Both Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Dallas have plenty of reason to brag. Now they can add one more accolade to their admission fliers: they produce graduates with some of the highest initial earning potential in the state.
Financial website SmartAsset ranked the top 10 Texas colleges where students earn the best average starting salaries upon graduation. Rice University tops the list, with students earning an average of $65,700 in their first job out of school. But both SMU and UTD, Richardson make it into the top 10.
SMU grads (No. 7) earn an average of $55,000 starting salary, while UTD grads (No. 9) bring home $53,600.
The salary ranking is part of a larger SmartAsset study that looked at five factors (tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate, and starting salary) to determine the best value colleges and universities. These results were a bit different.
Students at Rice — still ranked No. 1 in the "best value" list — pay an average of $42,253 tuition and $16,000 in living costs; that’s offset by an average of $36,192 in scholarships and grants.
UTD comes in at No. 4 on the best value list, and keeps the company of other DFW-area schools The University of Texas at Arlington (No. 9) and Texas Woman's University (No. 10). SMU did not make the best value list.
These findings come in an era where students are taking on staggering amounts of debt vs. future income. The average annual growth rate for the cost to attend a four-year university between 1989 and 2016 was 2.6 percent per year, compared to a low 0.3 percent annual growth in wages, according to SmartAsset.
Here is the breakdown of the 10 Texas schools with the highest starting salaries:
- Rice University, Houston, $65,700
- The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, $60,000
- The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, $57,800
- Texas A&M University, College Station, $57,200
- The University of Texas, Austin, $56,900
- LeTourneau University, Longview, $55,300
- Southern Methodist University, Dallas, $55,000
- Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, $54,300
- The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, $53,600
- Texas Tech University, Lubbock, $49,375