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Missouri Institute of Science & Technology, Rolla, Missouri
Missouri Institute of Science & Technology, Rolla, Missouri
Sam O'Keefe—Missouri S&T

As more people earn bachelor's degrees, workers who want an edge in the job market are increasingly investing in expensive graduate degrees. But data released today by reveal dozens of colleges where average mid-career alumni are earning more than $100,000 a year without the additional cost of grad school.

Building on the PayScale data, Money identified the 25 most affordable colleges that launch graduates into six-figure careers. While many of them aren't exactly cheap, consider that an MBA from a top school, for example, typically costs more than $100,000. So investing in a good-value undergraduate education can save big money down the road. (Here are tips on how to find a good value college.)

Remember that these earnings numbers are averages, not predictions or guarantees. What you earn depends on the skills you develop in college, the industry you choose, and your job performance.

College PayScale's average alumni mid-career earnings Money's estimated average net price of a degree* Money overall value ranking
Missouri University of Science and Technology $102,000 $91,772 135
Virginia Military Institute $110,000 $93,957 48
Massachusetts Maritime Academy $108,000 $96,870 59
Georgia Institute of Technology $112,000 $111,093 30
Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art $114,000 $113,376 9
SUNY - Maritime College $134,000 $115,746 113
University of California - San Diego $103,000 $125,593 32
Colorado School of Mines $109,000 $132,697 135
University of California - Berkeley $114,000 $133,549 9
Clarkson University $111,000 $140,258 63
Princeton University $122,000 $148,626 3
New Jersey Institute of Technology $101,000 $154,499 196
Vanderbilt University $102,000 $155,064 24
Rice University $114,000 $157,824 14
Case Western Reserve University $103,000 $160,246 135
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology $107,000 $160,279 128
Stevens Institute of Technology $120,000 $163,317 48
Worcester Polytechnic Institute $112,000 $163,952 48
Washington and Lee University $120,000 $164,396 24
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $124,000 $166,855 3
Gettysburg College $100,000 $173,693 168
Manhattan College $112,000 $176,128 41
Stanford University $123,000 $178,731 1
Kettering University $102,000 $179,672 556
Whitman College $101,000 $180,272 246

*Net cost of a degree is Money's estimate of the total cost of a degree for a freshman starting in the fall of 2015. The calculation consists of: the total estimated 2015-16 cost of attendance (in-state tuition, fees, room, board, books, transportation, etc.) minus the average amount of college-awarded grants and scholarships. That number is then multiplied by an inflation factor and the average number of semesters it typically takes students at that college to earn a bachelor's.

For more advice on choosing college, and to create a customizable list of colleges based on criteria such as size, selectivity, and affordability, visit the new Money College Planner.