Go to college in New Jersey. Make more money.
That’s the conclusion of an analysis of 2017 workplace salary data revealing that the average graduates of New Jersey colleges and universities generally earn more than their peers nationwide.
The data, culled from surveys done by the business-information company PayScale, shows that graduates of four-year colleges in New Jersey are more likely to earn at least $50,000 early in their careers and more likely to surpass $90,000 by mid-career than graduates of schools elsewhere.
While average salaries for graduates do vary widely from school to school, the broad trend holds for both public and private colleges in New Jersey. That suggests that students generally lose little or no potential earning power by opting for less expensive state schools, where the average tuition of $13,772 is less than half the cost of the average private college around the country.
Drawing exact conclusions about how graduates of schools in New Jersey stack up nationwide is a bit of a vague endeavor, partly because PayScale reports only average wages for graduates of the 1,508 schools in its survey. That makes it impossible to develop a combined average for all New Jersey schools that can be compared to the same number or all colleges throughout the country. (Find the nearest math whiz to explain why an average of an average produces a meaningless number.)
In addition, PayScale’s school-level data does not account for how some jobs command far higher of lower salaries than others.
But the analysis, done by The Record, did find that the average early-career salary in 2017 was more than $50,000 for graduates of 12 of the 28 colleges and universities in New Jersey. That’s nearly half the schools. Nationwide, only about a quarter of the schools surveyed passed that benchmark at that stage, which PayScale defines as the second or third year of work.
By mid-career, the average salary surpasses $90,000 for graduates of 16 New Jersey colleges, or more than half. Around the country, the same can be said for only about 30 percent of all schools.
The salary gains made from early to mid-career also are generally more for New Jersey schools than for others around United States.
At the top of the salary pack in New Jersey last year were Princeton University, Stevens Institute of Technology, two private schools, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, which is part of the state’s public system. All had averages of more than $60,000 early-career and $115,000 mid-career.
At the opposite end, where the averages lagged behind national figures. are a cluster of relatively small sectarian schools, including Georgian Court University, Caldwell University and Centenary University.