PayScale’s 2011 College Salary Report Shows Continuing Decrease In Pay for College Graduates

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Fourth annual report indicates economic climate negatively impacting starting salaries; report analyzes starting and mid-career pay of 1000+ U.S. colleges and universities

PayScale, Inc. today announced its 2011 College Salary Report. The report, which analyzes the company's database of over 29 million unique compensation profiles, provides a critical perspective on the relationship between college selection and both starting and mid-career salaries.

For the first time, Princeton tops the list with the highest mid-career salary for its graduates. Princeton is the only school with median mid-career pay over $125,000/year. In 2008, the first year of the report and before the financial crisis, five schools had a mid-career median over $125,000 (Dartmouth, Princeton, MIT, Stanford and Yale).

“The financial collapse and jobless recovery continues to affect pay, even at mid-career – there is even some evidence of accelerating wage decreases for the top schools,” said Dr. Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at PayScale. “As in years past, it is very much about the degree: engineering- and healthcare-focused schools top the list.”

The PayScale 2011 College Salary Report pulls together over 2,500 data points, including salary data for 120 bachelor's degree majors and from 1,004 U.S. based undergraduate colleges and universities. The full report can be found at

Some highlights from the 2011 College Salary Report include:

  •     The best-ranked public university is SUNY Maritime College (#12) – impressive entrance for the first time on the list – and is the only state university in the top 20.
  •     Average mid-career pay for the top 20 schools is $112,200: This is down 2.8 percent from 2010 and 5.3 percent from 2008.
  •     Average mid-career pay of all 1,004 schools in the report for 2011 is $73,100, down 0.7 percent from 2010.
  •     California and the northeast schools dominate the top 20: only Colorado School of Mines (#6), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (#9), Missouri University of Science and Technology (#15) and Georgia Institute of Technology (#18) are outside California and the northeast.
  •     Healthcare schools represent four of the top 20: Loma Linda (#3), Molloy (#5), Thomas Jefferson (#11), Felician (#14).
  •     Of the top 20, 14 have a strong engineering and science focus.

Adds Lee: “The downward effect on starting pay for college grads of the jobless recovery is clear in the data. For example, the average starting pay for graduates of the top 10 schools is $63,900. Good pay, but down 1.5 percent from a year earlier. In 2008, before the financial collapse, four schools had median starting pay above $70,000/year: Cal Tech, MIT, Harvey Mudd and Stanford – in the 2011 list, no school does.”

A note on methodology: All data used to produce the 2011 PayScale College Salary Report were collected from employees who successfully completed PayScale's employee survey. Self-employed, project-based, and contract employees are not included. For example, project-based graphic designers and architects, and nearly all small business owners and novelists, are not included. For more detailed salary methodology visit:

About PayScale ( is the leading online provider of employee compensation data. With the world's largest database of individual compensation profiles, PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. PayScale's patent-pending, real-time profiling technology collects and indexes employee pay attributes worldwide and makes this compensation data available through its online salary tools and salary benchmarking reports. PayScale was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle. For more information, visit:

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