More than a third of bachelor’s graduates will earn less than $50,000 in their final year of college, according to a new survey by the National Council of Graduate Programs (NCGP) that tracks graduate salaries.
The NCGP’s survey of more than 11,000 people ages 25 to 34 shows the median wage of graduates is $30,732, compared with $45,837 for those with a master’s degree.
The median starting salary of the lowest-paid graduates is just $35,823.
The lowest-earning bachelor’s degree recipients, on the other hand, make nearly $75,000 more than their peers, according the NCGP survey.
The average starting salary for those earning a bachelor’s with a masters degree is $55,734, compared to $50 (plus $2,000 for tax) for those who don’t earn a degree.
But while the median starting wage is lower, it’s not as much lower as those earning the highest-earner bachelor’s degrees.
The difference in wages for the two groups is only about $6,000, the NCGPs survey found.
“It’s a bit of a shock to the system for a lot of these graduates,” said the NCGs survey co-director, Erin O’Malley.
“They are going to be getting a lot less than what they thought they were getting.”
The median hourly wage for the average bachelor’s grad is $32.30 in the first year of their degree, according on average, according a report by the NCGA.
It’s the same as the average for all workers with a bachelor degree.
“I think the big thing is that for most people, it just isn’t going to get any better for them,” O’Sullivan said.
Some students may have to work overtime for a living to pay off student loans, while others will need to work for their degree to make ends meet.
While O’Neill and O’Briens said the average starting wage should be $30K, O’Kane said the pay is just not enough.
“If you were to look at it through the lens of people making $40,000 or $50 million, it seems pretty far off,” she said.
O’Brien, who has been in the same job since she was a freshman in high school, said the new data should put to rest the notion that the typical student is going to make the same amount as her or his classmates.
“This is not the case,” she told CNNMoney.
“The median salary for graduate students in our survey is $45K, and we have a group of people who have gone through this and are still making more than the median salary.”
O’Reilly said he is glad the average graduate will be getting more than they thought, but the reality is that students will have to struggle to make a living.
“Graduates are not going to have a lot to look forward to in the future,” he said.
“There is no way to look ahead in life.”
A student could be making $100,000 a year and still not make enough money to live on.
“We know that some people do well on their own, but I don’t think that’s the case for everyone,” OBrien said.
The NCPG’s report comes on the heels of an alarming trend that has surfaced at the top of the American economy: graduates are making far less than they paid for.
A recent survey by Wells Fargo found that only 15% of all college graduates received a full-time wage before their degree.
In comparison, only 10% of workers in the private sector are earning more than $70,000.
In recent years, companies have seen a boom in graduates taking on massive debt to graduate, making them far more vulnerable to bankruptcy.
The NDGE’s O’Meara said that the recession has hurt students, and they are less likely to be able to pay their bills because they are taking on debt.
“These are the people that are struggling with that debt,” she explained.
“That’s a lot harder for them to deal with when you’re struggling to pay for the rent and food and housing.”
OReilly said she and her husband have been struggling with paying for a down payment on a home they have been living in since they graduated from high school.
“When you’re in a situation where you’re going to graduate in five years, that’s not the best situation,” she added.
“A lot of people don’t have a good job, and that is a very expensive thing.”