PayScale’s 2017-18 College Salary Report Reveals the Top 50 Bachelor’s Schools by Earning Potential

Harvey Mudd Tops the List for Alumni Whose Highest Degree Is a Bachelor’s and Stanford Ranks First When Including Alumni Who Go On to Earn Higher Degrees; 20 of the Top 50 Schools are in New York or California

Seattle – August 29, 2017PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, issued its annual College Salary Report for the 2017-18 school year. PayScale’s College Salary Report provides salary data for alumni of a total of 2,441 associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions throughout the U.S.

Highlights from the 2017-18 report:

  • The top of the bachelor’s-only list is dominated by the Ivy League, elite technical universities and military academies. Harvey Mudd tops the list with a mid-career median pay number that is $8,000 above Princeton, the second-ranked school. MIT, SUNY Maritime College and the United States Military Academy at West Point round out the top five.
  • When examining all alumni with a Bachelor’s, including those that go on to earn higher degrees, Stanford jumps from 10th to 1st in PayScale’s rankings. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) also enters the top five, in a tie for third place with MIT.
  • Engineering and math dominate the bachelor’s rankings for highest-paying major. The median pay for early career STEM majors is $51,400, while median pay for liberal arts majors is $41,300.
  • Helene Fuld College of Nursing, Pacific Union College and Labouré College top the list of two-year degree-granting schools with the highest-earning alumni. The two-year degrees with the highest earning potential are Instrumentation Technology, Radiation Therapy and Management Information Systems (MIS).

“Our report provides a good data point for students and families as they select a school and major. Increasingly, students want to understand the career and income opportunities associated with their college education,” said PayScale Vice President Lydia Frank. “While earning potential should not be the only consideration, it’s an important one, especially when considering the cost of each student’s education.”

PayScale substantially expanded the scope of this year’s College Salary Report by increasing the number of schools included in past years by more than 1,000. The number of associate degree-granting institutions increased from 381 to 1,186 (a difference of 805 schools). PayScale saw similar increases in the lists of best schools for each major focus. For example, the number of schools in the “Best Schools for Education Majors by Salary Potential” list increased from 16 to 243.

For more information about the report, please visit: and for more information about the report methodology, please visit:


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As the industry leader in compensation management, Payscale is on a mission to help job seekers, employees and businesses get pay right, and make sustainable fair pay a reality. Empowering more than 53 percent of the Fortune 500 in 198 countries, Payscale provides a combination of data-driven insights, best-in-class services and innovative software to enable organizations such as Angel City Football Club, Perry Ellis International, United Healthcare, Vista and The Washington Post to make fair and appropriate pay decisions. Pay is powerful. To learn more, visit  

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