Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn Most Money

College rankings on use recent data about four-year colleges from publicly available sources using transparent methodology. This is a ranking of colleges by median salary in descending order. Only colleges that are big are included. See if your school is in the ranking!

Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn Most Money

Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn the Most Money

Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn Most Money

There are many reasons why students would want to head to college after graduating from high school, such as learning more about a specific subject, getting a better job and earning more money after graduation. Likewise, there are also many factors as to why a person would want to go back to college later on in life if he or she didn't have the opportunity to complete higher education when at a younger age.

Whether it's to have a unique experience, broaden your mind, or simply earn your degree, in general, most people choose to go to college so that they can have more job opportunities in the future. And, if those job opportunities are high-paying, then all the better, especially since college tuition in the United States is extremely expensive. If your main objective is to earn a lot of money once you graduate with your degree, then consider applying to a big college where graduates reportedly earn the highest average salaries in the nation.

Interested in learning more? Read on for the top 20 colleges. To dig into the numbers, read our methodology and study on Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn the Most Money.

University of California, Berkeley

Graduates of the University of California, Berkeley are some of the highest earning in the country. With an average salary of $82,000 among alumni according to, it's no wonder why students would want to start their higher education journey here. Not only that, but those alumni who are at a mid-career salary level have reported earning an average salary of $136,900. While the career outlook is promising, this school can be rather difficult to get into. Therefore, high school students should continue to work hard in order to make their application stand out when it comes time to apply for school.

University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland, College Park took a survey of 1,826 graduates in 2017 to understand more about the average salaries these former students were earning upon entering the job market. What they found was out of these graduates, those in the 25th percentile made an average of $35,871, those in the 50th percentile made an average of $52,608 and those in the 75th percentile made a high average of $64,947. Best of all, 91 percent of the 1,643 students that completed the survey said that the job they got upon graduation was either directly aligned to or at least a foot in the door leading to the career path they desired.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute State University

Graduates of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute State University, otherwise known as "Virginia Tech," reportedly make an average of $72,000 in their first job, according to The average early career salary is $58,000, and the average mid-career salary, for those with a few years of experience under their belt after graduation, is $110,200. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, those who graduate from this school have a promising future to look forward to.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The annual report published by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor outlines detailed information regarding the salary of both of the school's bachelor's and master's students after graduation. For engineering bachelor's graduates of the 2016 to 2017 class, the average salary was $77,976, and for graduate students of the same major, the average salary was $85,992. The lowest average salary was for government/military bachelor's graduates, at $58,235, while the highest-earning was for retail bachelor's students at $99,484.

New York University

The 2016 graduates of New York University have helped the school make headlines for their record-breaking, top-earning salaries. The average salary for graduates in 2016 was $61,478 according to NYU's website. Those who graduated from NYU's Rory Meyers College of Nursing were the highest-earning graduates with an average salary of $88,995. The lowest earning were graduates from the Tandon School of Engineering, who earned an average salary of $65,200.

University of California, Los Angeles

Students who attend the University of California, Los Angeles will have many programs to choose from, whether they are starting as an undergraduate or a doctorate student. Of course, the average salary based on degree ranges quite a bit, but it's still high across the board. According to, graduates with a bachelor's degree from UCLA earn anywhere between $83,000 and $85,000 on average, with master's graduates earning an average of $101,000.

University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego, also known as UCSD, had their graduates earning a bit less than graduates of UCLA. Salaries were still high compared to graduates from other schools throughout the rest of the country. The overall average starting salary for graduates was $51,463. Yet, those who graduated with a bachelor's in a technology major earned an average salary that was much higher, at $70,069.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

According to the 2016-2017 Annual Report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduates are doing quite well in terms of job placement and salary. As the data suggests, 63 percent of full-time employed respondents who were recent alumni of the school, were able to give details about their salary. Based on their information, the average salary of graduates from all programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was $59,494. The highest average salary was $75,450, and that number belongs to graduates of the engineering program.

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University attracts many students for its nationally-recognized sports programs as well as its commitment to religion. But, it's not just these factors that make this school unique. It's also the success in academia that makes this college just as desirable for young students who want a comfortable living upon graduation. After all, according to, graduates of Brigham Young University make an average salary of $72,000, with the average mid-career salary as high as $114,400.

Rutgers University, New Brunswick

There are many different majors that students can choose from at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Depending on which major you choose to pursue while you're in school and eventually earn your degree in, your salary may be higher or lower than the median starting salary of graduates here, which is $55,000. For example, students who graduated from the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy had a median starting salary of $114,000, while those from the Mason Gross School of the Arts has a median starting salary of $35,000. Either way, the outlook isn't too bad for graduates here.

University of California, Davis

Graduates of University of California, Davis, otherwise known as UC Davis, reported earning an average salary of $74,000, according to The salary averages range from an early career salary at $57,700 to the mid-career salary at a high $116,300. This is just one of the many University of California schools that each offer diverse study options for students, especially for those who are looking to make a lot of money when they graduate.

Texas A&M University, College Station

Texas A&M, like NYU, is another big college that has made headlines for the salaries earned by their graduates. In fact, this school was number one in Texas for highest average salary rates among graduates in the entire state, at $99,700 for mid-career alumni as of 2017. Not only that, but Texas A&M University, College Station made similar ranks a few years in a row.

University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine, commonly referred to as UCI, has high median salaries to report, depending on how long a particular graduate has been out of school. Those who are two years out have reported an annual median salary of $39,435. Alumni who have been out of school for five years have reported an annual median salary of $54,472, while graduates who have been out of school for 10 years have reported earning $74,856 on average.

Purdue University, Main Campus

Purdue University, Main Campus reports the average salaries of their alumni by combining the earnings of graduate students from both bachelor's and professional degree programs together. Therefore, it's a bit difficult to get an accurate number since the majors are so varied and bachelor's and master's students can earn very different salaries. That being said, reports that the average salary of Purdue graduates is $80,000. For more specific information based on major and degree level, visit Purdue's website.

The University of Texas at Austin

Information regarding the average salary of graduates of the University of Texas at Austin comes from the Class of 2016 School of Information Employment Report released by the school itself. Based on this report, the average salary of all jobs in this sector (Information) was $62,000 at the higher end of the scale. However, it's not entirely clear what graduates of other programs made, though reports the average salary at $72,000 among all majors.

University of Washington, Seattle Campus

The University of Washington, Seattle Campus has information about where many of their graduates end up after college but it does not report individual information on salaries. That being said, according to information at, the job outlook looks quite promising for future students. It states that the average salary of University of Washington's graduates is at $73,000, and ranges from $57,300 as an early career salary to $108,800 for the mid-career level average salary.

University of Wisconsin, Madison

The University of Wisconsin, Madison is another popular choice for students who want to go to a big college with an even bigger sports following. But, it's also a great school for those who want to make a nice salary upon graduating from college. According to, the average salary for graduates of this school is at $53,400 for early career pay and $98,400 for mid-career pay.

San Jose State University

The average salary for graduates of San Jose State University is quite high, according to Graduates from this California college have reported an average salary of $81,000. The average salaries range, though, with the early career average salary at $58,500, and the mid-career level average salary at $108,700.

University of Florida

The University of Florida is a large school with approximately 37,000 undergraduates, all of whom represent the famed Florida Gators. This school has a great reputation for students who want to quickly earn the money back that they initially put into their college education (and then some), as this school ranks high in terms of ROI. This is probably because the average salary of graduates from the University of Florida is $70,000, according to

University of California, Santa Barbara

The University of California and its numerous branches certainly have a good reputation when it comes to making sure their alumni are taken care of. According to, the average salary of the University of California, Santa Barbara is up there with other University of California schools, at $74,000. The USBC website has more specific information regarding average salaries of graduates based on their major, however, it has not been updated since 2015.

Big Colleges Where Graduates Earn Most Money - Complete List

Rank College Median Salary # Students
1 University of California-Berkeley $61,800 28,108
2 University of Maryland-College Park $61,700 26,350
3 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $60,500 25,213
4 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $60,100 27,969
5 New York University $59,600 24,888
6 University of California-Los Angeles $58,700 30,343
7 University of California-San Diego $58,600 27,386
8 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $57,600 32,540
9 Brigham Young University-Provo $56,800 28,012
10 Rutgers University-New Brunswick $56,400 34,020
11 University of California-Davis $56,300 28,564
12 Texas A & M University-College Station $55,500 45,091
13 University of California-Irvine $55,100 26,889
14 Purdue University-Main Campus $55,000 29,309
15 The University of Texas at Austin $54,900 37,234
16 University of Washington-Seattle Campus $54,800 28,380
17 University of Wisconsin-Madison $54,200 28,577
18 San Jose State University $53,700 21,613
19 University of Florida $53,100 31,014
20 University of California-Santa Barbara $52,500 21,199
21 Michigan State University $51,500 35,447
22 California State Polytechnic University-Pomona $51,100 21,148
23 University of Iowa $50,200 20,868
24 University of Houston $49,900 25,818
25 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities $49,800 29,566
26 University of Massachusetts-Amherst $49,700 21,460
27 Texas Tech University $49,300 26,627
27 North Carolina State University at Raleigh $49,300 20,951
29 Temple University $48,600 26,277
29 Washington State University $48,600 21,652
29 Iowa State University $48,600 28,872
32 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus $48,500 40,139
32 University of Georgia $48,500 26,328
34 San Diego State University $48,300 26,790
35 University of Colorado Boulder $48,100 25,802
36 San Francisco State University $48,000 21,515
37 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College $47,600 23,212
38 California State University-Sacramento $47,200 23,234
39 Auburn University $47,100 20,396
39 California State University-Long Beach $47,100 27,953
41 University of Missouri-Columbia $46,100 24,124
41 Indiana University-Bloomington $46,100 32,005
43 University of Arizona $45,800 29,149
44 Arizona State University-Tempe $45,400 38,946
45 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $45,000 21,977
46 Florida State University $44,900 29,281
47 California State University-Fullerton $44,500 27,994
48 Texas State University $44,400 28,180
49 Florida International University $44,200 26,312
50 West Virginia University $44,000 20,524
50 The University of Texas at San Antonio $44,000 20,222
52 California State University-Los Angeles $43,900 20,022
53 Ohio State University-Main Campus $43,700 41,862
54 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville $43,400 20,778
54 California State University-Northridge $43,400 29,104
56 University of Central Florida $43,300 38,508
56 University of North Texas $43,300 25,486
58 University of South Carolina-Columbia $43,000 24,382
58 University of Kentucky $43,000 20,833
60 University of North Carolina at Charlotte $42,700 20,263
60 The University of Alabama $42,700 29,220
62 Virginia Commonwealth University $42,200 20,264
63 University of South Florida-Main Campus $41,800 24,013
64 Southern New Hampshire University $41,700 21,868
65 Ashford University $40,900 35,868
66 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus $39,500 21,558
67 Northern Arizona University $39,300 21,494
68 Western Governors University $38,800 63,961
69 Liberty University $35,200 27,112
70 Miami Dade College $30,000 21,075