Earning a decent salary is one of the reasons many people are willing to take out student loans to pay for their postsecondary education. However, choosing a college that pays off in the long run is often a difficult task.
A recent survey by Pollfish found that many college students have unrealistic expectations of how much money they will earn after graduating. An average undergraduate expects to make $57,964 after graduation. However, the national median salary is $47,000 for bachelor’s degree holders with zero to five years of experience.
CNBC recently compiled a list of the top 50 U.S. schools whose graduates earn the highest average salaries in comparison to the amount they spend on obtaining their degree.
Stanford University topped the list of private schools with its graduates with more than 10 years of experience earning an average salary of $143,100. Graduates with zero to five years of experience earn a median salary of $76,500. Students with a family income between $48,001 and $75,000 usually pay $4,061 per year in tuition.
CNBC used data from Tuition Tracker, a tool created by the education-focused nonprofit news organization, The Hechinger Report, and PayScale’s College Salary Report to compile the figures.
Princeton University ranked second on the list. Its graduates with more than 10 years of experience reported making an average salary of $141,300. The net cost of tuition for a student with an income between $48,001 to $75,000 is $4,557.
The University of Chicago, the California Institute of Technology and Harvard University were ranked among the top five for payoffs between $143,100-$117,500.
Out of the eight Ivy League schools, only four, including Columbia and Yale University, were able to obtain a spot among the top ten schools that pay off the most.
The University of Washington, Seattle ranked first among public schools that pay off the most. Its graduates with more than 10 years experience earn an average salary of $111,800.
The University of Washington, Bothell, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Georgia Institute of Technology ranked among the remaining top five public schools with average graduate salaries between $131,900 and $104,100.
A survey conducted by Strada-Gallup Alumni found that more than 40 percent of graduates who started a job immediately after graduation earn $60,000 or more in personal income, compared to graduates who took two to 12 months to find a job after graduation. Those who took more than two months to land a good job earned less than $24,000.