Higher earnings for Marquette graduates

The fact that college degree-earning students make more money annually on average than those without a college degree is nothing new to Americans, especially those who have already begun or completed college.

But a lesser-known fact is that Marquette graduates, specifically, earn more money on average than other graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

The College Board recently released “Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,” a national report highlighting the different economic and social statistics of college and high school graduates.

According to the report, the 2008 median annual earnings for full-time workers ages 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree was $55,700 before taxes.

Compare that number to those from the 2009 Marquette Alumni Survey for those one to five years after graduation: median annual gross earnings for alumni five years after graduation was $62,302.

That means on average Marquette graduates make $6,602 more per year than college graduates. Due to struggles when entering the job market, that difference theoretically increases as Marquette alumni get older and more experienced, according to Joe Kowalski, a ’75 graduate and current president of the Northeast Ohio alumni association chapter.

The one and five-year survey is mailed to graduates by institutional research, and then used by the university to understand the satisfaction level of graduates with Marquette through mission and academic-oriented questions, according to Meg Brzyski, an alumnus and current associate vice president for engagement and external relations of the alumni association.

The alumni association also conducts a Gallop survey that is sent to all alumni to gauge connectivity to the university, engagement in their communities, and to understand how alumni want to be connected to Marquette at different stages in their lives, Brzyski said.

Kowalski said he believes Marquette surveys prove the success of alumni both financially and within their communities.

“It’s not a just a normal degree, there’s something special with it,” Kowalski said. “And when we fill out these surveys, that’s the proof that when you go to Marquette, it’s something that’s better (than other institutions).”

Many in the Marquette community believe that a Marquette education and experience is directly responsible for the success of graduates.

“Marquette professors teach students more, and students learn more about real-life, specific job experiences, helping them later in life,” said Max Kornfeld, a freshman in the College of Business Administration.

“What I hear often from employers of Marquette graduates and interns is that Marquette students tend to be able to analyze problems and think critically in different ways than other candidates or employees,” Brzyski said. “And they are generally more holistic in their experience, giving them an edge up.”

Others in the Marquette community attribute successful alumni and higher salaries to the school’s Jesuit background.

“You see an emphasis on faith-based actions here,” said Lorenzo Di Matteo, a sophomore in the College of Education. “And the four pillars of the school (excellence, faith, leadership and service) help our students and graduates in general become well-rounded people.”

Brzyski said she believes the richness of Marquette alumni and the value of a Marquette education goes beyond salary numbers.

“It’s in the classroom, the extra-cirriculars that you get involved with, leadership and service-learning opportunities, that help create a transformational experience,” she said. “And that sets Marquette alumni apart.”