Colleges and Salaries

December 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

With the cost of a college education at elite schools nearing $200,000 for four years (tuition, books and pizza included), wise students and financially frazzled parents have to be asking this question: What’s the payoff? Will you earn more later if you go to an expensive, elite college now?

PayScale.com figured it out. The site, which collects data on salaries for a variety of professions, has now compiled data on the salaries of 1.2 million graduates who received a bachelor’s degree from hundreds of universities and colleges. The information is self-reported, so it is not a randomized, scientific sample. Also, it does not include anyone who went on for further education after a bachelor’s degree. Doctors and lawyers are not skewing this.

Go to College at one of the following bastions of hire higher learning, and get Paid More

The top 10 schools whose graduates earn the best starting pay:


1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($71,000)
2. Harvey Mudd College ($71,000)
3. California Institute of Technology ($69,700)
4. Stanford University ($67,500)
5. Carnegie Mellon University ($65,300)
6. Princeton University ($65,000)
7. Polytechnic Institute of New York ($62,700)
8. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ($62,500)
9. Worcester Polytechnic Institute ($61,100)
10. University of Pennsylvania ($60,400)

The top 10 schools whose graduates earn the best mid-career pay:


1. Dartmouth College ($129,000)
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($126,000)
3. Harvard University ($126,000)
4. Harvey Mudd College ($125,000)
5. Stanford University ($124,000)
6. Princeton University ($124,000)
7. Colgate University ($122,000)
8. University of Notre Dame ($121,000)
9. Yale University ($120,000)
10. University of Pennsylvania ($118,000)

The top 10 state schools whose graduates earn the best mid-career pay:


1. Georgia Institute of Technology ($105,000)
2. New Jersey Institute of Technology ($104,000)
3. University of California, San Diego ($103,000)
4. California Polytechnic State University ($102,000)
5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($99,700)
6. University of California, Santa Barbara ($98,400)
7. Virginia Tech ($97,400)
8. University of Virginia ($97,200)
9. University of California, Los Angeles ($97,000)
10. San Jose State University ($96,300)

The top 10 party schools whose graduates earn the best mid-career pay:


1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($99,700)
2. Tulane University ($98,000)
3. University of California, Santa Barbara ($98,400)
4. University of Colorado, Boulder ($94,300)
5. University of Florida ($88,400)
6. Indiana University ($82,600)
7. University of Georgia ($81500)
8. University of Iowa ($80,800)
9. University of Mississippi ($78,000)
10. West Virginia University ($76,400)

Fun facts to know and tell:

  • Five of the top 10 schools for mid-career salaries are in the Ivy League.
  • While graduates of the top engineering schools command the big bucks their entire careers, they are at the top of the pay scale immediately following graduation.
  • If you want to go to a college with a “party school” reputation, choose carefully. Some actually do produce well-paid graduates.

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