Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Average Salaries by College Attended

When I was graduating from high school, it was assumed that graduates from elite colleges would make more than graduates from other colleges. Based on a recent study, it appears the assumption is still a relatively good one. Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates? by Catherine Rampell of The New York Times shows that the Ivy League and elite private colleges on average result in higher pay than non-elite or state colleges. Here is the list of all colleges in the report.

My conclusion from the article is that the choice of college does affect one's salary, when averages are considered. Thus, people attending Dartmouth College will, on average, make more than a college below it on the list. However, it won't determine if a specific individual will make more or less than another. Although I haven't seen the data, I would expect that there are top individuals from the mid-list colleges are making more the average of a Dartmouth College graduate.

Of course, one shouldn't choose a college only on future salary potential. However, the information may help answer the question of whether the additional cost for attending an elite college is potentially worth it.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

1 comment:

bv said...

While I don't know about how your college affects your salary, I do believe that it affects your employment options. At job fairs it looks like companies fall over themselves for a Stanford graduate. Someone from a lesser-known school may have all the skills and talent, but they just don't have that brand-name recognition.

Furthermore, the top colleges have more resources to get someone a good career (job fairs, career development centers, etc.). So when compared to someone who can't get a job because they can't get their foot in the door, graduates from top universities are doing really, really well salary wise.