PayScale College Salary Report: Top Schools for 2011

Recently we released the 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report. There are dozens of different topics in this report: top schools for mid- or early career earnings, majors that pay, top state universities, schools that produce the highest fraction of CEOs, and the list goes on.

In this post, I'll look at some of the interesting facts and and trends behind the numbers. Are wages for college grads going up or down? Which schools top the list for 2011, and how do their graduates' earnings compare with a earnings last year and back in 2008, when we first did this annual report?

Whether you are a graduate of a top university or just an average one, what really matters is, are you earning what you are worth? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

Top Schools for Mid-career Pay

Want a school for top pay? Go with one of these top 20 (actually 21 with ties) colleges and universities with the highest median mid-career graduate salaries (Mid-career is about 40 years old; see the college salary report methodology for more info):


School Name

Mid-Career Salary


Princeton University



California Institute of Technology (Caltech)



Harvey Mudd College



Harvard University



Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)



Dartmouth College



Duke University



Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly)



Colgate University



Lehigh University



Stanford University



College of the Holy Cross



State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College



Bucknell University



Amherst College



Manhattan College



Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)



University of Notre Dame



Babson College



Colorado School of Mines



Stevens Institute of Technology




Graduate Mid-career Salaries Surprising Facts

There are a number of interesting changes from last year and our first report in 2008:

  • Princeton tops the list for the first time.
  • Princeton is the only school with median pay over $125,000 per year.
  • In 2008, the first year of the report and before the financial crisis, five schools had grads over $125,000 (Dartmouth, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Yale).
  • After topping the list for the first two years, Dartmouth (6) continues its slide
  • Of eight Ivy League schools, five don't make the top 20: Columbia (22), Yale (25), Brown (26), U of Penn (33), Cornell (38).
  • It is not just about big name research universities. Less famous schools like Harvey Mudd, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Colgate and Lehigh make the top 10, and nine of the next 10 are not major research universities.
  • Best ranked Public University is SUNY Maritime College (13).
  • Duke University (7), University of Notre Dame (18), and Colorado School of Mines (20) are the only school outside the Northeast and California to make the top 20.
  • The financial collapse and jobless recovery continues to affect pay, even at mid-career. There is even some evidence of accelerating wage decreases for the top schools.
  • Average of mid-career pay of the top 10 schools is $116,900.
    • This is down 2.7 percent from 2010 and 6.5 percent from 2008 (before the financial collapse)
  • Average of mid-career pay for the top 20 schools is $112,200
    • This is down 2.8 percent from 2010 and 5.3 percent from 2008.
  • Average of mid-career pay of all 1003 schools in the report for 2011 is $73,100, down 0.7 percent from 2010

Education is only one factor for pay. Are you earning what you should for everything you know and do? For powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position and qualifications, build a complete profile with PayScale's Salary Survey.


Al Lee
Director of Quantitative Analysis, PayScale, Inc.

1 Comment

  1. 1 reas 16 May
    Colgate and Lehigh make the top 10, and nine of the next 10 are not major research universities.<a href="">essay writing help</a>


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