These 23 Schools Produce the Wealthiest Graduates, They’re Not The Ivy League Colleges You Would Assume

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jul 08, 2024

When choosing where to attend university, many people specifically opt for an Ivy League education because they assume they will receive the best possible education and the opportunity for the finest and highest-paying positions after graduation. However, new data supports that Ivy League schools don’t always produce the wealthiest graduates.

Therefore, it’s important to know which schools actually produce wealthy graduates. Here are the 23 schools with the highest-earning graduates! 

#23: Webb Institute

These colleges and universities are ranked by the highest mid-career earnings, which are calculated by averaging alumni salaries with over ten years of experience. But we also know the average early career pay, meaning how much students make the first five years after graduation, and even the percentage of graduates who agree their jobs are meaningful for themselves and the world.

A photograph of the Webb Institute campus in New York

Source: Webb Institute/Facebook

Number 23 on the list is the small but extremely successful Webb Institute. Located just outside New York City the average mid-career pay is $146,500, the average early career pay is $85,300, and 45% of their grads find their work fulfilling.

#22: Lehigh University

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is certainly one of the country’s smaller universities with only 7,000 students. However, it produces some of the most successful graduates.

Aerial photograph of the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Source: Lehigh University

An almost unbelievable 97% of the 2021 class found a job immediately after graduation, and on average, they were making  $74,600 within their first five years in the work force. Additionally, the mid-career pay average is an admirable $147,300.

#21: University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley is well-known as one of the most impressive state schools in the country. Graduates often go on to work for major corporations like Amazon, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays.

The entrance to the University of California Berkeley with students moving quickly to and from class

Source: University of California Berkeley

While the early career pay average is $77,400, the mid-career pay is $147,300. And 49% of grads say their jobs make a difference in the world.

#20: United States Air Force Academy

The vast majority of graduates from the US Air Force Academy go to extremely well-respected careers after their five year service commitment. And they make quite a bit of money in those positions.

Photograph of a graduating class at the US Air Force Academy

Source: US Air Force Academy

The average mid-career pay for Air Force Academy grads is $148,600, while the early career pay is around $80,100. It should come as no surprise that 65% of graduates find their jobs exceptionally meaningful.

#19: Colorado School of Mines

While some of the schools on this list are quite predicable, others are extremely surprising. For example, did you know that the Colorado School of Mines produces some of the wealthiest grads in the country?

The mascot and two undergraduates at the Colorado School or Mines jumping for the camera on campus

Source: Colorado School of Mines

The public research university reported the fourth-highest salary potential of all public institutions in the USA with an average mid-career pay of $148,700 and an average early career pay of $79,300.


#18: Dartmouth College

With a mid-career pay of $149,800 and an early career earnings average of $77,600, Dartmouth grads are certainly making a great living.

Dozens of Dartmouth students hanging out on the grass in the center of campus

Source: Dartmouth

While $77,600 in the first five years is the average, actually, 48% of the 2021 class is already making more than $90,000 a year.


#17: Williams College

Williams College is a small private liberal arts college in Massachusetts, founded almost 150 years ago in 1793. Today, it produces some seriously successful graduates, most of whom got their degrees in biology or economics.

A photograph of Morgan Hall at Williams College, Massachusetts

Source: Wikipedia

With only 500-or-so students graduating every year, the average early career earnings are an impressive $70,600 and the mid-career pay is double that at $150,300.


#16: SUNY Maritime College

Located on a tiny island in the Bronx, New York, SUNY Maritime College has one of the most beautiful and interesting campuses, as well as some of the wealthiest grads.

Aerial photograph of the SUNY Maritime College camput

Source: SUNY Maritime College

Students often go on to work for the New York City of Department of Environmental Protection and the Port Authority of NY or NJ, making an average of $77,700 in the first five years and $150,500 in the first ten.


#15: Stevens Institute of Technology

More than 95% of graduates from Stevens Institute of Technology land jobs within six months of graduation day, and the average early career earnings is amazing at $80,400.

Aerial photograph of the Stevens Institute of Technology campus with New York City in the background

Source: Stevens Institute of Technology

Additionally, the average mid-career pay is $150,900 and 48% of former students report they find their jobs fulfilling and meaningful.


#14: Claremont McKenna College

Though small, Claremont McKenna College is well-known for its economic, computer sciences, and international relations programs, and, of course, for the successful graduates it produces.

A photograph of the Claremont McKenna College campus

Source: Claremont McKenna College

Many of Claremont McKenna’s grads go on to work as executive officers in major companies; the mid-career pay average is $151,200, whereas the early career earnings are usually about $75,700.


#13: Yale University

Yale University, while one of the most prestigious schools on the planet, is only number 13 on our list. However, that doesn’t mean it’s grads don’t make a lot of money.

A photograph of Yale University campus with students hanging out on the grass

Source: Yale University

In fact, Yale’s 2022 graduating class had a mean starting salary of $76,359. The early career pay average is $78,000 and the mid-career pay is often about $151.600.


#12: Colgate University

Some of the top employers of Colgate University grads include big names like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, the National Institutes of Health, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Several buildings on the Colgate University campus

Source: Colgate University

Most grads make about $73,800 within the first five years in the workforce and the average mid-career pay is $152,600. Not to mention 43% of former students find their jobs exceptionally fulfilling.


#11: University of Pennsylvania

The world-famous University of Pennsylvania just barely missed being in the top 10 list of colleges that produce the wealthiest grads. 

A photograph of students walking around the University of Pennsylvania campus

Source: Wikipedia

With a mid-career pay of $153,100 and an early career pay of $78,300, sadly, only 36% of graduates from the University of Pennsylvania feel that their job has a positive effect on the world.


#10: California Institute of Technology

Although the California Institute of Technology is number ten on this list, according to Bankrate, it does offer the best value for research opportunities. Additionally, UniversityHQ reported that Caltech graduates can expect to make over $2.5 million in 20 years.

The entrance sign for the California Institute of Technology

Source: iStock

The mid-career pay is only $153,000, and the early-career pay is $93,100. However, 98% of students are enrolled in STEM programs, which often lead to successful careers.


#9: United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy has long been considered one of the best educational institutions in the country. While students first enter an Army unit for at least three years after graduation, they then go on to exceptionally rewarding careers.

The USMA color guard on parade in front of the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy

Source: Wikipedia

For those who graduate from the US Military Academy, the early career average is $84,200, and the mid-career pay is $154,300. Furthermore, 60% of grads say their jobs give them personal meaning and help the world in some way.


#8: Santa Clara University

With only 9,000 students, Santa Clara University is a small but very well-respected institution. As a matter of fact, students from Santa Clara University typically find employment within just six months of graduation.

A photograph of students walking around Santa Clara University


The average mid-career pay is $154,700, and the early-career pay is $75,800. Not to mention that the top employers for graduates include several big names like Cisco, Amazon, Oracle, and Google.


#7: Babson College

Number seven on this list is the lesser-known but equally prestigious Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Babson reports that 99% of its graduates are gainfully employed or attending graduate school within six months of completing their bachelor’s degree.

An aerial view of the campus at Babson College

Source: Babson College

Only 5% of graduates start their own businesses, but the other 95% have successful careers with an average mid-career pay of $155,400 and a median early-career pay of $77,800.


#6: Harvard University

It may surprise some readers that Harvard University does not produce one of the top five wealthiest groups of graduates, though it is number six on the list. Harvard grads often work in finance, consulting, or technology, and more than two-thirds of all graduates are immediately paid $70,000 or more per year.

A photograph of the entrance to Harvard University on a foggy day

Source: iStock

In fact, the average early career pay is $80,900, while the mid-career earnings are usually around $156,200.


#5: Stanford University

Next is Stanford University in California, most of whose graduates go on to work at famous Silicon Valley-based companies like Amazon, Linkedin, or Meta.

A view of the Hoover Tower at Stanford University in California

Source: Britannica

The mid-career pay for Stanford graduates is $156,500, and the early-career pay is a whopping $87,100. Additionally, 55% agree that their careers are meaningful and help humanity in some way.


#4: United States Naval Academy

Only 1,100 people graduate from the United States Naval Academy every year, but the majority of these former students go on to wildly successful careers in nuclear power, technology, naval aviation, or submarine warfare.

Graduates of the US Naval Academy Cadets during their graduation ceremony


More than 60% of Naval graduates say their jobs provide meaning to their lives, and 57% leave the institution with a STEM degree. Furthermore, the average early career pay is $83,700, and the mid-career pay is an impressive $160,100.


#3: Princeton University

Princeton University is well-known for its focus on business. In fact, half of the school’s graduates go on to work in the business field. Though others find careers in health care, technology, and engineering.

A photograph of the Princeton University campus while empty


The mid-career earnings for alumni with ten or more years of experience is $161,500, and the early career pay is $81,800.


#2 Harvey Mudd College

Stacker defines early career earnings as the salaries for alumni with 0-5 years of experience after graduation. And although Harvey Mudd College has the second-highest mid-career pay or any institution, it has the highest early-career pay average.

The entrance sign to Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA

Source: Wikipedia

The average early career pay for Harvey Mudd grads with less than five years of experience is an amazing $97,700, while the average mid-career pay is $166,600. Also, 60% of graduates start working immediately after graduation, with a starting salary of $87,500.


#1: MIT

Finally, the Ivy League school with the wealthiest graduates is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as MIT. While many MIT grads go on to graduate school at a top institution like Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford, others go straight into their careers with their already prestigious degree.

Aerial view of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the Boston skyline in the background

Source: MIT

Of those who start their careers after getting their bachelor’s degree, the average early career pay is $93,700, and the standard mid-career pay is $167,200.