Colleges with the highest earning alumni best-colleges

Our ranking system considers how long it takes to pay off an educational investment, and comparative earnings of students at different programs and schools. A school that demonstrates fast payback due to very low costs may outperform a school with very high comparative earnings and high costs. This list ignores how fast the educational investment is paid back, and focuses entirely on the average earnings of students. Note that highest earner rankings do not take into account state wage averages.

Read more about our college ranking system.

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393 Results (Showing 20 of 393)

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#7 in National University

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Admission rate: 7%

Grad rate: 93%

Net cost: $24,274

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $112,166

Vs. state average: + $61,487

Economic score: 0.52

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#6 in National University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Admission rate: 8%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $16,636

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $111,222

Vs. state average: + $43,464

Economic score: 0.50

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#10 in National University

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 9%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $25,802

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $103,246

Vs. state average: + $49,668

Economic score: 0.71

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#35 in National University

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 18%

Grad rate: 87%

Net cost: $34,508

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $99,998

Vs. state average: + $46,420

Economic score: 1.05

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#36 in National University

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, New Jersey

Admission rate: 54%

Grad rate: 88%

Net cost: $37,588

Payback: 2.3 Years

Earnings: $98,159

Vs. state average: + $52,536

Economic score: 1.06

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#2 in National University

Stanford University

Stanford, California

Admission rate: 6%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $11,496

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $97,798

Vs. state average: + $47,119

Economic score: 0.36

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#15 in National University

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

Admission rate: 17%

Grad rate: 94%

Net cost: $28,909

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $96,375

Vs. state average: + $47,089

Economic score: 0.82

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#1 in National University

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Admission rate: 6%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $11,317

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $95,689

Vs. state average: + $50,066

Economic score: 0.31

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#31 in National University

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 50%

Grad rate: 88%

Net cost: $29,301

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $95,033

Vs. state average: + $41,455

Economic score: 0.99

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#56 in National University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, New York

Admission rate: 58%

Grad rate: 87%

Net cost: $35,464

Payback: 2.1 Years

Earnings: $93,416

Vs. state average: + $37,726

Economic score: 1.28

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#51 in National University

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California

Admission rate: 51%

Grad rate: 91%

Net cost: $38,327

Payback: 2.3 Years

Earnings: $93,291

Vs. state average: + $42,612

Economic score: 1.24

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#9 in National University

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Admission rate: 8%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $27,020

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $93,115

Vs. state average: + $51,044

Economic score: 0.70

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#87 in National University

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Admission rate: 27%

Grad rate: 91%

Net cost: $35,899

Payback: 2.2 Years

Earnings: $93,021

Vs. state average: + $25,263

Economic score: 1.61

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#68 in National University

Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire

Admission rate: 10%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $33,574

Payback: 2.1 Years

Earnings: $91,627

Vs. state average: + $32,090

Economic score: 1.38

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#78 in National University

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Admission rate: 11%

Grad rate: 95%

Net cost: $40,126

Payback: 2.4 Years

Earnings: $91,176

Vs. state average: + $35,486

Economic score: 1.49

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#81 in National University

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 31%

Grad rate: 89%

Net cost: $41,027

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $90,613

Vs. state average: + $37,035

Economic score: 1.51

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#26 in National University

Colorado School of Mines

Golden, Colorado

Admission rate: 55%

Grad rate: 80%

Net cost: $26,750

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $90,060

Vs. state average: + $44,139

Economic score: 0.92

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#24 in National University

Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, New York

Admission rate: 7%

Grad rate: 93%

Net cost: $23,306

Payback: 1.5 Years

Earnings: $89,871

Vs. state average: + $34,181

Economic score: 0.91

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#122 in National University

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, Massachusetts

Admission rate: 60%

Grad rate: 88%

Net cost: $39,756

Payback: 2.6 Years

Earnings: $89,405

Vs. state average: + $21,647

Economic score: 2.00

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#39 in National University

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

Admission rate: 19%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $33,025

Payback: 2.1 Years

Earnings: $88,962

Vs. state average: + $43,317

Economic score: 1.07

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