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25 College Diplomas With the Highest Pay

Susan Adams
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2012 file photo, a Stanford University student walks in front of Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif. Congressional inaction could end up costing college students an extra $5,000 on their new loans. The rate for subsidized Stafford loans is set to increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, just as millions of new college students start signing up for fall courses. The difference between the two rates adds up to $6 billion. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Students who recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science are making an average salary of $84,400. Engineering grads from Stanford are earning a bit less, $74,700. The third-highest salary for grads is for nursing school alumni from New York University, at $70,200.
These numbers come from a new survey released by NerdWallet, a four-year-old personal finance website based in San Francisco. NerdWallet offers price comparisons for everything from credit cards to airport parking.

To put together its salary list, it started with the US News & World Report list of top colleges and cross-referenced it with data it culled from university career services that polled students about their starting salaries from the years 2010-2012. The numbers on the list are average salaries from those combined years. The list is not comprehensive because many schools don’t release salary info. But NerdWallet was able to get data for 100 schools on the US News list and from those 100, it pulled out the 25 highest-paying. Our slide show highlights the top 10. I list all 25 below.[gallery2012]

Some schools, like Stanford, provide salary information only for schools within the school, like engineering, No. 2 on the list. Other schools, like Carnegie Mellon, do a breakdown of salaries for various departments including computer science and technology. Not surprisingly, most of the top salary-getters have diplomas in those disciplines. But other schools like Harvey Mudd College (No. 4, at $69,000) and Princeton (No. 14, at $63,000), give salaries for the graduating class as a whole.

Some schools didn’t provide any salary information: Harvard, Yale and Brown among them. But there is other useful information about those schools on the site. Click here, enter a school’s name, and you can see what percentage of the undergraduate class is employed, what percent are in graduate school and the breakdown of which careers students are choosing. For instance, at Harvard, 64% of students are employed upon graduating and 24% are heading to grad school. The top three professions for Harvard grads are financing/investing at 24%, consulting at 14%, and education, also at 14%. NerdWallet’s tool also lets you compare statistics at up to four schools at once.

The salary list is far from complete but it offers some hard numbers that show how much new grads from some of the nation’s top programs earn. If you graduate from one of the top 25, you’re making more than $57,000.

1. Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science
Average salary: $84,400

2. Stanford University, Engineering
Average salary: $74,700

3. New York University, College of Nursing
Average salary: $70,200

4. Harvey Mudd College
Average salary: $69,200

5. University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering & Applied Science
Average salary: $66,500

6. Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon College of Science
Average salary: $65,700

7. Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Institute of Technology (College of Engineering)
Average salary: $65,700

8. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School
Average salary: $65,600

9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Average salary: $65,300

10. Cornell University, College of Engineering
Average salary: $64,300

11. Colorado School of Mines
Average salary: $64,200

12. Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Computing
Average salary: $63,500

13. Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
Average salary: $63,500

14. Princeton University
Average salary: $63,100

15. Carnegie Mellon University, Architecture & Design
Average salary: $62,700

16. Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Engineering
Average salary: $62,700

17. New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Average salary: $62,200

18. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
Average salary: $60,800

19. University of Notre Dame, College of Engineering
Average salary: $60,200

20. Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School
Average salary: $60,100

21. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Average salary: $60,000

22. Ohio State University, College of Engineering
Average salary: $59,500

23. University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
Average salary: $59,400

24. Lehigh University, College of Engineering & Applied Science
Average salary: $59,300

25. University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Average salary: $57,700