The dream of many college graduates—to earn a good-enough starting salary to pay off student loans without being rendered homeless or forced into starvation—comes easier or harder depending on where they graduate.

With that in mind, which American colleges offer the worst possible opportunity for a earning a decent entry-level salary, and which offer the best? According to a new report by PayScale, colleges in the Midwest offer the lowest starting salaries, with Wayne State College in Nebraska the lowest of them all, with an average starting wage of $29,300, followed by the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Savannah State University, Alabama State University and the University of Montevallo all tied for third place with their graduates earning first year salaries of $31,200.

On the other end of the spectrum, military academies seem to offer the best possible opportunity for first-year graduates, with West Point topping the highest-paid list at $76,000.

Lowest-Paid Graduates

  1. Wayne State College: $29,300 starting salary
  2. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: $30,900
  3. Savannah State UniversityAlabama State UniversityUniversity of Montevallo (tie): $31,200
  4. Jackson State University: $31,700
  5. Indiana University, Southeast: $32,400

Highest-Paid Graduates

  1. U.S. Military Academy at West Point: $76,000
  2. U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis: $72,200
  3. California Institute of Technology: $67,400
  4. Harvey Mudd College: $66,800
  5. Princeton University: $58,300


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