LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell is the most underrated university in the nation, according to new report.

The finding is based on a comparison of PayScale.com’s mid-career salary data and the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges and universities across the country. In developing its rankings, Business Insider considered schools that are underrated as those that are “highly ranked on salary, but aren’t given due credit on the U.S. News ranking.”

“Future income isn’t the only factor that should determine college choice, but it may be the most important one,” Business Insider states in the recent article, “The 25 Most Underrated Colleges in America.”

With an average mid-career salary of $92,400, UMass Lowell is No. 82 on PayScale’s list of more than 1,000 public and private colleges and universities nationally and is 16th among all New England institutions. Among public institutions in New England, UMass Lowell ranks second in average mid-career salary and is the only one that is a doctoral-granting university with a full range of academic programs from engineering to humanities.

UMass Lowell is ranked No. 170 by U.S. News & World Report, putting it in the top 100 public institutions and top 200 national universities in the U.S. of approximately 3,000 four-year colleges and universities. UMass Lowell’s ranking has climbed steadily in recent years, including jumping six spots from 2012 to 2013.

The top Business Insider ranking follows a report that a UMass Lowell education provides the 10th best return on investment among 437 public universities in the nation and 50th of all 1,060 colleges and universities surveyed. The report, also by PayScale, compared the cost of attending more than 1,000 colleges and universities with graduates’ lifetime earning potential to determine which institutions offer the best return on investment, or ROI.

“This latest ranking by Business Insider is yet another example that validates how UMass Lowell provides its students with a high-quality education that helps them meet their career and personal goals after graduation,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.