Here Is the Best College in Your State If You Want a Big Salary

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Male student with textbooks in one hand, a piggybank in the other.
Elnur /

Sure, if you can manage to go to a university like Harvard or Stanford, you’re bound to find a well-paying job after graduating. But what about the rest of us?

It turns out there is hope for students who aim to earn a solid salary but can’t attend an Ivy League school. Those students still need to choose their university wisely, though.

A recent analysis by Zippia, a site that helps recent grads start their careers, has pinpointed the one school in each state with the highest-grossing graduates. In many states, an Ivy League or other well-known top-tier school ranks No. 1. But in some states, it’s a public school or little-known university that comes out on top.

Take New York’s Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, for example. Its graduates earn $101,150 a year, on average — beating out grads of Cornell University and Columbia University.

Zippia’s analysis is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System database.

Keep in mind that the analysis identified the one school in each state whose graduates have the highest earnings. So, because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in second in its state (after Harvard), MIT does not appear on Zippia’s list despite its grads having the second-highest earnings in the nation.

Here are the 15 states whose top-ranked universities produce graduates with the highest average earnings:

  1. Massachusetts: Harvard University — $118,400 average earnings
  2. California: Stanford University — $112,850
  3. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania — $102,850
  4. New York: Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences — $101,150
  5. North Carolina: Duke University — $97,600
  6. New Jersey: Princeton University — $92,300
  7. Connecticut: Yale University — $85,850
  8. New Hampshire: Dartmouth College — $85,100
  9. Illinois: University of Chicago — $82,800
  10. Maine: Maine Maritime Academy — $79,550
  11. Indiana: University of Notre Dame — $78,300
  12. Virginia: Washington and Lee University — $75,950
  13. Colorado: Colorado School of Mines — $74,250
  14. Maryland: Johns Hopkins University — $74,000
  15. Ohio: Case Western Reserve University — $71,600

To view the top school in other states, check out Zippia’s report.

Still set on a prestigious university? It might not cost as much as you think. Some of the nation’s best schools offer the best deals, as we learned earlier this week from U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges rankings.

U.S. News’ rankings include a “Best Value” category — and Princeton, Harvard and Yale round out the top three slots, followed by several similarly top-notch schools.

The publication ranked schools in this category based on academic quality — as indicated by the Best Colleges rankings — and the net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

At Princeton, for example, 60 percent of full-time undergraduates receive need-based financial aid — about $47,500 worth, on average. That makes the cost of attending this Ivy League school about $16,800 after grants.

For more ways to save on college, check out “5 Ways to Dramatically Reduce the Cost of College.”

What’s your take on this news? Sound off in a comment below or on Facebook.

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