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Short bar represents starting median salaries. Long bar reflects mid-career median salaries.

; Updated July 31, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Graduates of Bucknell University have the highest earning potential in the nation, a new research survey has revealed. || Related coverage: The Wall Street Journal  || View slideshow


The 2008 Education and Salary Report, prepared and released Wednesday, July 30, by Seattle, Wash.-based PayScale Inc., named Bucknell graduates No. 1 among graduates of top U.S. liberal arts colleges by salary potential.

The top liberal arts college category showed that the starting median salary for Bucknell graduates was $54,100, while the mid-career median salary was $110,000. Bucknell was followed by Colgate University at $52,800 and $108,000 and Amherst at $54,500 and $107,000, respectively.

Highly rated in Northeast
The salary report, the first issued by the company, also ranked Bucknell 13th among all Northeastern colleges and universitiesfor salary potential. Dartmouth College, Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, and Harvard University were Nos. 1-5, respectively.  Except for Cooper Union (No. 9), Bucknell was the only predominantly undergraduate institution in the top 14 in this category.

“With great specificity, this report brings home the long-term financial impact of the choice of undergraduate school and major,” said Al Lee, director of qualitative analysis at PayScale.  “Graduates of small selective liberal arts colleges do well, with median salaries competitive with major private research universities.”

Lee added that the salary trend among liberal arts schools is helped by having an “engineering program on campus, too.”

“We hear frequently from employers and alumni about the excellence of our graduates so it makes sense that they are doing well financially coming out of Bucknell and as their careers progress,” said Sarah Bell, associate director of career services at Bucknell. “While salary is one of the many important variables to consider when choosing a professional opportunity, we know our graduates are also very interested in careers that are rewarding in many other ways.”

PayScale said its data reflect annual pay for bachelor’s degree graduates without higher degrees. Its assessment of typical starting salaries is based on employees with three years of experience, and its assessment of mid-career salaries is based on experience of 15.5 years. It considers salary the sum of compensation from base salary, bonuses, profit-sharing, commissions and overtime, if applicable. It does not include equity compensation.

The salary report includes data for 40 majors from more than 300 undergraduate colleges and universities. Founded in 2002, PayScale is a market leader in global online compensation data.

National reputation
A number of recent reports have served to underscore Bucknell’s national reputation.

Last year, The Washington Monthly ranked Bucknell
No. 7 among the best liberal arts colleges in the country when it comes to fostering research and promoting an ethic of service and social mobility. This year, the Peace Corps listed Bucknell at No. 6 on its top 25 list of small colleges and universities producing Peace Corps Volunteers.

Most recently, in February, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine rated Bucknell as the 11th best value in private liberal arts colleges.

Contact: Division of Communications