Colleges With The Lowest-Paid Graduates

colleges lowest paid graduates

Having worked their way through four years of school, many recent college graduates are eager to find jobs with a decent paycheck. And so are their parents.

But which colleges offer the best bang for the buck? A new report by PayScale, which tracks data on employee compensation, crunched the numbers. It lists the starting and mid-career salaries of some 1.5 million graduates with bachelor's degrees who attended one of more than 1,050 colleges and universities in the U.S.

At The Bottom

Colleges in the Southeast and Midwest -- a majority of them private institutions -- dominate the rankings of graduates reporting the lowest starting salaries. That may reflect the lower wages that are typical in those regions, compared to other parts of the country.

Nevertheless, graduates of Coker College in South Carolina and College of the Ozarks in Missouri ranked dead last for starting salaries. Graduates of those private schools reported that they earned median annual pay of $26,800 and $28,400, respectively.

The Best Paid

Compare that to the salaries paid to civilian graduates of the military academies at West Point in New York ($76,800) and Annapolis in Maryland ($72,200) that topped the survey.

The Lowest-Paying Public Colleges

You'd think that public universities and colleges would offer good value, given their lower tuition rates, but among public colleges and universities, graduates of the seven institutions noted below, shown in descending order, reported the lowest starting salaries, according to PayScale's data:


5. Indiana University, Southeast
  • Starting salary: $32,400.
  • Mid-career salary: $58,900.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: 48%.

4. Jackson State University (Mississippi)
  • Starting salary: $31,700.
  • Mid-career salary: $52,200.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: 74%.

3. (tie) University of Montevallo (Alabama)
  • Starting salary: $31,200.
  • Mid-career salary: $51,600.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: 48%.

3. (tie) Alabama State University
  • Starting salary: $31,200.
  • Mid-career salary: $52,700.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: 67%.

3. (tie) Savannah State University (Georgia)
  • Starting salary: $31,200.
  • Mid-career salary: $53,600.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: N/A.

2. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Starting salary: $30,900.
  • Mid-career salary: $50,300.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: N/A.

1. Wayne State College (Nebraska)
  • Starting salary: $29,300.
  • Mid-career salary: $56,800.
  • Percentage of grads who think their job is meaningful: 62%.

To find the list of colleges with the highest-paid grads, go here.


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