The Public Colleges Where Graduates Earn The Most

by Kathy Morris
Study - 9 months ago

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best public colleges for student earnings

Sure, people go to college to find themselves, but mostly they go to find a good paying job.

However, not all colleges are created equal. Yes, just like what you major in, where you go to school has major implications for your future earning potential. Some colleges set up students for success, while others leave them bogged down with student loans and scrambling for a job. We dove into the data to find the public college in each state with the highest earning graduates.

You’ll see each state’s money maker in a second, but first, here are the top 10:

The 10 Public Colleges Where Graduates Earn The Most

  1. Maryland – University of Maryland Baltimore
  2. Georgia – Georgia Institute of Technology
  3. Virginia – University of Virginia
  4. California – University of California-Berkeley
  5. Michigan – University of Michigan
  6. Texas – The University of Texas at Austin
  7. Illinois – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  8. New Jersey – New Jersey Institute of Technology
  9. Washington – University of Washington-Seattle Campus
  10. North Carolina – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Graduates at these 10 successful colleges have earnings ranging from $68,800 to $114,200.

Your state didn’t make the top 10? Scroll down to the bottom to see which university in your state has the most to offer graduates. Otherwise, keep reading to see how we uncovered the public colleges that pay off the most.

How We Determined The Highest Paying Public Universities

Using the most recent College Scorecard data, we looked at the public schools in each state with the highest average earners 10 years after entry.

This translates to the average earnings of graduates working 10 years after entry. We figured 10 years gave everyone plenty of time to finish further education (masters, etc), land a professional job, and further their career.

We only focused on public four-year institutions that primarily offer bachelors degrees, so no private colleges or community colleges were included in the study.

Read on for a closer look at the top 10 states, then a list of each state’s top earning school at the end:

Maryland – University of Maryland Baltimore


Source:Wikipedia User Eli Pousson

Average Earnings: $114,200

The University of Maryland is the #1 college for earnings with graduates from the University of Maryland Baltimore on average earning $114,200. This impressive number is significantly higher than other public schools on the list. The second entry is almost $30,000 below what UMB graduates can expect to pull in.

Georgia – Georgia Institute of Technology


Source:Wikipedia User Jsimms3

Average Earnings: $85,900

Anyone looking to study in a warm weathered climate and pull in a fat paycheck should consider Georgia Tech. In addition to being a leading research university with a strong engineering program, Georgia Tech graduates on average earn $85,900.

Virginia – University of Virginia


Source:Wikipedia User Bestbudbrian

Average Earnings: $79,400

The University of Virginia sits in Charlottesville which had the hottest job market of 2019. This means that UVA graduates don’t have to look far to land a well paying job and start working their way to the average salary of $79,400 a year.

California – University of California – Berkeley


Source:Flickr User Charlie Nguyen

Average Earnings: $79,000

The University of California, Berkeley is the oldest college in the University of California system. California has some of the strongest public universities in the nation, so Berkeley beat out steep competition to nab this spot. Berkeley graduates earn on average a healthy $79,000. That’s really nice.

Michigan – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

university of michigan


Average Earnings: $79,000

Michigan graduates on average earn $79,000 ten years after enrolling in UM. In addition to offering students a healthy earning potential, Michigan is a renowned research institution and leader in biomedical science, engineering, medicine, and more. Go Wolverines.

Texas – The University of Texas at Austin


Source:tu Seeger

Average Earnings: $73,900

University of Texas, Austin graduates on average earn more than any other Texas University. Longhorn students get a strong education that sets them up for success in the job market upon graduations. Additionally, UT Austin has a great track record of providing excellent opportunities for veteran students.

Illinois- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

university of illinois


Average Earnings: $70,900

Nestled in between Urbana and Champaign is the University of Illinois. Students who attend the U of I on average earn more money than any other public Illinois university (and more than all but 6 colleges on our list.)

New Jersey – New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey

Source:Wikipedia User Jim Henderson

Average Earnings: $70,300

New Jersey’s best public school for future earning potential is the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT is located in bustling Newark and 10 years after enrollment students on average bring in a cushy $70,300 a year. If the name doesn’t give it away, NJIT is know for all things STEM, making it the perfect school for someone looking to pursue a career in science and tech.

Washington – University of Washington – Seattle



Average Earnings: $69,600

The University of Washington is a research focused university ideally situated next to Seattle’s vibrant and booming tech scene. In addition to research, UW Seattle is known for its competitive computer science and engineering programs that give students a leg up when entering the job market. 10 years after graduating UW, students are earning on average $69,600.

North Carolina – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Source:Good Free Photos

Average Earnings: $68,800

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a top notch public college that offers promising prospects to students. UNC Chapel Hill earn a healthy $68,800 10 years after graduating.

Closing Thoughts On The Best Public University For Student Earnings In Each State

Where you go to school is undeniably important. While no college can guarantee you a job or any of the above impressive salaries, some colleges simply offer better job placement opportunities and more robust alumni networks.

However, take heart, the college you go to is simply one part of the equation. Your work ethic, hustle, and choice of major are other important components that impact your lifetime earnings. With that being said, all of the colleges below have a proven track record of setting their graduates up for success.

The Public College In Each State With The Highest Graduate Earnings

State College Average Earnings
Alabama Auburn University $56,300
Alaska University of Alaska Anchorage $51,200
Arizona University of Arizona $56,000
Arkansas University of Arkansas $52,700
California University of California-Berkeley $79,000
Colorado University of Colorado Boulder $59,700
Connecticut University of Connecticut $66,000
Delaware University of Delaware $64,000
Florida University of Florida $65,700
Georgia Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus $85,900
Hawaii University of Hawaii at Manoa $51,800
Idaho University of Idaho $47,000
Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $70,900
Indiana Purdue University-Main Campus $62,200
Iowa University of Iowa $62,000
Kansas University of Kansas $59,300
Kentucky University of Kentucky $54,000
Louisiana Louisiana Tech University $49,200
Maine University of Maine $48,300
Maryland University of Maryland Baltimore $114,200
Massachusetts University of Massachusetts-Amherst $57,700
Michigan University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $79,000
Minnesota University of Minnesota-Twin Cities $61,200
Mississippi University of Mississippi $56,600
Missouri University of Missouri-Kansas City $57,200
Montana Montana Technological University $52,100
Nebraska University of Nebraska-Lincoln $52,700
Nevada University of Nevada-Reno $56,300
New Hampshire University of New Hampshire-Main Campus $57,700
New Jersey New Jersey Institute of Technology $70,300
New Mexico New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology $58,500
New York Binghamton University $68,100
North Carolina University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $68,800
North Dakota University of North Dakota $57,800
Ohio Miami University-Hamilton $55,400
Oklahoma University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus $61,900
Oregon Oregon Institute of Technology $57,800
Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh-Bradford $61,200
Rhode Island University of Rhode Island $58,400
South Carolina Citadel Military College of South Carolina $59,600
South Dakota South Dakota School of Mines and Technology $62,400
Tennessee The University of Tennessee-Knoxville $56,700
Texas The University of Texas at Austin $73,900
Utah University of Utah $63,500
Vermont University of Vermont $55,200
Virginia University of Virginia-Main Campus $79,400
Washington University of Washington-Seattle Campus $69,600
West Virginia West Virginia University Institute of Technology $52,700
Wisconsin University of Wisconsin-Madison $68,000
Wyoming University of Wyoming $54,200
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