While a rewarding career should not be solely measured by its starting salary, a major motivation for graduating from college is the knowledge you can command a sizeable income.
Some higher educational establishments rank significantly lower in expected salaries than others.
Analysis by economic modelers Emsi has detailed to Newsweek, the U.S. colleges at the poor-performing end of the salary spectrum.
Dr. Stuart Muller, director of custom consulting for higher education at Emsi Burning Glass, explained his team evaluated the overall quality of outcomes for each institution by “quantifying average wages across all alumni in our professional profiles data.”
The national median wage by occupation was used, while only private colleges exceeding 1,000 profiles in Emsi’s database were included.
“By using the national average OEWS [Occupational Employment & Wages Statistics] wage we are attempting to quantify outcomes based on the quality of the professional role that completers attain rather than the particulars of any salary they may earn—i.e. based on the kind of job obtained, not on the financial specifics of their hire,” Dr. Muller told Newsweek via email.
“This approach assumes the average national occupational wages reflect the relative quality of occupations and the jobs within them.”
Such assumptions have the benefit of allowing the researchers to assess institutional outcomes for an idealized sense where gender, race, ethnicity and geography do not affect a career’s quality and salary.
However, this comes with the caveat that while this method does control for how these factors may affect an individual salary, it cannot control for how demographics have affected which programs individuals enrol in and therefore which occupations they are likely to find employment.
Here are the private colleges whose graduates go on earn the lowest average median wage. Or take a look at those where students go on to earn the most.
25. Colorado Christian University ($80,299)
Colorado Christian University is a small private college founded in 1914.
Popular majors at Colorado Christian, which has a 100 percent acceptance rate, include business, psychology and biblical studies.
24. American InterContinental University ($79,920)
American InterContinental is a mid-size private university based in Chandler, Arizona.
Popular majors include business, criminal justice and safety studies, and healthcare management.
23. Columbia Southern University ($79,633)
Columbia Southern University is a private online university in Orange Beach, Alabama founded in 1993.
Popular majors at this mid-size college include business, occupational safety and health technician, and fire science and fire fighting.
22. University of Indianapolis ($79,572)
Founded in 1902, the University of Indianapolis is a private United Methodist Church-affiliated college.
Some of the most programs at the college include occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, business, education and communication.
21. The New School ($79,257)
The New School is a private research university in New York founded in 1919.
Notable New School alumni include co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes, former President of Israel Shimon Peres, actors Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis and Bradley Cooper, and fashion designers Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan.
20. American Public University System ($79,901)
American Public University System is a private, online university system made up of the American Military University and American Public University.
Popular majors at the college include business, liberal arts and humanities, and homeland security and disaster management.
19. Lindenwood University ($78,614)
Founded in 1827, Lindenwood University is a private liberal arts university in Saint Charles, Missouri.
Lindenwood alumni and progressed to prominent careers in government, business, science, medicine, education, sports and entertainment.
18. Azusa Pacific University ($77,817)
Azusa Pacific University is a private, evangelical Christian college based in California.
Popular majors at the religious college include kinesiology, business, theater and chemistry.
17. Wilmington University ($77,470)
Founded in 1968, Wilmington University is a private university with its main campus in Delaware.
Popular majors at Wilmington include nursing, behavioral sciences and business studies.
16. Southeastern University ($77,013)
Southeastern is a private Christian liberal arts university in Lakeland, Florida.
The most popular majors at Southeastern University include theology and religious vocations, business, management, marketing and related support services.
15. Liberty University ($79,840)
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Studies at the university have a conservative Christian orientation and the college plays a prominent role in Republican politics.
14. Mercy College ($76,002)
Mercy College is a private, non-sectarian, non-profit, coeducational research university in New York.
Mercy College has five schools: Business, Education, Health & Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social & Behavioral Sciences, and offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs.
13. Post University ($75,885)
Founded in 1890, Post University is a private, for-profit university in Waterbury, Connecticut, but its students now almost exclusively attend online.
Among the first in the U.S. to offer full degrees online, the university offers more than 25 undergraduate and graduate programs.
12. Columbia College Chicago ($75,662)
Columbia College Chicago is a private college specializing in arts and media disciplines and located in Chicago.
Popular majors at the mid-size institution include cinematography and video production, graphic design and music management.
11. Southern New Hampshire University ($74,992)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private university based between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire.
Popular courses at the college include hospitality, health, education and business degrees.
10. Aurora University ($74,652)
Aurora University is a private, co-educational university nestled in a residential neighborhood in Illinois.
Students are particularly attracted to programs in the liberal arts, business, criminal justice, education, nursing and social work.
9. Full Sail University ($74,622)
Full Sail University is a private for-profit university in Winter Park, Florida.
The college offers campus and online degree programs tailored for the entertainment industry, media, arts and technology.
8. Baker College ($74,208)
Founded in 1911, Baker College is a private college with its primary campus in Owosso, Michigan.
The most popular majors at the college include business, nursing and healthcare management.
7. Johnson & Wales University-Providence ($73,301)
Johnson & Wales University is a private university with its main campus in Providence, Rhode Island.
The college is well-known for its culinary arts program and is believed to be the world’s largest food service educator.
6. University of Arizona Global Campus / Ashford University ($72,310)
University of Arizona Global Campus, formerly Ashford University, is a public online university headquartered in San Diego, California.
Popular majors at the private college include business, early childhood education and psychology.
5. South University-Savannah Online ($71,777)
Founded in 1899, South University-Savannah Online is a private college in Georgia
The institution consists of its School of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Professions, College of Business, College of Theology and College of Arts and Sciences.
4. Academy of Art University ($71,734)
Established in 1929, the Academy of Art University is a private for-profit art school in San Francisco, California.
The most popular majors at the college include drafting and design, animation, video graphics and special effects, and computer graphics.
3. California Baptist University ($71,119)
Founded in 1950, California Baptist University is a private, Christian university in Riverside, California.
Students are attracted to the college for majors including business, nursing and psychology.
2. Savannah College of Art and Design ($68,870)
Savannah College of Art and Design is a private nonprofit art school with locations in Georgia and France.
The college’s most popular majors include animation, video graphics and special effects, digital communication and media, and illustration.
1. Monroe College ($67,346)
Founded in 1933, Monroe College is a New York-based private college and graduate school.
The U.S. university’s most popular majors include business police and criminal science and criminal justice and law enforcement administration.