Hawaii News Post-college payoff By Nanea Kalani Sept. 30, 2013 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY BRYANT FUKUTOMI AND GEORGE F. LEE / STAR-ADVERTISERManoa graduates entering the workforce with a bachelor’s degree typically earn $41 000 a year within five years. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. A four-year degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa is likely to yield a starting salary almost three times the state’s minimum wage, new figures in a national salaries report show. Manoa graduates entering the workforce with a bachelor’s degree typically earn $41,000 a year within five years, according to a report by Seattle-based PayScale, an online salary and compensation information service. After 10 years in their field, Manoa graduates generally make $73,000 a year. By comparison, Honolulu’s median household income is $71,263, according to the U.S. Census. Just fewer than a third of Honolulu’s population over 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. PayScale said it surveyed 1.4 million college graduates — bachelor’s degree holders without advanced degrees who are full-time workers in the U.S. — to determine the potential financial return of attending a school based on its tuition and the payoff in lifetime earnings of alumni. The report ranked more than 1,000 public and private universities based on their so-called earning potential and return on investment to provide "a critical perspective on the relationship between college selection and post-graduation salaries." The report’s authors said that attending college is an investment of time and money, and students should be able to choose a school that will pay off in the long term. Earning potential at Manoa — UH’s flagship campus with 20,000 students — ranked in the bottom quarter of regional schools: 74th best of 96 public and private universities on the West Coast. The highest-ranked school was Harvey Mudd College, a private science and engineering school in Claremont, Calif., where graduates earn starting salaries of $73,000 and midcareer salaries of $143,000, on average. Hawaii Pacific University, the state’s largest private college with 7,500 students, ranked No. 55 on the West Coast list. The average HPU graduate earns a starting salary of $44,700 and a midcareer salary of $79,000. Chaminade University of Honolulu, a small Catholic Marianist college, ranked No. 89 on the list, with graduates earning $39,700 after graduation and $64,900 midcareer, the report said. On the full list of 1,016 public and private schools nationwide, HPU ranked in the No. 306 spot, Manoa ranked No. 467 and Chaminade came in at No. 729 for earning potential. A recent search of full-time jobs on UH’s Student Employment & Cooperative Education site turned up advertised salaries of between $30,000 and $175,000 for jobs requiring a four-year degree. One job posting sought a radio frequency engineer on Oahu, offering pay between $75,000 and $175,000. The city government was seeking a data processing systems analyst for $42,132 in annual pay. Teach for America, a nonprofit that recruits recent college graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities throughout the country, was seeking applicants and offering salaries of $30,000 to $51,000 for positions on Oahu and Hawaii island. In PayScale’s return-on-investment category, UH-Manoa ranked in the middle of the pack among public universities — No. 243 out of 437 — based on in-state tuition. The report calculated a 6.2 percent annual return on investment over 30 years for Manoa — essentially the rate at which undergraduates can earn their college investment back. The rate assumes that Manoa students pay about $91,000 for four years of college and will net $442,600 in the 30 years after graduation. That figure is total income minus the cost of going to college and minus what the person would have earned with just a high-school diploma. Harvey Mudd also topped the investment-return list, with its undergrads likely to earn net income of more than $2.1 million in the 30 years after graduation and earn back their tuition investment at an annual rate of 8.3 percent. UH officials said Manoa’s reported starting salary seemed consistent with current job market offerings, but argued that income potential shouldn’t be used to rank a school’s value. "These salary offerings are neither a reflection of the quality of instruction at UH-Manoa nor of the qualifications of UH-Manoa graduates," said Francisco Hernandez, Manoa’s vice chancellor for students. "The information should not be used for any rankings of colleges. College rankings tied to recent alumni salary offers are not an accurate measure of the quality and outcomes of higher education." Hawaii Pacific University Provost Matthew Liao-Troth said HPU’s rankings "show our graduates are increasingly valued in the workplace." He added, "Our rigorous liberal arts base and strong professional degree programs ensure that our students have the ability to make an impact immediately upon entering the workforce. As these rankings indicate, that impact only grows over the course of their careers." Amid rising college costs and student loan debts, the Obama administration has proposed rating colleges in ways that help students compare the value offered by schools, including looking at factors such as graduation rates and graduate earnings. A White House fact sheet on the president’s plan notes that the average tuition at a public four-year college has increased by more than 250 percent over the past three decades, and the average student borrower graduates owing more than $26,000. "A lackluster economy, together with skyrocketing tuition and student debt have forced the current Obama administration to address the affordability and performance of our nation’s schools," Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale, said in a statement. "Obama’s College Scorecard reports typical costs, graduation rates, loan default rates and median borrowing but doesn’t yet state future potential earnings. PayScale’s annual College Salary Report makes this information available now." ——— ON THE NET » payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014 SALARY RANGE A recent search of full-time jobs posted on the University of Hawaii’s student employment site showed advertised salaries of $30,000 to $175,000 for jobs requiring a four-year degree: Teach for America teacher $30,000 to $51,000 Civil engineer $38,988 to $51,312 Data processing systems analyst $42,132 Human resources manager $61,000 Radio frequency engineer $75,000-$175,000 Source: University of Hawaii Student Employment & Cooperative Education jobs database Previous Story 911 Report Next Story Heroes reuniting in 'triumph'