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Credit: Minsuh Park

A recent study examined the highest average starting salaries for graduates from Pennsylvania colleges and Penn ranked second. 

A 2018 SmartAsset study found that graduates of Carnegie Mellon University topped the list with an average starting salary of $70,900, while those from Penn came in a close second with a slightly lower average starting salary of $68,100. Last year, Penn ranked third with an average starting salary of $62,200.

Among Penn's undergraduate schools, the School of Engineering and Applied Science consistently had the highest average starting salary for students from 2011 to 2016, according to Career Services data. In 2016, Engineering graduates earned an average starting salary of $87,571, while graduates from the School of Nursing made the lowest average starting salary of $56,969. 

In the SmartAsset study, Penn was also named the top “Best Value College” in the state, while Carnegie Mellon and Lehigh University followed in second and third place, respectively. SmartAsset reported that cost factors — such as tuition and living costs — were compared to the returns students gained, such as average starting salary and retention rates, to determine the best value colleges.

The study reported Penn’s tuition as $49,536, average scholarship and grants as $43,856, student living costs as $17,264, and indicated that the University had a student retention rate of 98 percent in 2018.

Penn set its tuition to $49,220 for the 2018-2019 academic year — a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year. The University also estimated students would pay $15,616 for room and board for the academic year. 

Other local Philadelphia universities also made the list of Pennsylvania colleges with the highest average starting salaries this year. Thomas Jefferson University came in fifth place, with an average starting salary of $61,800, while Drexel University nabbed the eighth spot at $58,400.