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Santa Clara University Grads Are Among the Highest Paid in the Country, a New Survey Says

Thursday, Jul. 23, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 22 – Santa Clara University’s undergraduate degree recipients earn among the highest salaries of any U.S. college or university alumni, even a decade or more after getting their diplomas, according to a new survey by PayScale, a compensation-data company based in Seattle.

Santa Clara University ranked in the top four percent in the survey—coming in 20th out of nearly 600 colleges or universities nationwide. The survey ranked schools by their graduates’ salaries during two time frames: within five years of receiving their bachelor’s degree or “starting salaries”; and ten years or more after commencement, or at “mid-career.”

SCU graduates reported making an average of $58,000 in starting salaries and $111,000 at mid-career. These numbers were better than those reported by graduates from Amherst, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia, according to PayScale’s survey.

Kathy Potter, director of the university’s Career Center, attributes the findings to SCU graduates’ strong grounding in their subject matter, as well as a stellar work ethic cultivated at SCU and through internships in Silicon Valley.

“I’ve been told by employers that SCU students are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in the job. They have been well-educated in their fields and are willing to learn, ” she said.  “And, especially now, companies are also drawn to the emphasis on ethics that the university provides.”

Santa Clara also ranked as the second most popular school for marketing managers, the survey found.

“These results don’t surprise me a bit, ” said Shelby McIntyre, chair of the marketing department at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. “We turn out excellent grads, who go to work at companies that people all over the world are dying to get into, like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, and Facebook.”

McIntyre added that there is “an army of SCU grads behind virtually every Silicon Valley company,”  which helps students network. 

PayScale's data came from its 1.2 million website users, who self-report their salaries and their alma maters.  The company only included respondents whose highest degree is a bachelor’s degree, so lawyers, doctors and other advanced-degree recipients were not part of the results.

PayScale did not disclose some details of its methodology, such as exact sample sizes. PayScale says its “confidence interval” for most schools is 90 percent at the median, plus or minus five percent (plus or minus 10 percent for elite/Ivy League schools).

The full survey results can be found here.

The survey’s results were written up in the July 20 New York Times blog, Economix .

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see


Deborah Lohse, SCU Media Relations


Tags: alumni, marketing

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