Best Universities and Colleges by Salary Potential

Want to earn a college degree, but not sure which school to choose? Check out this list of colleges with the highest alumni salaries.

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Bachelor's Only
Salary data for alumni who earned a bachelor's degree and did not go on to earn any additional degrees.
All Alumni
Salary data for all alumni who earned a bachelor's degree, including but not limited to those who went on to earn additional degrees from any school.
Rank 
School Name 
School Type
Degree Type 
School Sector
Early Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 0-5 years experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 10+ years experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
% STEM Degrees
 
% degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering or math subjects
26Liberal Arts School, Party School, Private School, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$65,400$139,90046%26%

26Colgate University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$65,400
Mid-Career Pay$139,900
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees26%
27Engineering, Party School, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$68,800$138,90047%52%

27Lehigh University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$68,800
Mid-Career Pay$138,900
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees52%
28Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$67,400$138,00051%42%

28Brown University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$67,400
Mid-Career Pay$138,000
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees42%
28Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$73,200$138,00052%86%

28Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$73,200
Mid-Career Pay$138,000
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees86%
30Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$70,100$137,50048%16%

30Claremont McKenna College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,100
Mid-Career Pay$137,500
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees16%
31Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$67,200$137,30050%28%

31University of Notre Dame
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$67,200
Mid-Career Pay$137,300
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees28%
32Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$75,500$136,30048%66%

32Carnegie Mellon University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$75,500
Mid-Career Pay$136,300
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees66%
33Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$71,200$136,10049%78%

33Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,200
Mid-Career Pay$136,100
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees78%
34Engineering, Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$71,800$135,50048%80%

34Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$71,800
Mid-Career Pay$135,500
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees80%
35Engineering, Private School, Sober SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$68,900$135,00052%56%

35Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$68,900
Mid-Career Pay$135,000
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees56%
35Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$65,200$135,00043%18%

35Washington and Lee University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$65,200
Mid-Career Pay$135,000
% High Meaning43%
% STEM Degrees18%
37Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$70,500$134,70050%43%

37Rice University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,500
Mid-Career Pay$134,700
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees43%
38Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$71,000$134,60047%30%

38Columbia University in the City of New York
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,000
Mid-Career Pay$134,600
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees30%
39Liberal Arts School, Party School, Private School, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$66,400$134,50046%40%

39Bucknell University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$66,400
Mid-Career Pay$134,500
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees40%
40Engineering, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$74,600$134,40052%96%

40Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$74,600
Mid-Career Pay$134,400
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees96%
41Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$66,700$134,30062%58%

41Clarkson University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$66,700
Mid-Career Pay$134,300
% High Meaning62%
% STEM Degrees58%
42Engineering, Research University, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$63,100$133,30055%58%

42University of California-San Diego
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$63,100
Mid-Career Pay$133,300
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees58%
42Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$65,200$133,30052%32%

42Amherst College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$65,200
Mid-Career Pay$133,300
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees32%
44Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$70,500$132,70049%43%

44Cornell University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,500
Mid-Career Pay$132,700
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees43%
45Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$59,100$132,60053%36%

45Haverford College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$59,100
Mid-Career Pay$132,600
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees36%
46Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$64,100$132,10053%37%

46Pomona College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$64,100
Mid-Career Pay$132,100
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees37%
47Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$64,200$131,90052%34%

47Wabash College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$64,200
Mid-Career Pay$131,900
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees34%
48Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$65,400$131,70047%45%

48Swarthmore College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$65,400
Mid-Career Pay$131,700
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees45%
49Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$62,300$131,00053%37%

49Bowdoin College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$62,300
Mid-Career Pay$131,000
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees37%
50Liberal Arts School, Party School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$63,500$129,90054%47%

50Union College (New York)
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$63,500
Mid-Career Pay$129,900
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees47%
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Choosing a college isn’t a simple task – you want to pick a school that will challenge you intellectually and provide you with life experiences that help you grow as a person. But unless you want to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life, you also want to pick a school that prepares you for a successful career, both in terms of getting hired and equipping you with the skills to properly do your job. PayScale’s College Salary Report has ranked colleges and universities by the median salaries of their alumni. By knowing how much you can expect to earn after getting your bachelor’s degree, you can choose a school wisely and set yourself up for future financial security, especially when evaluating how much to borrow to help pay for your education.

The data used to calculate all salary information comes from millions of people who have taken the PayScale Salary Survey and told us where they received their bachelor’s degree. If you want to see salaries based off alumni who only received a bachelor’s degree, use the Bachelor’s Only tab. To see median alumni salaries that include data from graduates who went on to earn a graduate degree (at any school, not just the university where they obtained a bachelor’s degree), use the All Alumni tab.

The Best College By Alumni Salary

You might assume that the highest earners in the country come from well-known Ivy League Schools like Harvard or Princeton, but the truth is, the highest median alumni salaries often come from students who attended small colleges with strong engineering programs.

If we focus on early career earnings, elite military schools reign supreme. For bachelor’s-only graduates, the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis are often home to high earners. The fact that West Point and Naval Academy alumni graduate with military experience probably increases their worth to employers.

The colleges with the highest-earning alumni almost all have one thing in common – they produce a lot of engineers and other workers with valuable STEM degrees. However, that doesn’t mean that everybody should become an engineer. PayScale publishes this data to help students understand the typical salaries they will likely go on to earn, and the corresponding amount of student debt they can afford to take on.

But don’t count liberal arts schools out just yet. Harvey Mudd and the USNA are both technically liberal arts schools as well because of the curriculums they require of graduates before receiving their degrees. However, even more classically styled liberal arts schools, like Washington and Lee University, Colgate University, Carleton College and Williams College produce high-earning graduates. Prospective students should just be aware that a liberal arts degree may mean it takes them a longer time to get settled in the career of their dreams, but their well-rounded, analytical skillsets and ability to clearly communicate can set them up for successful careers.

Both public and private schools can produce high-earning alumni. All military academies produce high-earning grads (again, when looking at grads in civilian jobs), and SUNY – Maritime College, the University of California – Berkeley and the Georgia Institute of Technology produce very high-earning alumni, beating out some Ivy League Schools.


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