Websites now offering free data on college grad salaries
No doubt, college-bound students would love to have a crystal ball foretelling which school would be best for them.
While that’s magical thinking, there are ways to glimpse the future after graduation.
At least three websites are now offering free salary data on recent graduates. Without this information, says Mark Schneider, vice president of the American Institutes for Research and president of CollegeMeasures.org, students don’t know if they will be able to pay back college loans.
Also, students hoping for a lucrative career could use the data to decide which of the majors they’re considering are likely to support the lifestyle they aspire to.
The operative word is “likely,” Schneider acknowledges. Right now, no site provides exhaustive data. Here’s a primer on what’s online:
• CollegeMeasures.org has salary information for recent graduates of all public colleges in Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas. Soon, information on Colorado, Nevada and Texas will be available.
The salary data, which is broken down by the study areas within a school, is derived from matching school records to the state’s unemployment insurance program data, but the information isn’t captured for grads who move out of the state.
• NerdWallet.com has data on about 100 schools, and breaks down salaries by undergraduate programs within those schools. The data comes from the schools’ own surveys of their recent grads.
• PayScale.com has data on about 1,000 schools. The data is self-reported by visitors to the site who complete an employment survey. Although the data isn’t broken down by the programs within a college, it does provide both recent graduate and “mid-career” salaries, defined as those who have logged at least ten years in the field.
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