How Much Do Debt-Strapped Graduates of Boston’s Universities Make?

The U.S. Department of Education has released an incredible amount of Treasury data, with hopes of answering that question.

Photo by Olga Khvan

Photo by Olga Khvan

Somewhere in between the 239th bowl of microwave ramen and the eighth rat darting through the illegal attic apartment in Allston, a college student in Boston begins to wonder if the obscene cost of higher education is worth the all the squalor in the short term, and crippling student loan debt in the long term.

The U.S. Department of Education has weighed in on this debate, making available an incredible amount of Treasury Department data on how much college students earn in the years following graduation, on a new website called College Scorecard. Despite facing stern opposition from higher ed., the government cross-referenced federal student financial aid information with federal tax returns, determining how much students enrolled in nearly every college and university in America in 2001 and 2002 were earning a decade later.

How do Boston’s colleges and universities fare? Keep in mind, the average high school graduate makes roughly $25,000.

CollegeAverage Annual CostGraduation RateSalary After Attending
Bentley University$29,88686%$74,900
Babson College$28,05790%$85,500
Harvard University$14,04997%$87,200
Boston College$33,07092%$67,000
Tufts University$29,27192%$67,800
Northeastern University$31,50381%$60,100
Wentworth Institute of Technology$31,20163%$54,600
Boston University$34,60384%$60,800
Simmons College$29,08569%$51,400
Emmanuel College$30,73158%$42,400
Suffolk University$27,50756%$49,900
Lasell College$25,31649%$40,900
UMass Boston$11,74141%$45,800
Brandeis University$29,57890%$58,800
Quincy College$12,00230%$38,400
Boston Architectural College$32,7728%$41,600
Wheelock College$29,28356%$36,400
Newbury College$24,11137%$38,300
Emerson College$36,37882%$44,800
Cambridge College$23,7922%$36,500
Mount Ida College$27,77240%$34,700
Fisher College$30,79740%$28,200
New England Institute of Art$29,23835%$34,900
Lesley University$32,53446%$36,700
Berklee College of Music$43,01854%$30,300

ProPublica used College Scorecard’s data to create its own project, “Debt by Degrees,” a searchable database of more than 7,000 schools. “The data provides an unprecedented level of detail on the financial burden that the poorest college students face, showing for the first time how much federal debt poor students take on compared to their wealthier peers, and how well these students are able to repay their loans,” wrote Annie Waldman and Sisi Wei of ProPublica, introducing the project.

Boston University received special mention in ProPublica’s write-up, noting both its whopping $1.5 billion endowment and the $27,000 of federal student loan debt that low-income students graduate with. Ten years after graduating, 13.5 percent of BU alums make less than the average high school graduate, including those unemployed and not looking for work.