College majors have a big impact on income. Here are the highest- and lowest-earning fields.

Earning a college degree is a financial commitment that has a major impact on future earnings. New research shows that a student’s major, along with their alma mater, can make a big difference in their average salary four years after graduation.

According to one, the college majors that lead to the highest-paying jobs tend to focus on so-called STEM fields, or science, technology, engineering and math. A new analysis From the HEA group. Founded by Michael Itzkowitz, former director of the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, HEA provides data on college costs and other topics.

Itzkowitz’s research found that the highest-paying institutions are not the most popular fields among students. They belong to business administration, nursing and psychology, where grads can earn a respectable $58,000, $77,000 and $43,000 after four years of college, respectively. Even the much-maligned English degree draws a larger number of students than computer science, a field where grads earn more than double the typical $42,000 annual salary of Shakespeare buffs, the analysis found.

Itzkowitz told CBS MoneyWatch that a STEM degree is “not what most people want to focus on when entering an institution of higher education.”

This suggests that pursuing a high-earning major may not be perceived as a path to fulfillment by students, or simply that many students lack the technical skills for computer science or engineering in college. Yet with rising college costs outpacing tuition inflation, students are under increasing pressure to make a critical choice that will help them pay off their debt and move into the middle class. Provide assistance.

“Since the primary reason students attend college is to maximize employability, it is important that most college students earn as much, or more, than a typical high school grade in their state,” Itzkowitz said.

Have a college degree. A sure way to land a good job By age 30, according to a recent analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. A good job, as defined by the study, is one that pays an average annual wage of $57,000 by age 30.

The HEA Group found that four years after graduation, most grads are on track to earn middle-class salaries. About two-thirds of college programs are producing grads who earn at least $40,000 four years after graduation. However, about 3% of grads from college programs are making less than $20,000 a year, which can lead to financial hardship, Itzkowitz noted.

The HEA Group found that four years after graduation, the typical bachelor’s degree holder earns about $57,000 a year. Some humanities and arts majors earn much less, though, such as English majors, who earn about $42,000 a year by the time they get out of college.

While people without college degrees can earn solid salaries — and even earn more than someone with a bachelor’s degree — according to that, between Americans with and without college degrees, on average, wealth And there is a big income gap. New research by the third way. It found that people without a college degree were also five times more likely than those with a diploma to be in poverty and lack health insurance.

The typical college grad between the ages of 25 and 64 has an annual income of $127,000, compared with a typical salary of $61,000 for those without a degree, Third Way found. And college grads have four times the wealth on average than workers without bachelor’s degrees.

“College is worth it,” Itzkowitz said. “Most deliver on that promise, but there are some that don’t.”

Major college institutions that make the most money

The highest-paying colleges focus on STEM fields, yet there are some specialty subjects, such as naval architecture and marine engineering, with graduates earning an average of $109,121 four years after graduation in those fields. Ocean transportation, at No. 4, provides a typical income of $103,626 four years after receiving a piece of parchment.

Itzkowitz said the research is “an excellent starting point for students or families considering a postsecondary decision.” “If they know the majors and the institutions they’re looking to apply to, it provides information on how much they can earn in a few years after graduation.”

Research shows that higher paid students at top universities who juice their earnings. For example, computer science majors (the third highest-paying field) at Harvard University (No. 3 according to US News and World Report) have the highest salaries of any college graduate, graduating Earn an average annual salary of $265,529 after four years. .

This may explain why so many high school students try to get into Ivy League colleges or their equivalent, such as top-ranked institutions like Stanford University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet very few are able to get admission in these schools, with only 0.4% of students According to US News and World Report, attending an Ivy League college like Harvard or Yale.

“These are the top schools,” Itzkowitz noted. “It’s other schools that are serving more people.”

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