Return on Investment

Return on Investment

Onam at 2015 GraduationLess than 24 months: that’s how long, on average, it will take for students who completed the Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) this year to recover the cost of attending (tuition and fees) and the year of lost earnings based on their pre-entry salary. In investment terms, that’s the payback period: the length of time it takes for the cumulative gains from an investment to equal the cumulative cost. Ideally, investors—in this case students—would like the shortest possible payback period on their investment. Shorter payback periods generally have lower inherent risks.

High starting salaries, modest tuition, and short time-to-completion translates into a payback period for MSA students that is half the average of what is realized in comparable 2-year professional degree programs. The Institute is keenly focused on delivering a high ROI for its students. Graduate education is expensive—not just the tuition, but also the lost wages while in school. The Institute has shown that a properly designed intensive learning experience can significantly enhance future earning potential. For the right student, the MSA is one of the best educational investments you can make.

NC Resident Non-Resident
Number of Respondents:
55 55
Median Pre-MSA Salary:
$52,000 $49,500
(+) Tuition and Fees:
$25,000 $42,850
(–) Signing Bonus:
$9,500 $10,000
Total Investment:
$67,500 $82,350
Average Post-MSA Salary:
$90,000 $92,000
(–) Pre-MSA Salary
$52,000 $49,500
Net MSA Salary Increase:
$38,000 $42,500
Payback Period (months):
21 23
Net 3-Year ROI:
$123,500 $137,500

Payback Period

About the Survey:

An anonymous and voluntary survey was conducted over a 5-day period just prior to graduation in May. The response rate was 97-percent. Respondents provided information about their pre- and post-MSA annual base salaries, signing bonuses, and residency status (which determines tuition payments). Since the cost of attending differs by residency, the analysis is performed for both residents and non-residents separately. Fifty percent of respondents were NC residents, and 62-percent were employed full-time in the year prior to entry. Ninety-five percent of students were employed full-time at graduation. All but one respondent reported an increase in salary after completing the MSA degree.

Students are assumed to forgo one-year of earning, even though the MSA program is only 10-months in duration. The average pre-MSA salary is estimated based on those candidates working full-time prior to entry in the program. Pre-MSA salaries ranged from $20,000 to $120,000.

The payback calculation does not take into consideration interest incurred by students who borrow to finance their education. Thirty-seven percent of students in the MSA Class of 2016 took on debt to pay tuition, borrowing an average of $29,500 at a median interest rate of 5.8-percent. The average ratio of starting base salary to debt was 3.1.

NC State