  • Business Insider compiled a list of the top 50 underrated colleges nationwide.
  • We considered reputation and earnings to determine the ranking, using data from US News & World Report and the US Department of Education.
  • The Missouri University of Science & Technology took the No. 1 spot.

Whether a student is more inclined to learn about artificial intelligence or take up photography, several factors play a role in choosing the right college.

Business Insider has complied a ranking of the top 50 underrated colleges nationwide by considering two factors: reputation and future earnings. We figured that schools with mediocre or obscure reputations but whose students made high salaries would be underrated.

To determine our ranking, we combined the mutually exclusive sets of Best Universities and Best Liberal Arts Colleges from The US News & World Report’s annual college ranking. We pulled data on median earnings for students from each school who were working and not enrolled ten years after starting at the college from the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard. You can read the full methodology here.

The Missouri University of Science & Technology took the No. 1 spot. The campus has an atmosphere students described as a less stereotypical Big Bang Theory episode, according to The Princeton Review.

Keep reading to find out the 50 most underrated colleges.

50. Immaculata University

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50. Immaculata University

(Immaculata University/Facebook)

Location: Immaculata, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 183

Median mid-career salary: $50,600

There are 1,482 students at Immaculata and class sizes are relatively small. The admissions acceptance rate is 83% with an average high school GPA of 3.26.

49. University of San Diego


49. University of San Diego
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49. University of San Diego

(UC San Diego/Facebook)

Location: San Diego, California

US News ranking: 85

Median mid-career salary: $60,000

The University of San Diego is a moderately sized liberal arts Catholic school with a “laid back” student body, according to There are a total of 5,774 undergraduates representing 57 foreign countries.

48. Carnegie Mellon University


48. Carnegie Mellon University
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48. Carnegie Mellon University

(Carnegie Mellon University/Facebook)

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 25

Median mid-career salary: $83,600

Carnegie Mellon’s motto is “my heart is in the work” which resonates from engineering to drama majors. The university has a 22% acceptance rate and an average high school GPA of 3.77.

47. American University


47. American University
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47. American University

(American University/Facebook)

Location: Washington, DC

US News ranking: 78

Median mid-career salary: $61,000

With an acceptance rate of 29%, American University has 8,123 undergraduates and a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. A student told The Princeton Review that “the poli-sci kids are all going to be president one day, and the international studies ones are all going to save the world.”

46. Georgetown University


46. Georgetown University
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46. Georgetown University

(Georgetown University/Facebook)

Location: Washington, DC

US News ranking: 22

Median mid-career salary: $93,500

This moderately sized Jesuit school has an acceptance rate of 16% and has a student body representing 138 foreign countries.

45. University of Rhode Island


45. University of Rhode Island
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45. University of Rhode Island

(University of Rhode Island/Facebook)

Location: Kingston, Rhode Island

US News ranking: 157

Median mid-career salary: $52,900

The University of Rhode Island has one of the best marine biology programs on the East Coast with other stand-out majors including nursing and pharmacy.

44. Case Western Reserve University


44. Case Western Reserve University
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44. Case Western Reserve University

(Case Western Reserve University/Facebook)

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

US News ranking: 42

Median mid-career salary: $74,600

One of the biggest campus events at Case Western includes a 10-day game of tag called “Humans Vs. Zombies.”

43. Georgia Institute of Technology


43. Georgia Institute of Technology
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43. Georgia Institute of Technology

(Facebook/Georgia Tech)

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

US News ranking: 35

Median mid-career salary: $79,100

As a world-renowned public research university, Georgia Institute of Technology offers “rigorous” engineering, science, and business programs. With a 23% acceptance rate, the average high school GPA is 4.02, according to The Princeton Review.

42. Binghamton University-SUNY


42. Binghamton University-SUNY
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42. Binghamton University-SUNY

(Facebook/Binghamton University)

Location: Binghamton, New York

US News ranking: 80

Median mid-career salary: $61,600

There is a total of 13,708 undergraduates at Binghamton University-SUNY representing 97 foreign countries. With a 40% acceptance rate, the average high school GPA is 3.7.

41. Seton Hall University


41. Seton Hall University
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41. Seton Hall University

(Facebook/Seton Hall University)

Location: South Orange, New Jersey

US News ranking: 119

Median mid-career salary: $57,200

A Catholic university, Seaton Hall offers more than 90 majors in seven undergraduate colleges and has an average class size of 21 students, according to The Princeton Review.

40. University of Houston


40. University of Houston
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40. University of Houston

(University of Houston/Facebook)

Location: Houston, Texas

US News ranking: 171

Median mid-career salary: $51,600

Among 45,300 students, The University of Houston has an equal number of men and women studying at the institution. The campus spans 594 acres and there are more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors, according to The Princeton Review.

39. Virginia Tech


39. Virginia Tech
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39. Virginia Tech

(Facebook/Virginia Tech)

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

US News ranking: 76

Median mid-career salary: $62,500

Virginia Tech has a 70% acceptance rate among students with an average high school GPA of 3.97. The university offers 240 undergraduate programs to more than 31,000 students.

38. Rutgers University-Newark


38. Rutgers University-Newark
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38. Rutgers University-Newark

(Rutgers University/Shutterstock)

Location: Newark, New Jersey

US News ranking: 115

Median mid-career salary: $57,900

There are 8,551 undergraduates representing 57 foreign countries at Rutgers University, Newark. The University has a 64% acceptance rate.

37. University of St. Thomas


37. University of St. Thomas
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37. University of St. Thomas

(University of St. Thomas/Facebook)

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

US News ranking: 124

Median mid-career salary: $56,800

The University of St. Thomas employs 332 faculty members for 1,864 undergraduate students. With an acceptance rate of 81%, the average high school GPA is 3.66.

36. University of Massachusetts-Lowell


36. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
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36. University of Massachusetts-Lowell

(UMass Lowell/Facebook)

Location: Lowell, Massachusetts

US News ranking: 157

Median mid-career salary: $53,300

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell was founded in 1894 with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. The University has a 69% acceptance rate with an average high school GPA of 3.55.

35. The Catholic University of America


35. The Catholic University of America
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35. The Catholic University of America

(The Catholic University of America/Facebook)

Location: Washington, DC

US News ranking: 129

Median mid-career salary: $56,800

A majority of Catholic University students socially identify as conservative with a small portion of “liberal millennials,” according to The Princeton Review.

34. University of Texas-Arlington


34. University of Texas-Arlington
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34. University of Texas-Arlington

(University of Texas at Arlington/Facebook)

Location: Arlington, Texas

US News ranking: 221

Median mid-career salary: $48,700

The University of Texas-Arlington has 25,690 undergraduate students representing 123 countries. A student told The Princeton Review that professors bring “real-life application and useful knowledge to the students.”

33. George Washington University


33. George Washington University
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33. George Washington University

(Facebook/The George Washington University)

Location: Washington, DC

US News ranking: 63

Median mid-career salary: $69,600

There are more female students at GW than male students and 97% of the total student body are from out-of-state. The university was founded in 1821 by an Act of Congress.

32. Villanova University


32. Villanova University
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32. Villanova University

(Villanova University/Facebook)

Location: Villanova, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 49

Median mid-career salary: $77,900

Villanova University has a 36% acceptance rate with an average high school GPA of 4.09.

31. Benedictine University


31. Benedictine University
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31. Benedictine University

(Benedictine University/Facebook)

Location: Lisle, Illinois

US News ranking: 221

Median mid-career salary: $49,000

Benedictine University has 2,960 undergraduate students representing 17 foreign countries. With an acceptance rate of 69%, the average high school GPA is 3.39.

30. Texas Tech University


30. Texas Tech University
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30. Texas Tech University

(Texas Tech University/Facebook)

Location: Lubbock, Texas

US News ranking: 187

Median mid-career salary: $51,400

Texas Tech University accepts 69% of applicants with an average high school GPA of 3.75, according to The Princeton Review.

29. Marquette University


29. Marquette University
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29. Marquette University

(Andy Lyons/Getty)

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

US News ranking: 89

Median mid-career salary: $62,600

Marquette University is a Jesuit school that seeks to instill faith, service, and leadership in students, according to The Princeton Review.

28. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


28. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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28. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

(Facebook/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Location: Troy, New York

US News ranking: 49

Median mid-career salary: $82,000

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest tech university in upstate New York.

27. Siena College


27. Siena College
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27. Siena College

(Siena College/Facebook)

Location: Loudonville, New York

US News ranking: 135

Median mid-career salary: $57,100

Siena College is a small Roman Catholic college that upholds Catholic Franciscan qualities, according to The Princeton Review.

26. Virginia Military Institute


26. Virginia Military Institute
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26. Virginia Military Institute

(Virginia Military Institute/Facebook)

Location: Lexington, Virginia

US News ranking: 81

Median mid-career salary: $65,700

Nine countries are represented from 1,722 undergraduate students at Virginia Military Institute.

25. Duquesne University


25. Duquesne University
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25. Duquesne University

(Duquesne University/Facebook)

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 119

Median mid-career salary: $58,500

Duquesne University is a private Catholic University with 5,942 undergraduates enrolled. With an acceptance rate of 72%, the average high school GPA is 3.73, according to The Princeton Review.

24. Lehigh University


24. Lehigh University
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24. Lehigh University

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 53

Median mid-career salary: $81,900

Lehigh University is a Division 1 school that offers more than 100 majors and academic programs.

23. St. John’s University


23. St. John's University
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23. St. John’s University

(St. John’s University/Facebook)

Location: Queens, New York

US News ranking: 152

Median mid-career salary: $55,200

St. John’s was founded in 1870 and upholds Catholic and Vincentian traditions, according to The Princeton Review.

22. University of San Francisco


22. University of San Francisco
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22. University of San Francisco

(University of San Francisco/Facebook)

Location: San Francisco, California

US News ranking: 96

Median mid-career salary: $62,300

The University of San Francisco is a private Jesuit school with 6,745 undergraduate and 4,293 graduate students.

21. Suffolk University


21. Suffolk University
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21. Suffolk University

(Suffolk University/Facebook)

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

US News ranking: 177

Median mid-career salary: $53,100

Suffolk University is more than 100 years old and enrolls approximately 950 students in the freshman class, according to The Princeton Review.

20. Azusa Pacific University


20. Azusa Pacific University
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20. Azusa Pacific University

(Azusa Pacific University/Facebook)

Location: Azusa, California

US News ranking: 205

Median mid-career salary: $51,100

Azusa Pacific University is a “God-centered Christian university” and is known for its nursing and music programs, according to The Princeton Review.

19. Rochester Institute of Technology


19. Rochester Institute of Technology
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19. Rochester Institute of Technology

(Rochester Institute of Technology/Facebook)

Location: Rochester, New York

US News ranking: 102

Median mid-career salary: $62,400

Rochester Institute of Technology has a 57% acceptance rate and average high school GPA of 3.6, according to the Princeton Review.

18. University of Maryland-Baltimore County


18. University of Maryland-Baltimore County
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18. University of Maryland-Baltimore County

(Facebook/University of Maryland at Baltimore County)

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

US News ranking: 165

Median mid-career salary: $55,000

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a liberal arts honors university with an average high school GPA of 3.8, according to The Princeton Review.

17. Worcester Polytechnic Institute


17. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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17. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

(Facebook/Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI))

Location: Worcester, MA

US News ranking: 59

Median mid-career salary: $84,900

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private research school focused on science, technology, engineering, and math.

16. Stonehill College


16. Stonehill College
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16. Stonehill College

(Stonehill College/Facebook)

Location: Easton, Massachusetts

US News ranking: 124

Median mid-career salary: $60,800

Stonehill College is a liberal arts Catholic institution. With a 72% acceptance rate, the average high school GPA is 3.32, according to The Princeton Review.

15. Widener University


15. Widener University
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15. Widener University

(Widener University/Facebook)

Location: Chester, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 194

Median mid-career salary: $53,400

Widener University has 3,427 undergraduates representing 38 foreign countries, according to The Princeton Review.

14. Illinois Institute of Technology


14. Illinois Institute of Technology
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14. Illinois Institute of Technology

(Illinois Institute of Technology/Facebook)

Location: Chicago, Illinois

US News ranking: 96

Median mid-career salary: $69,100

Illinois Institute of Technology programs focus on areas of STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math. Students told The Princeton Review that “the students at IIT are absolute nerds, and we all say that with pride.”

13. George Mason University


13. George Mason University
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13. George Mason University

(George Mason University/Facebook)

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

US News ranking: 136

Median mid-career salary: $59,900

George Mason University has 24,987 undergraduates representing 106 foreign countries.

12. Stevens Institute of Technology


12. Stevens Institute of Technology
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12. Stevens Institute of Technology

(Facebook/Stevens Institute of Technology)

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

US News ranking: 70

Median mid-career salary: $89,200

Students at Stevens Institute of Technology can choose from 35 majors with a focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship.

11. Adelphi University


11. Adelphi University
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11. Adelphi University

(Adelphi University/Facebook)

Location: Garden City, New York

US News ranking: 147

Median mid-career salary: $58,500

Adelphi University is a research institution offering liberal arts and science programs across arts and humanities, STEM, social sciences, business, education, and health and wellness, according to The Princeton Review.

10. Drexel University


10. Drexel University
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10. Drexel University

(Drexel University/Facebook)

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

US News ranking: 102

Median mid-career salary: $68,800

At Drexel University, first-year students take several classes pertaining to their major, then alternate every six months studying and being employed full-time, according to The Princeton Review.

9. New Jersey Institute of Technology


9. New Jersey Institute of Technology
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9. New Jersey Institute of Technology

(NJIT/Facebook)

Location: Newark, New Jersey

US News ranking: 106

Median mid-career salary: $68,500

New Jersey Institute of Technology has 8,483 undergraduate students representing 65 foreign countries.

8. Colorado School of Mines


8. Colorado School of Mines
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8. Colorado School of Mines

(Facebook/Colorado School of Mines)

Location: Golden, Colorado

US News ranking: 80

Median mid-career salary: $84,900

Colorado School of Mines has a 56% acceptance rate and average high school GPA of 3.78, according to The Princeton Review.

7. Florida Institute of Technology


7. Florida Institute of Technology
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7. Florida Institute of Technology

(Florida Institute of Technology/Facebook)

Location: Melbourne, Florida

US News ranking: 177

Median mid-career salary: $56,600

At first, the Florida Institute of Technology started as a graduate school in 1958 but has since expanded to include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, according to The Princeton Review.

6. Clarkson University


6. Clarkson University
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6. Clarkson University

(Facebook/Clarkson University)

Location: Potsdam, New York

US News ranking: 102

Median mid-career salary: $72,000

Clarkson University’s programs mainly focuses on science and engineering. Students told The Princeton Review that “Clarkson has ‘a fair ratio of ‘nerds’ to ‘jocks’ due to the recruitment of athletes for teams.'”

5. University of the Pacific


5. University of the Pacific
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5. University of the Pacific

(Facebook/University of the Pacific)

Location: Stockton, California

US News ranking: 106

Median mid-career salary: $71,700

University of the Pacific has accelerated programs in dentistry, law, engineering, and pharmacy, according to The Princeton Review.

4. Michigan Technological University


4. Michigan Technological University
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4. Michigan Technological University

(Facebook/Michigan Technological University)

Location: Houghton, Michigan

US News ranking: 136

Median mid-career salary: $66,400

Michigan Technological University was originally established as a school for mining engineers in 1885 and is now a leading public research university.

3. University of Colorado-Denver

Location: Denver, Colorado

US News ranking: 205

Median mid-career salary: $56,400

University of Colorado-Denver’s in-state tuition is low at $5,054, while out-of-state tuition is $17,010, according to The Princeton Review.

2. Pace University


2. Pace University
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2. Pace University

(Pace University/Facebook)

Location: New York, New York

US News ranking: 177

Median mid-career salary: $60,300

Pace University is known for its liberal arts and business programs. Students told The Princeton Review that the student body is “as diverse as the city around us.”

1. Missouri University of Science & Technology


1. Missouri University of Science & Technology
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1. Missouri University of Science & Technology

(Missouri S&T/Facebook)

Location: Rolla, Missouri

US News ranking: 157

Median mid-career salary: $71,200

Missouri University of Science & Technology exposes students to “every different type of engineering” and is described by students as a less stereotypical Big Bang Theory, according to The Princeton Review.

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