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
All Alumni
RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:126School Name:Kenyon CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$61,300Mid-Career Pay:$126,500% High Meaning:58%% STEM Degrees:18%
Rank:126School Name:Hobart William Smith CollegesSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$61,100Mid-Career Pay:$126,500% High Meaning:45%% STEM Degrees:19%
Rank:126School Name:University of San DiegoSchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$65,800Mid-Career Pay:$126,500% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:15%
Rank:129School Name:Hofstra UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$61,900Mid-Career Pay:$126,400% High Meaning:45%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:129School Name:Hampden-Sydney CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$64,900Mid-Career Pay:$126,400% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:21%
Rank:131School Name:Grinnell CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$62,500Mid-Career Pay:$126,200% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:43%
Rank:132School Name:Reed CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$65,400Mid-Career Pay:$125,900% High Meaning:42%% STEM Degrees:31%
Rank:132School Name:Hamilton CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$68,100Mid-Career Pay:$125,900% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:25%
Rank:134School Name:Tulane University of LouisianaSchool Type:Party School, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$63,800Mid-Career Pay:$125,600% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:22%
Rank:135School Name:University of Colorado BoulderSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$64,200Mid-Career Pay:$125,400% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:40%
Rank:136School Name:Denison UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$60,500Mid-Career Pay:$125,300% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:22%
Rank:136School Name:St Lawrence UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Party School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$62,400Mid-Career Pay:$125,300% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:26%
Rank:138School Name:Milwaukee School of EngineeringSchool Type:Engineering, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$72,700Mid-Career Pay:$125,000% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:70%
Rank:138School Name:Menlo CollegeSchool Type:Business, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$66,800Mid-Career Pay:$125,000% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:140School Name:Vassar CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$62,000Mid-Career Pay:$124,800% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:31%
Rank:141School Name:DePauw UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$64,200Mid-Career Pay:$124,600% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:22%
Rank:142School Name:University of Maryland-College ParkSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$69,100Mid-Career Pay:$124,500% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:38%
Rank:143School Name:Michigan Technological UniversitySchool Type:Engineering, Research University, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$71,800Mid-Career Pay:$124,400% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:74%
Rank:144School Name:San Jose State UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$70,100Mid-Career Pay:$124,300% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:27%
Rank:144School Name:Clark UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$59,900Mid-Career Pay:$124,300% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:22%
Rank:146School Name:Drexel UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$68,500Mid-Career Pay:$124,200% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:28%
Rank:147School Name:Saint Johns UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$64,300Mid-Career Pay:$124,000% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:19%
Rank:148School Name:University of Puget SoundSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$61,600Mid-Career Pay:$123,900% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:18%
Rank:148School Name:University of San FranciscoSchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$65,700Mid-Career Pay:$123,900% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:150School Name:Stony Brook UniversitySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$66,100Mid-Career Pay:$123,800% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:37%

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College Student

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.