Where you go to college can affect the rest of your life — and not just because student debt can haunt you.
New research shows that the right school can boost your salary to six figures.
The findings are broken down in a report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program titled “Beyond College Rankings: A Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools.”
In using this “value-added” approach, researchers measured the difference between actual alumni outcomes (like salaries) and predicted outcomes for institutions with similar characteristics and students.
A university’s “value-added” rating depended on both measurable aspects of school quality (such as graduation rates and the market value of the skills a college teaches) and unmeasurable factors (such as exceptional leadership).
The analysis found that the average four-year school has a value-added of 9 percent, while the highest-ranked four-year school, the California Institute of Technology, has a value-added of 49 percent.
Unfamiliar with Caltech? It’s the school credited with developing a technology that may allow you to take 3-D photos with your phone.
The Pasadena Star-News reported earlier this month:
An inexpensive silicon chip smaller than a square millimeter could scan images at a resolution that is three orders of magnitude better than what today’s 3-D scanners could produce.
While the Brookings Institution admits that value-added rankings are imperfect, it argues they are an improvement on conventional college rankings and “fill a demand for greater transparency and accountability in higher education,” according to a press release.
The report’s highest-ranked four-year schools are:
1. California Institute of Technology
- Value-added: 49 percent
- Predicted mid-career earnings: $77,129
- Actual mid-career earnings: $126,200 (compared to an average of $75,900 for all four-year and higher colleges)
2. Colgate University (New York)
- Value-added: 46 percent
- Predicted mid-career earnings: $79,774
- Actual mid-career earnings: $126,600
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Value-added: 45 percent
- Predicted mid-career earnings: $82,439
- Actual mid-career earnings: $128,800
4. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana)
- Value-added: 44 percent
- Predicted mid-career earnings: $73,628
- Actual mid-career earnings: $114,100
5. Carleton College (Minnesota)
- Value-added: 43 percent
- Predicted mid-career earnings: $76,236
- Actual mid-career earnings: $117,700
The other top-ranked four-year schools are:
- Washington and Lee University (Virginia)
- SUNY Maritime College (New York)
- Clarkson University (New York)
- Manhattan College (New York)
- Stanford University (California)
- Harvey Mudd College (California)
- Rice University (Texas)
- Marietta College (Ohio)
- Virginia Military Institute
- Polytechnic Institute of New York University
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts)
- St. Mary’s University (Texas)
- Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey)
- Bradley University (Illinois)
- Georgia Institute of Technology, main campus
The top-ranked two-year schools are:
- New Hampshire Technical Institute Concord
- Lee College (Texas)
- Pearl River Community College (Mississippi)
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