Graduates of These 10 Colleges Are Really Raking It In

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College graduate holds a piggy bank.
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For most people, going to college seems like a way to gain better career prospects, which can lead to higher income.

The HEA Group, a higher education research organization, recently examined data from the U.S. Department of Education. They assessed the income of about 5 million former students across 3,887 higher-education institutions nationwide.

They were then able to identify institutions whose graduates earned the least and the most 10 years after enrollment.

While only 18 institutions have had students who primarily earn below the federal poverty line ($14,580, for 2023), the vast majority — more than 3,400 institutions — have had students who earn well above it. More than 1,700 institutions’ typical students earn $42,000 or more per year.

But students from some schools earn significantly more than the rest. According to the HEA Group, graduates from the following universities have enjoyed the highest median salaries 10 years post-enrollment.

1. Samuel Merritt University

Happy high school student hugging excited friend with college acceptance letter
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Median earnings of students after 10 years: $129,442 per year

Main location: Oakland, California

Institution type: Private nonprofit

The Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing first opened in 1909, housing students in the dormitories on the floors above the Samuel Merritt Hospital. Its first class was made up of 13 students who graduated in 1912.

Soon after, the school expanded its academics and opened the California School of Chiropody in 1914. The university has continued to grow since.

2. University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis

African American man writing at table.
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Median earnings of students after 10 years: $129,137 per year

Main location: St. Louis, Missouri

Institution type: Private nonprofit

The university’s founder Eugene Massot began working as an apprentice at a pharmacy when he was 13 years old. There were no formal classes or degrees for pharmacy work in the Midwest at the time.

In 1852 he opened his own pharmacy. That was also the year the American Pharmaceutical Association was formed and he became very involved.

While the group’s conversations about starting a college for pharmacy stalled during the Civil War, members persisted. Massot went on to open the school in 1864 as the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. It was the first of its kind to exist west of the Mississippi River.

3. Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College
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Median earnings of students after 10 years: $128,215 per year

Main location: Claremont, California

Institution type: Private nonprofit

Harvey Mudd College was chartered in 1955. It opened its Clinic Program eight years later to give students hands-on experience. Today the program allows students to work with the science and technology behind fighting climate change, social justice issues and other global and environmental concerns.

Notable alumni from Harvey Mudd College include: Michael Gregg Wilson, a screenwriter and film producer best known for his work with the “James Bond” film series; Sean Plott, an e-sports player, commentator and game designer; and NASA astronauts George Nelson and Stanley G. Love.

The rest of the top 10

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  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (New York): $125,798
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $124,213
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: $124,126
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Massachusetts): $116,968
  • University of Pennsylvania: $112,761
  • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center: $112,739
  • Bentley University (Massachusetts): $111,896

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