Colleges with biggest bang for the buck

 30-year return on investment: $1,728,000
Avg. total college cost: $214,300
Avg. annual scholarships and grants: $23,534
Graduation rate: 54%

One of the nation's oldest private engineering schools, Polytechnic Institute of New York University offers a technology-focused education in fields like engineering, science and computer science.

"There's a whole atmosphere where you're at at the forefront of technology as it's evolving," said President Katepalli Sreenivasan. Many grads enter booming fields like cybersecurity or biotechnology, he said.

A degree from the Brooklyn, N.Y., university will get slightly more costly in 2014 when it officially becomes NYU's School of Engineering. Tuition will increase gradually over a five-year period, Sreenivasan said.

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