Your college major counts more than your school: Study

More evidence that paying a lot for a prestigious college doesn't always make sense -- at least, not financially.

According to a new paper, and reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the choice of a college graduate's major is a better measure of early-career wages than which school they attended.

Graduates of big-name, flagship campuses often did not earn more than those who had attended lesser-known, regional ones. In Texas, Colorado and Virginia graduates of two-year degree programs in some technical and science fields earned more, on average, than graduates with four-year degrees. In general, graduates of technology, engineering and mathematics programs earned a bigger paycheck.

The research paper, from the college affordability partnership College Measures, puts together previous reports on the average first-year earnings of graduates, sorted by major, institution and type of degree.

Previously, Marketplace and the Chronicle of Higher Education commissioned a study that looked at what employers and hiring managers really want from college grads, and found in some cases, an internship and job experience were more important than college major.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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