Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates?

In these economic times, what’s the metric for choosing the highest yielding undergrad degree?  Here’s a link to the article, and here’s a link to full metric and rankings.*

Forget U.S. News’s academic rankings and Playboy’s party-school list. For some prospective college freshmen, here’s the important question: Will I make more money if I go to Harvard, or if I go to Harvey Mudd?

PayScale, a site that collects data on salaries for different professions, argues that it can help students answer that question. Today the company is releasing an updated, gigantic data set on the salaries of graduates from hundreds of universities and colleges, as well as salaries and career choices broken down by department/major.

The numbers are from 1.2 million users of PayScale’s site who self-reported their salaries and educational credentials in a PayScale survey over the last year. While the data are not from a randomized scientific sample, they are still pretty tantalizing. Here, for example, are the rankings by median mid-career salary (minimum 10 years out of school) by university:

PayScaleClick image for full methodology.

*NB: I love that Florida is listed twice, once as a “state school” and again as a “party school.”  Ahem.

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