Where you go to college can have a huge effect on how much you make over your career, even more than your major. The differences get magnified later in life.
A yearlong study conducted by the compensation company PayScale Inc. found that Virginia Tech grads earned more upon graduating than UVA grads. But after ten years in the workforce, UVA grads earn more, on average. VCU grads earned significantly less than both UVA grads and VCU grads at both the beginning and middle of their careers.
Six Virginia schools took part in the study. Washington and Lee University had the highest starting salary at $53,600 and the highest midcareer salary, $104,000. UVA was a close second at $103,000 at mid-career. At the bottom was Virginia Commonwealth University, with the lowest starting salary of $42,000 and the lowest midcareer salary, $68,400.
The study was based on a survey of 1.2 million bachelor’s degree graduates with a minimum of 10 years of work experience. Subjects came from over 300 different schools ranging from state institutions to the Ivy League.
The median starting salary for Ivy League graduates is 32% higher than that of non-Ivy League grads. At the midcareer point, the number rises slightly to 34%. This means that incomes tend to grow at similar rates, despite variances in starting salary.
The study found that graduates of Dartmouth had the highest median salary at $134,000. The highest-paid non-Ivy League graduates, from Bucknell University, had a median salary of $110,000. This is slightly higher than the lowest median salary for an Ivy Leaguer, which went to Columbia at $107,000.
School Name – School Type – Starting Median Salary – Midcareer Median Salary
George Mason University – State – $47,800 – $86,000
Randolph-Macon College – Party – $42,600 – $83,600
University of Richmond – Liberal Arts – $48,600 – $94,600
University of Virginia – State – $52,700 – $103,000
Virginia Commonwealth University – State – $42,000 – $68,400
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Engineering – $53,500 – $95,400
Washington and Lee University – Liberal Arts – $53,600 – $104,000