The Economist found NDSU grads are making a median salary of $46,300, less than the $49,132 reported by NDSU. The magazine ranked colleges based on comparisons of how much grads should earn based on their actual salaries, a number based on SAT scores, sex ratio, race breakdown and other factors.
Out of the 1,275 institutions profiled, The Economist ranked NDSU at 1,025 out of four-year, nonvocational colleges.
As for the disparity in estimates of grad salaries, Provost Beth Ingram told The Forum said it’s “sort of a neutral thing.”
“They made a prediction, and our number was different from their prediction, and that’s the way it is,” she said.
The Economist based its finding for NDSU on 2011 data for students starting college in 2001.
Ingram said a number of reasons might exist for the differences in The Economist’s and NDSU’s reported grad salaries.
“We could have kids going to graduate school, and graduate students make very low income,” she told The Forum. “We could have kids that are choosing to go back to communities in North Dakota where wages are a little bit smaller. That doesn’t get taken into account by The Economist.”
Anna Gilbery, a junior in natural resources management, said the university should “get some new information” to make better predictions about its graduates’ expected salaries.
“It’s not very helpful to us,” she said of the university’s estimate of $49,132.
Heather Stanton, a graduate student in counseling, said the disparity is “kind of sad,” though she added numbers as high as the $40,000s are not “that huge of a difference.”
This summer, SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company, found NDSU graduates have the largest starting salary in North Dakota, at $48,300.
SmartAsset’s study found that NDSU graduates make over $5,000 more than the national average for graduates’ starting salaries.
The Forum reported The Economist acknowledged its “limited” data as the magazine only includes students applying for federal financial aid.
Meanwhile, the publication took into account prevailing wages in Fargo, North Dakota’s wealth, students receiving Pell grants and other factors profiling its study on colleges.