Culture / Newsy

Paycheck University

A Houston College’s Alums are the Highest Paid in Texas, Among U.S. Best


The South’s version of an Ivy League School turns out to be better than many of the real things at getting its graduates paid.

Houston’s Rice University finishes ahead of vaunted Ivies including Yale, Columbia, Brown and Cornell in new rankings that detail what the alums of every college in America make on average. In fact, Rice grads boast the 18th largest paychecks in the country. That figure puts Rice far in front of a handful of the Ivies and also has it ahead of the likes of Duke (No. 26) and Notre Dame (No. 42) in average graduate earnings.

As alums such as Houston Mayor Annise Parker (Class of 1978) and investment banking whiz Bobby Tudor (Class of 1982) know, a Rice education can pay off in all kinds of ways.

Personal finance website Payscale’s analysis puts Rice alums’ average early career salary at $63,900. By “mid-career,” Rice graduates take home $114,000 per year on average.

In an age where ever-rising tuition costs are forcing many to confront what the cold, hard cash benefits of a particular college’s degree are, these new rankings are invaluable. Texas A&M University also does relatively well, finishing 72nd, a full 10 places ahead of in-state rival University of Texas. (Not that Aggies would ever rub anything in the Longhorns’ faces.)

Texas A&M graduates take home $55,200 on average early in their careers, and $98,300 mid-career. UT alums’ salaries come in at $52,200 early and $97,200 mid-career on average.

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The other Texas schools in the Top 200 are SMU (No. 176) — with $50,100 early career and $88,200 mid-career — and the University of Houston (No. 188) with $51,700 early career and $84,000 mid-career average yearly salaries. SMU grads might have reason to be particularly disappointed given the school’s oft-discussed Ivy League-level high tuition.

Then again, maybe having one of the Most Beautiful Campuses in America makes everything a little better. Money’s not everything, after all (except in these rankings).

Besides, with more than 1,000 colleges compared by their graduates’ salaries, a place in the Top 200 is hardly failing. When it comes to earning power with Texas colleges, there is nothing like an Owl’s life, though.

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