College is expensive, and the times are changing. In fact only about two-thirds of the current generation are opting receive bachelors degrees or higher. And for those that do pursue higher education, the price tag is higher than ever, and it's rare that your degree doesn't come unaccompanied by a load of debt. That means college is a business and we've got to start thinking like businesspeople. If you're going to spend at least 4 years and mess up some comas, let's look at the numbers. Here are a few college majors with pretty high ROI.


Marketing

The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." A four year education that costs on average $52,596 is the toll for a degree in marketing. Good news is, with an after tax salary averaging about $75-80,000 you can have those student loans paid off in as little as 5 years, and start making bank. Cue up the theme from "Mad Men"

4 years.

$52,596 cost of tuition

$74,935 after tax salary

5.3 years to pay back

$937 per month in loan payments

Engineering

Including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings the Civil engineering discipline deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, Civil Engineering has been around since antiquity is predated as a professional engineering career only by military engineering. Because civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and even in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies, work as a civil engineer is always abundant. 4 years of schooling for about $53,000, but with a salary that maxes out near $80,000, you should have it paid back in under 8 years.

4 years.

$52,596 cost of tuition

$76,286 after tax salary

7.4 years to pay back

$704 per month in loan payments

Economist

Practitioners of the discipline of economics study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and they also get paid to write about economic policy. Technically to be considered a major league economist you have to obtain your Ph.D., teach, and have published literature on economics. Then you're Ben Bernake and you run the central bank of the most powerful economy on earth.

While you won't be running the Fed or shifting the global economy with just your bachelors degree, with an average price tag of $52,000 and an average salary upwards of $90,000, we're sure you'll be just fine on your way to the top.

4 years.

$52,596 cost of tuition

$92,786 after tax salary

6.5 years to pay back

$785 per month in loan payments

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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