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Which Alumni Earn the Most?

As many as 85 percent of today's college students will return home to live with their parents at some point after they graduate. Credit: College graduates image via Shutterstock

Princeton University grads capitalize on their diploma more than any other school's alumni, a new study finds.

Research from PayScale.com revealed that Princeton alumni have the highest mid-career salaries at $137,000, with starting salaries averaging close to $57,000 a year.

As a whole, the top 10 highest earning schools' graduates make an average of $122,500 at mid-career, up nearly 5 percent over last year's top 10, the study found.

"Given that the economy isn't roaring back and student debt continues to spiral out of control, it is imperative that future college students educate themselves on the earnings they can expect after graduation," said Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale.

Other schools in this year's Top 10 include:

  •  Harvey Mudd College: $135,000
  • California Institute of Technology: $127,000
  • United States Naval Academy at Annapolis: $122,000
  • United States Military Academy at West Point: $120,000
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $118,000
  • Lehigh University: $118,000
  • Polytechnic Institute of New York University: $117,00
  • Babson College: $117,000
  • Stanford University: $114,000

The study found that the bottom 10 schools' alumni earn an average of $44,490 at mid-career, almost the same as a year ago.

"School choice impacts lifelong friendships, career opportunities and overall earning potential," said Barnaby Dorfman, GM of consumer business for PayScale

When examined by major, the research found that grads with petroleum-engineering degrees have the highest starting-salaries, at $98,000, and the highest mid-career salaries, at $163,000. Other degrees with high earning potential include aerospace engineering, actuarial mathematics and chemical engineering.

Those students who are after both fun and money should consider the University of Illinois in Champaign. The study found that, of the school's in the current Princeton Review's top 20 party schools, Illinois grads earn the highest mid-career salary at $95,900 a year. Other so-called party schools with high salary potential include the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Texas, the University of Maryland and Syracuse University.

The research was based on data from graduates of 1,058 schools, which is representative of more than 80 percent of all enrolled bachelor’s degree candidates in the U.S.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.