A lot of factors should go into the process of deciding what college or university to attend. Parents tend to look more toward academic standing or tradition, while students have been known to cite the attractiveness of the campus, the prowess of the athletic teams or even the proximity to campus of beaches, ski slopes or bustling night life.
If you choose a more analytic approach to college selection, though, you might want to look at PayScale’s 2014-15 College Salary Report, which ranks more than 1, 000 colleges and universities by the median salaries of alumni who received a four-year degree. The list’s creators argue that by knowing how much you can expect to earn after getting your bachelor’s degree, you can choose a school wisely and set yourself up for future financial security, especially when evaluating how much to borrow to help pay for your education.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville took highest honors in the state for starting salaries, at $52, 000 a year. Auburn University ranked higher in the overall list, based on median salaries, but still trailed UAH in starting salaries with its $47, 100 a year average. The University of Alabama’s main campus was third in the state, with a $43, 600 average starting salary.
Other state schools on the list and their starting salaries were: University of Alabama at Birmingham, $41, 200; University of South Alabama, $47, 000; Alabama A&M, $44, 400 and the University of North Alabama, $36, 900.
Once again, Harvey Mudd College in Southern California took the top spot for highest alumni earnings. The median mid-career salary for Harvey Mudd alumni is $133, 800 — almost $4, 000 more than the runner-up, the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Critics of the list note that it doesn’t take into account the cost of living where each salary is earned. Harvey Mudd is located in pricey Los Angeles.
Text by Dave Helms