The Top Colleges Whose Graduates Earn the Most
July 28, 2015

With college costs continuing to increase, American families are finding themselves in an unenviable position: ensuring that there is enough money to cover tuition and living expenses for their college-bound children. Research has established that having a degree can provide a pathway toward careers that boost the earning capacity of the individual. Despite this, the stagnant salaries that many people earn often make it difficult for them to cover as much of the colleges costs for their kids as they would ideally like to.

Household Spending on College Expenses Increases in the 2014-15 School Year

Sallie Mae released its annual report titled How Americans Pay For College recently. The report revealed that Americans ended up spending 16 percent more on college expenses in the 2014-15 academic year than they had in the year before. American families paid an average amount of $24,164 for covering college expenses during the 2014-15 academic year, as opposed to $20,882 in the 2013-14 academic year.

In addition, American households have utilized $10,365 to pay for college expenses from their family income and savings in the 2014-15 academic year compared to $8,854 in the 2013-14 academic year. Sallie Mae declares that this is the first instance in five years where families have increased college spending year over year. As such, parental income and savings covered about one-third of college costs, thereby surpassing scholarships and grants as the larges funding source for the first time since 2010.

It is worth noting that the rising cost of college could be a contributing factor to this. However, Mandi Woodruff reports that the average cost of college tuition and fees increased by only two percent during the 2014-15 academic year (based on figures released by the College Board).

The Top Colleges Whose Graduates Earn the Highest Median Salaries Upon Graduation

Natalie Moran writes that college is a time for self-exploration. During their years in college, many students ascertain their areas of interest. Thereafter, they try to figure out how they can find a job that lines up with their interests. Many students hope to find well-paying entry-level jobs once they graduate. In many cases though, the university these students enroll in, can play a significant role in determining the level of success they end up achieving.

StartClass, an education and career date site, reviewed thousands of colleges across the country to identify those schools whose graduates earn the highest median salaries upon graduation. Thereafter, it used its Smart Rating as a tiebreaker for each school. This Smart Rating incorporates factors such as financial affordability, career readiness, selectivity, expert opinion and academic excellence. PayScale has provided the rest of the data. It is worth highlighting that the numbers for the military academies denote salaries for people in the civilian labor force, and not for active service members.

1. The United States Naval Academy: Located in Annapolis, Maryland, this institute has a current enrollment of 4,526 students, of which 1,200 are incoming freshmen. It has a great student-faculty ratio of 9:1 and a very high graduation rate of 89 percent. But getting in to this school can be difficult as an acceptance rate of 7.4 percent testifies.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $77,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $75,000 – $81,800

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $128,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $120,000 – $132,000

2. The United States Military Academy: This institute in West Point, New York, has a current enrollment of 4,591 students, of which 1,176 are incoming freshmen. It has a great student-faculty ratio of 7:1 and a very high graduation rate of 85 percent. However, an acceptance rate of nine percent reveals how difficult it can be to get in to this school.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $75,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $72,000 – $76,000

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $127,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $120,000 – $131,500

3. The Harvey Mudd College: Situated in Claremont, California, this institute has a current enrollment of just 807 students, of which 217 are incoming freshmen. It has a great student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a very high graduation rate of 87 percent. With an acceptance rate of 18.2 percent, getting into this school can be tough.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $70,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $68,000 – $73,500

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $128,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $130,000 – $150,000

4. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this university ranks second among all research universities in America. It has a current enrollment of 11,301 students, of which 1,115 are incoming freshmen. It has a great student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a very high graduation rate of 93 percent. But getting in to this school can be difficult as an acceptance rate of 8.2 percent testifies. In addition, the tuition for this school is exceedingly expensive at $43,498. Yet, it offers good financial aid to about 85 percent of qualified freshmen.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $70,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $68,000 – $70,000

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $118,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $113,500 – $120,000

5. The California Institute of Technology: Ranked fourth among all research universities in the country, this university is located in Pasadena, California. It has a current enrollment of 2,181 students, of which 249 are incoming freshmen. It has an excellent student-faculty ratio of 3:1 and a very high graduation rate of 90 percent. With an acceptance rate of 10.6 percent, getting into this school can be difficult.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $66,500

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $63,800 – $71,300

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $125,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $115,000 – $127,900

6. Montana Tech of the University of Montana: Located in Butte, Montana, this institute has a current enrollment of 2,010 students, of which 262 are incoming freshmen. It has a relatively low student-faculty ratio of 15:1 and a low graduation rate of 51 percent. This school has a high acceptance rate of 88.9 percent, making it one of the easier institutes to get into. The in-state tuition is relatively inexpensive at $6,464, while the out-of-state tuition is much higher at $18,606. However, it offers good financial aid to about 86 percent of qualified freshmen.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $65,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $59,600 – $69,200

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $80,300 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $74,500 – $87,200

7. The United States Air Force Academy: Situated in Usafa, Colorado, this institute has a current enrollment of 3,993 students, of which 1,154 are incoming freshmen. It has a great student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a very high graduation rate of 81 percent. It has an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent, which means that getting into this school can be difficult.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $65,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $62,600 – $66,000

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $115,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $108,000 – $120,000

8. The Colorado School of Mines: Located in Golden, Colorado, this institute has a current enrollment of 5,790 students, of which 949 are incoming freshmen. It has a relatively high student-faculty ratio of 16:1 and a high graduation rate of 64 percent. However, an acceptance rate of 37.4 percent reveals how difficult it can be to get in to this school.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $65,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $64,500 – $66,000

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $105,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $103,000 – $110,000

9. The Stevens Institute of Technology: Situated in Hoboken, New Jersey, this institute has a current enrollment of 5,784 students, of which 622 are incoming freshmen. It has a low student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and a relatively high graduation rate of 72 percent. But getting in to this school can be difficult as an acceptance rate of 38.2 percent testifies.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $64,600

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $62,400 – $66,400

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $115,000 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $111,000 – $120,300

10. The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT): Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, this institute has a current enrollment of 2,302 students, of which 559 are incoming freshmen. It has a relatively low student-faculty ratio of 13:1 and a high graduation rate of 77 percent. This school can be relatively difficult to get into, as an acceptance rate of 56.2 percent reveals. In addition, it has an extremely expensive tuition of $42,654. However, it offers excellent financial aid, with about 97 percent of qualified freshmen receiving financial aid.

Average Median Salary after Graduation: $64,000

Average Starting Median Salary Range: $63,000 – $65,100

Mid-Career Salary after Graduation: $103,900 (for a 42-year-old employee having 15 years of experience)

Average Mid-Career Median Salary Range: $100,000 – $110,000