Money

The 17 private colleges where students go on to earn the most money

University of Pennsylvania
Ann Hermes | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images
University of Pennsylvania

Private colleges tend to come with a steep price tag.

Is it worth the cost in the long run?

CNBC used the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard a tool that provides a variety of data on thousands of colleges, including the median earnings of federally aided students 10 years after enrolling to highlight the private schools where students go on to earn the most money.

For our ranking, we restricted the list to bachelor's degree-granting institutions and excluded special focus institutions.

Scroll down to see which colleges cracked the top 17 and the average annual cost of each school, which the U.S. Department of Education defines as "the average annual net price for federal aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government."

17. Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Average annual cost: $20,168

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $74,200

Read more about Yale.

The Sterling Memorial Library on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Sterling Memorial Library on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

16. Columbia University

New York, New York

Average annual cost: $22,298

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $75,200

Read more about Columbia.

People walk on the Columbia University campus in New York City.
Getty Images
People walk on the Columbia University campus in New York City.

15. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Average annual cost: $31,634

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $76,200

Read more about Carnegie Mellon.

Carnegie Mellon University
Pichaya Viwatrujirapong | Getty Images
Carnegie Mellon University

13. Duke University (TIE)

Durham, North Carolina

Average annual cost: $25,369

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $76,700

Read more about Duke.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
Lance King | Getty Images
Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

13. Lehigh University (TIE)

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Average annual cost: $31,267

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $76,700

Read more about Lehigh.

Lehigh University
Source: Lehigh University
Lehigh University

12. Bentley University

Waltham, Massachusetts

Average annual cost: $31,616

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $76,900

Read more about Bentley.

Bentley University
Source: Bentley University
Bentley University

11. Kettering University

Flint, Michigan

Average annual cost: $33,861

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $77,400

Read more about Kettering.

C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center on the campus of Kettering University.
Bryan Duggan | Wikipedia
C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center on the campus of Kettering University.

10. California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Average annual cost: $25,308

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $77,800

Read more about Caltech.

California Institute of Technology
Danita Delimont | Getty Images
California Institute of Technology

9. Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Average annual cost: $7,103

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $77,900

Read more about Princeton.

Princeton University campus
Source: Princeton University
Princeton University campus

8. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, New York

Average annual cost: $33,595

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $79,600

Read more about RPI.

RPI
Matt H. Wade | Wikipedia
RPI

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average annual cost: $24,370

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $79,700

Read more about Penn.

University of Pennsylvania
Ann Hermes | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images
University of Pennsylvania

6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, Massachusetts

Average annual cost: $35,187

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $80,300

Read more about WPI.

Students attend a class in 3-D modeling at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Melanie Stetson Freeman | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images
Students attend a class in 3-D modeling at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

5. Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, New Jersey

Average annual cost: $28,296

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $83,700

Read more about Stevens.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Source: Stevens Institute of Technology

4. Georgetown University

Washington, D.C.

Average annual cost: $27,506

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $84,000

Read more about Georgetown.

Healy Hall, the flagship building of Georgetown University's main campus in Washington, D.C.
Mladen Antonov | AFP | Getty Images
Healy Hall, the flagship building of Georgetown University's main campus in Washington, D.C.

3. Stanford University

Stanford, California

Average annual cost: $14,559

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $86,000

Read more about Stanford.

Stanford University campus
David Madison | Getty Images
Stanford University campus

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Average annual cost: $23,547

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $89,200

Read more about MIT.

Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yiming Chen | Getty Images
Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Average annual cost: $14,068

Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $95,500

Read more about Harvard.

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Kelvin Ma | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.