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Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates?

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PayScale, a site that collects data on salaries for different professions, recently released an updated data set from over 1.2 million users on the salaries of graduates from hundreds of U.S. universities and colleges, as well as salaries and career choices broken down by department/major. As a way of measuring which colleges produce the highest-paid graduates, the salary data includes rankings by median mid-career salary (minimum 10 years out of school) and by median starting salary. While prestigious Ivy League universities ranked near the top, it was not always the case that their graduates earned higher median salaries than graduates from less well-known universities. As a rough guide, the data gives students and their parents an understanding as to what their return on investment is going to be.

In the 2009 PayScale College Salary Report, Dartmouth College has the highest median mid-career salary, while Loma Linda University (with strong placements in healthcare-related fields) has the highest median starting salary. In general, engineering schools produced the best starting salaries, and represented eight out of the top 10 schools in starting salary. In addition, Ivy League schools are the best bet for mid-career pay, taking five out of the top 10 positions. As might be expected, quantitative-oriented degrees — like engineering, computer science, mathematics and economics — filled most of the top 20 slots in both highest starting median salaries and highest mid-career median salaries.

From The New York Times
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