March Money Madness

Some of the stars of the 2011 NCAA playoffs will undoubtedly move on to lucrative careers in the NBA.

But others—those who sit on the bench or perform poorly—will have to “fall back” upon their undergraduate degrees. For those students, riches might take a bit longer to come by.

So what do graduates of those schools earn on their first jobs? We’ll tell you below (you will need to scroll down).

Our NCAA bracket below is a new twist on the growing tradition of filling the bracket with information other than projected hoops victories and losses. For six years, Inside Higher Ed has pitted the teams on the basis of their NCAA Academic Progress Rate.  And last year came up with “a Sweet Sixteen of grade inflaters.”

The Pope Center’s bracket shows which school’s graduates have the highest starting salaries right out of college.

The salary data come from, an online database of individual employee compensation profiles. Those profiles include the employees’ alma maters. Although the salaries do seem a bit high across the board (participation in Payscale is voluntary and salaries are self-reported), we consider them to be comparable across universities.

As you will see, the bracket’s final four are somewhat predictable. They include three prestigious (and expensive) private universities and one top-tier public university.

The winner? A school with a reputation for performance both on and off the court: Duke.

Salaries Bracket