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Degrees from Chicago schools boost earning potential

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 2:49 p.m. CST

By Paul Tooher

How much of a difference does it make which college you attend?

Apparently a lot when it comes to your earnings potential, according to Payscale, a company that tracks salaries and compensation.

According to its most recent College Salary Report, graduates of Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, Calif., can expect to earn a mid-career annual salary of $143,000. That puts the school in first place out of 1,486 considered.

But there’s no need to find a new home in another state to find a school with graduates that earn handsome incomes. There are five such colleges and universities right in Chicagoland.

According to Payscale, the Illinois Institute of Technology ranks 52nd on the pay scale, with graduates earning a mid-career salary to $111,000. Graduates of Northwestern University, tied for 99th place, can expect to pull in $93.200 annually by mid-career.

The University of Chicago is ranked 104th with a mid-career salary of $92,700 and the University of Illinois at Chicago tied for 166th with a mid-career salary of $86,800. DePaul University is tied for 206th, with a mid-career salary of $84,500 while Loyola University Chicago was tied at 240th with a mid-career salary of $82,800.

In addition to Harvey Mudd, the top 10 schools offering the biggest salary bang for your education buck include the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, Calif.; Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, N.J.; Babson College, in Babson Park, Mass.; Princeton University, in Princeton, N.J.; the U.S. Military Academy, in West Point, N.Y.; Stanford University, in Palo Alto, Calif.; Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., and Brown University, in Providence, R.I.

Those choosing a school based on a return on their investment – lifetime earnings prospects compared with the cost of fees and tuition – have a slightly different list to choose among.

According to Payscale, the top five schools based on their ROI are Harvey Mudd; California Institute of Technology; Polytechnic Institute of New York University, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass.; and State University of New York, Maritime College, in Throggs Neck, N.Y.

Only the Illinois Institute of Technology ranks among the top 10 colleges in the Midwest region based on its ROI.

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