The 5 Colleges Where Graduates Earn the Highest Salaries

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Why do people go to college? Well, aside from the experience, knowledge, and foundation they receive, there’s one main reason above all that most people choose the higher education route: They want to increase their earnings power.

At the end of the day, a college degree is an investment, and it’s a pretty good one. “Data from U.S. workers show that the benefits of college in terms of higher earnings far outweigh the costs of a degree, measured as tuition plus wages lost while attending school,” as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age.”

So, going to college is obviously better than not going. But, what about your degree and your specific institution? Do degrees from certain schools payoff more for graduates?

PayScale recently released its 2015 College Salary Report, which ranks graduate, undergraduate, and two-year schools by graduates’ earnings. Based on the median mid-career salaries of graduates across the country, these schools have the highest paid alumni and may just be some of the places to be if you’re looking for a degree that really pays back.

Top 5 undergraduate schools

  1. Harvey Mudd College: Harvey Mudd alumni have a typical early career salary of $75,600. Based on 80 grads who reported their salaries for the PayScale report, earnings varied between $71,834 for grads with less than one year of career experience, to $150,429 for graduates with at least 20 years of experience.
  2. United States Naval Academy at Annapolis: Among the 192 alumni who reported their salaries, those with less than 1 year of experience earn around $71,500, while those with more than 20 years of experience earn around $144,000. Many grads from this school work in military or government positions. Those Naval Academy alumni in the U.S. Navy reported salaries ranging from around $64,000 to $156,000.
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The typical early career salary for an MIT alumni is around $71,300. Based on the 768 alumni who reported their salaries, MIT grads in the middle of their careers (with five to nine years of experience) earn slightly less than $100,000, and those who are later in their careers (with more than 20 years of experience) earn around $128,000.
  4. Colgate University: Of the 144 Colgate grads who reported their salaries to PayScale, their earnings range between $45,509 for grads who are just beginning their careers, to around $117,000 for those who are later in their careers. However, some Colgate grads reported salaries higher than $300,000.
  5. Stanford University: Nearly 1,000 Stanford alumni reported their salaries for the PayScale report, and they typically start off earning around $63,000. Alumni who have worked their way up the ladder a bit (with five to nine years of career experience) earn around $100,500 and alumni who are late in their career earn upwards of $143,000.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Top 5 graduate schools

  1. Harvard Law School: Grads in the survey earn between $94,000 and $220,000. Of course, their exact salary level depends on factors like their choice of career and their level of career experience.
  2. Emory School of Law: Grads earn as little as $57,000 or as high as $200,000.
  3. Santa Clara University Law School: Grads generally earn between $60,000 and $210,000.
  4. Stanford Graduate School of Business: Grads generally earn in the range of $112,500 and $185,000.
  5. UCLA College of Law: Grads typically earn between $87,500 and upwards of $130,000.

Top 5 two-year schools

  1. Fashion Institute of Technlogy — NY: This school has a female-to-male ratio of 6-to-1 and alumni salaries typically range between roughly $36,000 and $89,000, depending on their level of career experience.
  2. San Diego City College: Grads from this school typically earn between $42,000 and $75,000.
  3. De Anza College: De Anza alumni typically earn between roughly $47,500 and $80,000.
  4. Lee College: Typical Lee alumni may earn between $41,300 and $82,500.
  5. NHTI-Concord’s Community College: Grads here typically earn between roughly $38,000 and $76,000.

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