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Here are the top 10 public university degrees that pay more than $100,000


As hiring demand continues to rise, the average starting salary for the Class of 2022 is projected to be more than $50,000.

However, current college students can earn more than twice that depending on the college and area of concentration.

A study based on data from the U.S. Department of Education looks at the bachelor’s degrees from public universities that pay an annual salary of at least $100,000 three years after completion and have a 100% employment rate.

10 public colleges where median earnings can exceed $100,000 just three years after students graduate

Rank University Fields of study Earnings after 3 years 1University of Washington, SeattleAllied health diagnostic, intervention and treatment professions $131,592 2Northwestern Michigan CollegeMarine transportation $112,111 3California State University, Monterey BayRegistered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing$ 110,683 4California State University, StanislausRegistered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing $104,737 5University of Texas, Permian BasinPetroleum engineering $104,395 6New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologyPetroleum engineering $103,706 7SUNY Maritime CollegeIndustrial engineering $102,900 8California State University, Maritime AcademyMechanical engineering related technologies/technicians $102,821 9University of VirginiaComputer engineering $101,904 10SUNY Downstate Health Sciences UniversityRegistered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing $101,677
Source: ProWritingAid analysis of Education Department data

A bachelor’s from the University of Washington’s Seattle campus in the field of allied health diagnostic, intervention, and treatment has the highest earning potential.

All graduates have a job within two years of graduating and earn a median salary of $131,592 the following year, the study by ProWritingAid found.

In the second spot is marine transportation at the Northwestern Michigan College, which can earn graduates $112,111 three years out of school.

Rounding out the top five are bachelor’s degrees in registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing from California State University’s Monterey Bay and the Stanislaus campuses, where alumni earn a median salary of $110,683 and $104,737, respectively.

And, graduates of California State’s Maritime Academy, which offers a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering related technologies, earn $102,821 three years after completion.

Overall, there were 140 degrees with a median annual salary of more than $100,000 within three years of graduation — of those, 93 were from private colleges and 47 were from public institutions, ProWritingAid found.

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Coming out of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for students and families to find colleges that offer the best value.

Of course, public schools also cost significantly less.

Tuition and fees plus room and board for in-state students at four-year public colleges averaged $27,330 in the 2021-22 school year; for out-of-state students, it was $44,150, according to the College Board.

In comparison, students at four-year private college pay $55,800, on average, although when factoring in other expenses, the total tab can be more than $70,000 a year.

Regardless of the school, how much you make comes down to your field of study and eventual occupation.

These days, the top 10 best-paying majors are all related to engineering — with the exception of computer science, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s study of salaries for college graduates.

Computer sciences majors are likely to be the highest paid just out of college, earning $75,900, on average, followed by engineering graduates, according to a separate report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

This year, employers projected starting salaries will increase 5.4% for math and sciences majors and decrease 14.8% for humanities majors, NACE found.

Beyond highlighting the overwhelming burden of student loan debt, the pandemic has also reinforced the financial benefits of earning a degree.

Seven in 10 seniors graduate with debt, owing about $30,000 per borrower.

Yet a majority of graduates with student loans said their college education improved their career opportunities and earning potential.

Studies show that college graduates will earn nearly $1 million more over the course of their careers.

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