Not too long ago, graduating from an Ivy League School was among one of the best ways to ensure a high-paying and dignified career. Now, a new study has shown that despite what history may have taught us, the new high-paying jobs are demanding skills that aren’t offered at Ivy League schools at all – but rather, schools that focus heavily on STEM-based skills.

The study, which was conducted by the reputable Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, ranks both two- and four-year colleges based on long-term economic outcomes regardless of the intended path of study.

Compared to other popular college rankings such as those that fill up newsstands, this value-added method focuses on how colleges contribute to student economic success, rather than simply their ability to attract top students.

The results?

For projected economic outcomes, all of the top 10 schools (and most of the top 20) for four-year institutions lean heavily on STEM-based skills including computer science and engineering. To determine the rankings, researchers looked at three specific factors: occupational earnings, student loan repayment rates and mid-career earnings.


According to Brookings Fellow Jonathan Rothwell, who co-authored the report, students no longer have to go to an elite school to see a significant increase in income:

“You don’t necessarily have to go to Caltech or MIT and major in computer science there. Even if you go to community college, you’ll see an earnings premium.”


Those interested in finding out more can head over to the interactive rankings or read the full PDF report.