Don’t Waste Your Money on These Colleges and Majors

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Image Not Available

You may want to think twice before pursuing an art degree at Murray State University in Kentucky, at least when considering the 20-year net return on your education investment.

According to The Atlantic, which rated which schools and majors have the lowest 20-year net returns, “The self-reported earnings of art majors from Murray State are so low that after two decades, a typical high school grad will have out-earned them by nearly $200,000.”


PayScale recently released its 2013-2014 College Salary Report, which reaffirms what most people already know: Your choice of college and major has a significant impact on what you’ll earn post-graduation. It ranks the best schools by type, major and region, according to self-reported income from graduates.

The Atlantic was able to use the information to comparatively glean the worst colleges and majors for net return.

The Atlantic says not going to college at the following five schools is at least $62,500 more valuable than spending the time and money to graduate from them:

  • Shaw University (N.C.) – $121,000.
  • Fayetteville State (N.C.) – $95,700.
  • Savannah State University (Ga.) – $82,300.
  • Bluefield College (Va.) – $65,600.
  • University of North Carolina Asheville – $62,500.

While this information is shocking, brace yourselves, it gets worse. Check out the top five college majors with the lowest net return:

  • Arts, Murray State University – $197,000.
  • Humanities and English, Florida International University – $192,000.
  • Arts, Eastern Michigan University – $187,000.
  • Education, Virginia Commonwealth University – $169,000.
  • Education, Bowling Green State University – $152,000.

In a separate story, The Atlantic also uses PayScale’s data to determine which college (University of Virginia) and which major (Stanford’s computer science) will make you the richest after graduation, based on return on investment.

I do think it’s important to note that you might want to consider more than just ROI when selecting your major and where you’ll attend college. Of course you don’t want to throw your money away. But economic success needs to be balanced with fulfillment and happiness in your career choice.

Of course, this is coming from a writer with a journalism degree. I don’t know a single person who pursued writing because of the money, because, frankly, they’d be disappointed. But it’s a career choice I’ve found challenging and fulfilling.

What do you think of the college and major lists? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.