College students might want to look beyond sticker price when picking their school of choice.
A study by Newsweek and the Daily Beast ranked the nation’s most affordable colleges on “long-term affordability” and found schools like Yale and the University of California-Berkeley to be the cheaper option in the long run.
Chicago's Northeastern Illinois University was the only Illinois school to make the list of 25 top affordable schools. It ranked sixth, just behind Harvard University.
The study combined potential earnings, average debt level of graduates, total cost of tuition and financial aid availability to determine which school’s cost was easiest to shoulder.
NIU held a sticker price of $17,802 with only 13 percent of graduates leaving with debt, which averaged at $10,976. The percent of undergraduates receiving financial aid was 78 percent with the average grant aid landing $6,099 in funds.
NIU grads left school with a starting salary of roughly $37,500, according to the study, but a majority of mid-career salaries extended to $72,800.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked first with a total price of $55,270, but the number was counteracted by an average graduate starting salary of $69,700, reaching into triple digits by mid-career.