What are the Top Colleges by Salary Potential?

Each year, Payscale.com publishes its rankings on which four-year colleges pay off the most for graduates.

(Data is collected on Payscale’s web site, with a goal of figuring out which colleges give the highest return on investment in the context of salary.)

Not shockingly, Ivy League colleges, engineering and tech schools rate highest.

Here are the top 10 colleges and universities ranked by highest starting (median) salary…

1. Loma Linda University – $71,400
Loma Linda, California
Undergraduate enrollment: roughly 4,000 students
Undergraduate tuition: Varies by program; up to $32,164 plus fees

A Seventh-day Adventist co-ed college, Loma Linda offers strong programs in nursing, dental and allied health.

2. MIT – $71,100
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,152 students
Undergraduate tuition: $37,782 (tuition and fees)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s most popular department is its well-known Computer Science school, while its School of Engineering has been ranked first by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 61% of students received some form of need-based financial aid.

3. Harvey Mudd College – $71,000
Claremont, California
Undergraduate enrollment: 738
Undergraduate tuition: $51,037 (tuition plus student body fee and room & board, 2009 – 2010)

Harvey Mudd’s mission is to give burgeoning engineers, scientists and mathematicians a diverse education in both the sciences and the arts, or – as they call it – “science with a conscience.” Students are required to take a full one-third of their courses in the humanities. Over 80% of students receive financial aid, with 40% qualifying for awards based on merit.

4. California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) – $69,700
Pasadena, California
Undergraduate enrollment: 951
Undergraduate tuition: $34,989 (2010–2011)

One of the highest-rated schools for engineering, technology, and physical sciences, Cal Tech is also regarded for its honor code, which permits faculty to assign take-home exams.

5. Stanford University – $67,500
Stanford, California
Undergraduate enrollment: 6,878
Undergraduate tuition: $36,030 (2008–2009)

Four years at Stanford come with a healthy emphasis on the arts and sciences. The university is organized into seven schools: Humanities & Sciences, Engineering, Earth Sciences, Education, Business, Law, and Medicine.

6. Carnegie Mellon University – $65,300
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,705
Undergraduate tuition: $40,920

In 2009, Carnegie Mellon received a record number of applicants: over 23,000. The admission rate that year was 27.4%.

7. Princeton University – $65,000
Princeton, New Jersey
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,113
Undergraduate tuition: $48,580 (total yearly cost)

One of the world’s most selective colleges, Princeton admitted just 8% of undergraduate applicants in 2010. Roughly 60% of incoming students get some kind of financial aid, yet seniors on aid are estimated to graduate with an average debt of just $2,360, compared to the national average of roughly 20,000.

8. Polytechnic University of New York – $62,700
Brooklyn, New York
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,732
Undergraduate tuition and fees: $36,284

9. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – $62,500
Troy, New York
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,394
Undergraduate tuition and fees: $34,900

10. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – $61,100
Terre Haute, Indiana
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,840
Undergraduate tuition and fees: $30,243

To your successful college search,

Jodi Pollster
Director of Education,
CollegeMadeSimple.com and the College Planning Network

Related Articles:

How to Pick the Right College in 2011

America’s 15 Best Colleges of 2011

Colleges with the Best Return on Investment

Return to College Made Simple's Free Reports

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.