Georgia Tech offers “the best academic deal in America” when it comes to which colleges and universities help graduates reel in the biggest paychecks considering the tuition they had to fork over, according to to SmartMoney.
In fact, Georgia has two schools in the Top 5: The University of Georgia ranks No. 4, behind Tech, the University of Florida (2) and the University of Texas at Austin (3). (See complete table here – pdf). From SmartMoney:
Recent Georgia Tech grads earn $59,000, or a stellar 67% of what they paid in tuition. Grads in their 30s average $102,000 a year, more than three times their 1990s tuition tab.
President G.P. Peterson credits the focus of virtually all Tech students on science-oriented disciplines, including engineering and computer and software design, and Tech’s “fortunate position” of being able to get tuition subsidies from the state thanks to the HOPE scholarship. It also helps that the hottest careers are currently in the technology industry.
SmartMoney, with the help of Seattle-based compensation data company PayScale, relied on 35 million salary profiles to come up with median pay figures for two groups of alumni at each of the Top 50 most expensive schools on the list. One group was the Class of 2009 and the other was the Class of 1997, who were now getting mid-career salaries.
The median salary was divided by total tuition and fees for each of the four-year periods. The result was converted to a percentage figure, and the outcome was a measure of return on investment, or a “Payback Score”.
Tech’s Class of 2009, who paid $87,810 for four years of college, had a median salary of $59,000 today. The Class of 1997, who paid $30,249 for four years of college, had a median salary of $102,000 today.
Georgia’s Class of 2009, whose members paid $77,957 for four years of college, have a median salary of $41,100 today. The Class of 1997, whose members paid $27,865 for four years of college, have a median salary of $79,200.
The thousands more in tuition paid by private college school graduates also didn’t translate into a much higher salary return when compared with the pay public college graduates were seeing. The study found the average salary for the public college Class of 2009 was $47,790, compared with $46,024 for their private liberal arts counterparts. The salary was $87,257 for the public college Class of 1997, compared with $91,019 for their private school counterparts. From SmartMoney:
By their mid-30s, alumni of the 21 private liberal-arts schools we surveyed are pulling down only about 4% more than their public school peers, despite having spent almost twice as much on tuition (assuming they paid the sticker price).
What kind of return are you getting on your college investment as you glance at your paycheck?