Grads Have No Illusions

May 10, 2001 ( - Today's college graduates won't be disappointed with their first paycheck, according to a survey which shows starting salaries expectations in line with real world wages.

Just over half of the 985 respondents to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2001 Graduating Student & Alumni Survey said they expect to make between $25,000 and $35,000.

By discipline:

  • almost three-quarters of visual and performing arts majors and two-thirds of education majors anticipate earning $30,000 or less in their first job;
  • while 57.6% of engineering majors expect to earn $45,000 or more;
  • and just over a quarter of graduates of MBA programs expect to earn more than $50,000.

According to NACE’s Spring 2001 Salary Survey:

  • visual and performing arts majors received average starting salary offers of $27,010;
  • elementary and secondary education majors’ starting salaries average $27,917 and $28,058, respectively;
  • engineering majors average $40,377 for civil engineers and $53,477 for petroleum engineers; and
  • MBAs with non-technical undergraduate degrees and no experience are offered $45,048 with a quarter receiving offers in excess of $50,000.