PayScale Releases 2013-14 College Salary Report, Ranking Colleges and Majors on Alumni Post-Grad Earnings

Share Article

On the heels of the Obama Administration’s College Scorecard, PayScale’s Sixth Annual College Salary Report furthers national conversation about higher education affordability and earning potential.

PayScale, Inc. today announced its 2013-14 College Salary Report. The report, which analyzes the company's database of more than 40 million unique compensation profiles, provides a critical perspective on the relationship between college selection and post-graduation salaries.

The PayScale College Salary Report assesses 1,016 schools this year, which is representative of 75 percent of all enrolled bachelor’s degree candidates in the U.S. The report specifically includes:

  •     86 percent of schools with over 5,000 undergraduate enrollment; and
  •     56 percent of schools with over 1,000 enrollment.

The full report can be found at:

“A lackluster economy, together with skyrocketing tuition and student debt have forced the current Obama administration to address the affordability and performance of our nation's schools,” said Katie Bardaro, PayScale’s lead economist. “Obama's College Scorecard reports typical costs, graduation rates, loan default rates and median borrowing but doesn't yet state future potential earnings. PayScale's annual College Salary Report makes this information available now by reporting median pay for alumni from more than 1,000 schools and 130 majors.”

Some highlights from the 2013-14 College Salary Report include:

1.    Harvey Mudd College claims the top spot on the list for highest alumni mid-career salary at $143,000. This is more than $100,000 above the alumni mid-career salary for the school at the bottom of the list, Shaw University, at $41,900.
2.    Schools with large healthcare and education programs dominate the top of the list for percentage of alumni reporting high job meaning post-graduation. The top three schools for high job meaning are Thomas Jefferson University (84 percent), University of New England (82 percent) and Trident University International (81 percent).
3.    Once again, Petroleum Engineering comes out on top for majors with the highest salary potential with a mid-career salary of $160,000, followed by Actuarial Mathematics at $120,000 and Nuclear Engineering at $117,000.
4.    The most meaningful majors reported by alumni are Nursing (85 percent), Special Education (82 percent) and Medical Technology (79 percent).
5.    The top 10 highest earning schools’ graduates earn an average of $124,300 at mid-career (up 1.5 percent from last year’s top 10) while the bottom 10 schools’ graduates earn an average of $45,240 at mid-career (almost the same as last year).

New for 2013, the report includes a survey of PayScale users about their educational experience and whether they would recommend their schools and majors. This additional survey question is based on a sample of 27,300 users. Some of the findings include:

  •     The six schools where more than 95 percent of users say they would make the same school choice are Colorado School of Mines (100 percent), University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt University, Gonzaga University and Stanford University (all 96 percent).
  •     The five schools where 50 percent or less of users say they would make the same school choice are Montclair State University, UMASS-Boston (both 50 percent), University of Texas at El Paso (48 percent), Strayer University-DC (45 percent) and Johnson & Wales University (41 percent).
  •     Six of the top 10 most recommended majors are Engineering Specialties. The remaining four are Supply Chain Management (93 percent), Computer Science (83 percent), Nursing and Accounting (both 82 percent).
  •     The 10 least recommended majors are dominated by art specialties and social sciences (e.g., anthropology, political science, sociology, etc.) However, the one social science major that fares relatively well is Economics, with 66 percent recommending it.

PayScale’s college alumni earnings data have been used for a variety of projects to help students understand the relationship between school and major choice and future income potential, from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s College Reality Check tool to Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett’s recent book “Is College Worth It?”

“We’re excited to see PayScale’s data being used to ensure students have all the information before they choose how to invest their tuition dollars,” said Lydia Frank, PayScale’s consumer marketing director. “Salary potential after graduation isn’t the whole equation, but it’s an incredibly important part, and we think there are more ways this data can be utilized.”

A note on methodology for the PayScale College Salary Report: All data used to produce the 2013-14 PayScale College Salary Report were collected from employees who successfully completed PayScale's salary 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 methodology visit:

About PayScale
Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative search and query algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale IndexTM, PayScale's subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate TM and PayScale Insight TM. Among PayScale's 2,200 corporate customers are organizations small and large across industries including Zappos, Volunteers of America and Manpower.

Follow PayScale on Twitter: @payscale
Find PayScale on Facebook:

PRESS CONTACT:                    
Steven Gottlieb                        
(206) 427-9591                        

Lydia Frank
(206) 576-5063

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Steven Gottlieb
+1 (206) 427-9591
Email >
Visit website