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Ivy Leaguers' Starting Pay

How Much Does Your Alma Mater Affect Salary Potential?

Selecting the best college for you is an extensive process of weighing various pros and cons, and a new compensation study by PayScale Inc. may introduce another factor into the equation. The year-long study involved reviewing 1.2 million workers with bachelor's degrees from 300 American schools and at least 10 years of work experience, and excluded anyone with advanced degrees.

PayScale's data concluded that bachelor's degree holders from non-Ivy schools earn less than Ivy League graduates for doing the same job. Discover more about how college choice affects salary, including which school's graduates earn the highest wages, when you


  • Graduates of Dartmouth College earn the highest median salary of $134,000.
  • Columbia's graduates earn the lowest mid-career median salary ($107,000) of all the Ivy League schools surveyed.
  • The highest-paid liberal-arts-school graduates, from Bucknell University, earn a median salary of $110,000.
  • Liberal-arts-school graduates see their median total compensation grow by 95 percent after about 10 years, from $45,747 to $89,379.
  • Graduates of what the 2008 Princeton Review College Guide calls "party schools" see their incomes increase 85 percent after 10 years, from $45,715 to $84,685.
  • English majors from Harvard University earn a median starting salary of $44,500, while those from Ohio State University start their careers earning $35,000. After 10 years, the gap widens, and that 27 percent salary difference becomes 111 percent!
Join The Conversation
Glitter650 Glitter650 8 years
Yeah... but does that also take into account WHERE they are working ? (I assume they did, but) I mean sure someone with an English degree from Ohio State who stayed in Ohio to work will earn less than someone with an english degree from Harvard who stayed in the Boston area, salaries are already higher in Boston than in Ohio.
tee0206 tee0206 8 years
But what about factors like different programs and different cities? Are Ivy Leaguers more likely to live and work in large cities rather than small cities? For instance, where do Harvard English majors work? I'd guess they're more likely to stay in the northeast (Boston, NYC, etc.). On the other hand, I'm sure a large portion of Ohio State English majors end up staying in the Midwest (I went to Ohio State, and many of my college friends are still in the Ohio/Indiana area). The price of living in Boston, MA is dramatically different than it is in Columbus, OH, and I think that should be a huge factor to consider.
em113 em113 8 years
interesting, plenty of schools technically less prestigious/easier to get into than mine have graduates with starting salaries higher than ours. I think it has a lot to do with what fields graduates go into, my school sends a lot of people into the non-profit sector and that's reflected in our averages.
Swen Swen 8 years
Going to an Ivy League college definitely gives you an advantage, but I wonder more about the difference between other schools. I chose to go to a state school while others shelled out $100,000 for private schools without any big reputation, and I really don't think it makes a difference. Also, this is only based on bachelor degrees and so many fields require graduate work now, and a lot of people who couldn't make it to great undergrad schools can make it into great grad schools to make up the difference, so you're definitely not doomed if you can't get into an Ivy for college.
sorrowja sorrowja 8 years
I use to work for a company that specialized in hiring people from Ivy League School. I know for sure that they get paid more because I worked in payroll. Nevertheless all they did was walk around with blackberries and did nothing. The employees who weren't from ivy league schools like myself worked our asses off. Coming from a ivy league school means shit to me in the real world you need to be both book and street smarts. Needless to say I found another job one year later the company as gone under shows you how much they knew.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Just because some one didn't go to an Ivy League school doesn't mean they don't work hard. I would never be able to go to an Ivy League school, and it's not because I wouldn't be able to do it, it's because I wouldn't be able to afford it. Doesn't really seem fair to me. :(
raieven raieven 8 years
Uhm, what about SFSU *cough*?
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
I totally agree with this. The last job I was at hired people from "Ivy" or from infulentuial families. I have neither but I started as a temp and they evetually hired me. They hired a music major (string) from Harvard and he was an Admin ---that’s just say he could do no wrong, anything he said or ideas were gold, was not a hard worker, missed weeks every month and received 2 raises within a year. And if his boss had an important meeting they made it known he went to Harvard which made him worthy to sit in on meetings. To make it worse – his work was given to me and others to complete.
imLissy imLissy 8 years
yeah, but you have to be a really hard worker to get into the schools in the first place. wouldn't it make sense that people who are hard workers make more money? Not so much b/c of the school, but he type of person?
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