10 Colleges With the Highest Earning Graduates

By Heidi Green , last updated December 23, 2011

A school's academic rigor and reputation often lead to better jobs, so you might be interested in learning about the 10 colleges that have the highest earning graduates. In doing so, you can focus your efforts accordingly. As you might expect, plenty of Ivy League universities end up on this prestigious list, but you may be surprised at the number of tech schools that make rank. In addition, a large number of small, private liberal arts schools rank highly, as well, making the thought of an English degree a little less scary! Here are the top ten schools with high earning graduates for 2011, ranked in increasing order of starting median salaries after graduation.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth is the smallest school in the Ivy League, but certainly not the least prestigious. Established in 1769, Dartmouth has a deep history and world class academic program. Hosting the well regarded Tuck School of Business, as well as a highly ranked liberal arts program, a Dartmouth education can foster a wide range of careers. Dartmouth alumni have gone on to hold high positions in government and industry. A new graduate can expect to be earning over $51,000 in their very first jobs.

Duke University

Well known for a vibrant sports program and cutting edge research facilities, Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, is one of the largest universities by population in the nation. Known for an extremely well regarded business program for both undergraduates and graduates, Duke also maintains a highly ranking medical and nursing school. New graduates can expect to earn salaries equal to about $54,000 right after graduation.

Harvard University

Possibly one of the most highly regarded educational institutions in the world, Harvard has been the academic home to everyone from John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama to Mark Zuckerburg and Henry David Thoreau. Excelling in nearly every field, the colleges at Harvard guarantee well rounded and developed students. In their first jobs, Harvard graduates can expect to earn salaries over $54,000 a year.

Princeton University

Coming in at the top of the list is the cream of the Ivy League crop, Princeton University. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, this school was established in 1746 and is known for producing a high amount of Nobel Prize winners. For their first position, a Princeton alumnus can expect to earn a salary up to $56,900 a year.

Lehigh University

Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is known for producing some of the finest engineering and business graduates in the country, but it is also well known for a strong science program. Featuring fairly small class sizes and a strong and active Greek life, Lehigh also has an active alumni base across the country. A graduate of Lehigh is expected to receive a median starting salary of slightly over $57,000.

Stanford University

A private research university located in Stanford, California, Stanford University is one of the most prestigious institutions on the West Coast, if not the world. Comprised of seven, highly acclaimed individual schools, Stanford is notable in that it actually has more graduate students attending than undergraduates. With highly rated extracurricular programs and active student life, many students gain from their time at Stanford. In addition, graduates can expect to make over $58,000 salaries after graduating.

Polytechnic Institute of New York University

The Polytechnic Institute of New York University, also known as "NYU Poly," is actually one of the oldest private technical schools in the country. Known for its state of the art facilities and top notch engineering, chemistry, and computer science programs, NYU Poly can boast of several Nobel Prize winners and famous inventors and scientists among its alumni. A freshly minted graduate of NYU Poly can expect to make an initial salary of about $61,000 in their first job.

Harvey Mudd College

A smaller and private liberal arts college located in Southern California, Harvey Mudd College specializes in engineering and mathematics fields. Because these fields are experiencing rapid growth, a graduate from Harvey Mudd College can expect to make a whopping $64,400 salary in their first year out of college!

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Who can feign ignorance of the world-renowned MIT? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is quickly becoming a breeding ground for technological innovation and famous alumni who excel in the science and engineering worlds. With famous graduates including Buzz Aldrin, Ben Bernanke, I.M. Pei, Benjamin Netanyahu and Kofi Annan, it's no wonder that graduates can expect to earn at least $69,700 right after graduation.

California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology, also known as "Caltech," is well known for its cutting edge scientific research. With students specializing in highly technical and highly sought after fields, a brand new graduate can actually expect to make just under $70,000 for their first year's salary!

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