Students graduating from UC earn more than the median income for all California graduates within six years of earning their degree and, on average, double their earnings within ten years of graduation. Earnings potential is an important factor to consider in the college search and enrollment process. UC graduates earn about $43K at two years after graduation, $88K by ten years after graduation and $110K by sixteen years after graduation. Naturally this varies by industry, but even alumni working in fields like Fine Arts or the non-profit sector that tend to have lower compensation rates still exceed median nationwide salaries.
UC students from all income quintiles succeed in achieving incomes that surpass those of their parents, with over 90 percent of the lowest income students, and 50 to 70 percent of middle income students doing so. UC is an equalizer for students who come from the bottom 20 percent of income – that is, they go on to earn as much as students who came from middle-income families (reflecting the 3rd and 4th quintiles). Their earnings usually double within 10 years of graduation.
More than 73 percent of UC alumni live and work in California, the fifth largest economy in the world. UC is the state’s third largest employer, supplying one of every 45 jobs, and the university plays a critical role in bolstering California’s economy. Investing in a UC education benefits the state, as every $1 of state funding will generate or support over $21 in economic impact.
As students and families begin a new academic year, and engage in the search for college opportunities, the cost of attendance and availability of financial aid informs concerns about the value of a UC education. The new Tuition Stability Plan freezes tuition for students enrolling in fall 2022 for 6 years, making it easier for families to plan effectively. From the time of the students’ enrollment through graduation, families will not have to worry about unexpected tuition increases or hidden fees. UC offers one of the nations’ strongest financial aid programs, granting more than $4.8 billion dollars annually. Students graduate with almost $10,000 less debt on average when compared to national statistics. More than half (56%) have no student loan debt at graduation.
Finally, graduation and time-to-degree matter. Students and their families want to be assured that they can graduate in a timely manner. UC students have one of the highest overall graduation rates in the country. Freshmen take an average of 4.15 years to graduate with 86 percent graduating from UC in 6 years. The average time-to-degree for transfer students, once enrolled at UC, is 2.4 years, with 89 percent graduating within 4 years of entering.
The qualitative value of UC is a simple and powerful story to tell. We promote the excellence of a UC education with internationally recognized faculty including many Nobel Laureates, and winners of other prestigious awards: the Pulitzer Prizes, the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science, and MacArthur Genius grants. We are proud of the diversity and vibrancy of our campus communities, the breadth and depth of opportunities for students in and beyond the classroom, and our commitment to the academic, personal, and professional development of our students. All these remain characteristic of our campuses and community; they are hallmarks of UC. But we shouldn’t forget the numbers. They also have a story to tell about the value of UC.