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PayScale's 2009 Education and Salary Report Links College Choice and Long-Term Income

Unique Data Survey Makes It Clear That Degrees From Certain Schools Help Sustain and Boost Salary Growth From the Start of a Career Until the Mid-Point
Seattle - July 20, 2009 - PayScale, Inc. today announced its 2009 Education and Salary Report. The research survey, which analyzes the company's database of over 17.5 million unique compensation profiles, provides a critical perspective on the relationship between college selection and both starting and mid-career salaries. 
The numbers and trends in PayScale's survey are especially important, given the current rise in unemployment, the length and depth of the recession, and overall anxiety about the economy among consumers and companies.

The PayScale 2009 Education and Salary Report pulls together over 2,000 data points, including salary data for 40 majors, from nearly 600 U.S. based undergraduate colleges and universities. The best colleges survey can be found at

Some highlights from the 2009 salary report include:

  • Dartmouth College graduates have the highest mid-career salary for the second year in a row, but their median salary declined from last year.
  • Loma Linda University graduates have the highest starting salary, in part because of strong programs in nursing, dental and allied health disciplines.
  • Engineering schools are the best bets for the highest starting pay; they occupy eight of the top 10 spots on this list.
  • Ivy League schools are the best bets for the highest mid-career pay, with five of the top 10 spots on this list.
  • Graduates of small liberal arts colleges experience the largest increase from starting to mid-career salary; these schools occupy 9 of the top 10 spots on this list.
  • Franklin and Marshall College graduates have the greatest spread in mid-career earnings; the top 25% of the school's graduates earn more than 2.6 times the earnings of the bottom 25%.

"Our 2009 report shows that a degree from the right college or university in the right major can have huge and lasting benefits, from the start of a career to the mid-point," said Dr. Al Lee, Director of Qualitative Analysis at PayScale. "This is especially important to remember today, when the economic fundamentals are so weak and job prospects are so uncertain. The data we've generated helps explain why some people are able to sustain and increase income over the long term, while others are not."

A note on methodology: All data used to produce the Education Package were collected from employees who successfully completed PayScale's employee survey. Self-employed, project-based, and contract employees are not included. For example, project-based graphic designers and architects, and nearly all small business owners and novelists, are not included. For more detailed salary methodology visit:

About PayScale ( is the world's largest ongoing salary survey. With the world's largest database of individual employee compensation profiles, PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. PayScale's patent-pending real-time profiling technology collects and indexes employee pay attributes worldwide and makes thiscompensation data available through its online salary tools and salary benchmarking reports. PayScale was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington USA.