Best Private Universities by Salary Potential

Want the intimate experience of a private college along with a high-paying career? Check out private colleges with highest-paid alumni.

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Bachelor's Only
All Alumni
RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:Massachusetts Institute of TechnologySchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$93,700Mid-Career Pay:$167,200% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:68%
Rank:2School Name:Harvey Mudd CollegeSchool Type:Engineering, Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$97,700Mid-Career Pay:$166,600% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:75%
Rank:3School Name:Princeton UniversitySchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$81,800Mid-Career Pay:$161,500% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:49%
Rank:4School Name:Stanford UniversitySchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$87,100Mid-Career Pay:$156,500% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:50%
Rank:5School Name:Harvard UniversitySchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$80,900Mid-Career Pay:$156,200% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:20%
Rank:6School Name:Babson CollegeSchool Type:Business, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$77,800Mid-Career Pay:$155,400% High Meaning:43%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:7School Name:Santa Clara UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$75,800Mid-Career Pay:$154,700% High Meaning:46%% STEM Degrees:28%
Rank:8School Name:University of PennsylvaniaSchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$78,300Mid-Career Pay:$153,100% High Meaning:36%% STEM Degrees:23%
Rank:8School Name:California Institute of TechnologySchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$93,100Mid-Career Pay:$153,100% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:98%
Rank:10School Name:Colgate UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Party School, Private School, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$73,800Mid-Career Pay:$152,600% High Meaning:43%% STEM Degrees:27%
Rank:11School Name:Yale UniversitySchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$78,000Mid-Career Pay:$151,600% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:24%
Rank:12School Name:Claremont McKenna CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$75,700Mid-Career Pay:$151,200% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:28%
Rank:13School Name:Stevens Institute of TechnologySchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$80,400Mid-Career Pay:$150,900% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:76%
Rank:14School Name:Williams CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$70,600Mid-Career Pay:$150,300% High Meaning:39%% STEM Degrees:34%
Rank:15School Name:Dartmouth CollegeSchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$77,600Mid-Career Pay:$149,800% High Meaning:44%% STEM Degrees:35%
Rank:16School Name:Lehigh UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$74,600Mid-Career Pay:$147,300% High Meaning:46%% STEM Degrees:48%
Rank:17School Name:Webb InstituteSchool Type:Engineering, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$85,300Mid-Career Pay:$146,500% High Meaning:45%% STEM Degrees:100%
Rank:17School Name:Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologySchool Type:Engineering, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$80,500Mid-Career Pay:$146,500% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:97%
Rank:19School Name:Washington and Lee UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$69,100Mid-Career Pay:$145,300% High Meaning:41%% STEM Degrees:19%
Rank:20School Name:University of Notre DameSchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$73,000Mid-Career Pay:$143,800% High Meaning:40%% STEM Degrees:29%
Rank:20School Name:Worcester Polytechnic InstituteSchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$78,800Mid-Career Pay:$143,800% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:87%
Rank:22School Name:Carnegie Mellon UniversitySchool Type:Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$84,000Mid-Career Pay:$143,400% High Meaning:41%% STEM Degrees:67%
Rank:23School Name:Swarthmore CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$70,800Mid-Career Pay:$142,900% High Meaning:46%% STEM Degrees:36%
Rank:24School Name:Duke UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$76,800Mid-Career Pay:$142,500% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:27%
Rank:25School Name:Brown UniversitySchool Type:Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$74,700Mid-Career Pay:$142,400% High Meaning:43%% STEM Degrees:40%

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College Student

Private colleges may have a higher price tag than government-funded public schools, but if you are willing to pay their hefty tuition, or if you can work out a financial aid package that makes a private school an affordable option, they can be a very smart choice. If you are considering a private school for your bachelor’s degree, Payscale’s College Salary Report ranks the best private colleges by alumni salaries. If you are go to a college that has a history of helping alumni settle into high-paying careers and planning on picking a major with high earning potential, a private school education can be a great investment.

Some of the most famous private schools in the country are the Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton and Yale, so it’s no surprise that they do so well in the Payscale College Salary Report. But it’s interesting to wonder why the Ivies, as well as other famous private schools like Stanford, Babson, Washington and Lee, Carnegie Mellon and Tufts, do so well despite not focusing on STEM subjects exclusively. We speculate that because private schools are generally smaller and have strong alumni networks, they give college students stronger networking opportunities that help them start their careers off strong.