By Hannes Ambrosch

Source: Flickr / Hannes Ambrosch. 

Curious to know the college that provides the best return on its cost for its students? A recent study reveals one school reigns supreme. And it may surprise you.

It's no secret colleges are becoming more expensive. Student debt has ballooned to over $1 trillion. Over the last 40 years the real cost of college has tripled from $2,710 in 1973 to $8,893 in 2013.

Just last week the Wall Street Journal noted, "The only thing growing faster than the sticker price on a college education may be the debate around the value of one—particularly if a student majors in something with no obvious pathway to a decent job."

However it is critical to remember the reality the report from the Pew Center entitled "The Rising Cost of Not Going to College," which shows those with college degrees in the Millennial Generation -- ages 25 to 32 -- earn 50% more salary than those without a degree, $45,000 to $30,000. In the Baby Boomer generation, that gap stood at just 15%.

Put simply, earning a degree is even more important now than ever.

Yet there are big differences in the return on your investment -- the true cost of that degree -- at different schools across the country. But PayScale recently provided its College Return on Investment report, which shows the colleges that provide the biggest benefits to their alumni from a financial perspective.

The slideshow below examines the schools that provide the biggest total return for their students based on the true cost -- using out-of-state tuition with financial aid included to even the playing field -- of the degree.

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