Graduates of Arizona’s public universities earn higher wages, contribute to state’s economy

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Graduates of Arizona’s public universities earn higher wages, contribute to state’s economy

October 2, 2020

(Phoenix, AZ) – Demonstrating the financial value of earning a university degree, the Arizona Board of Regents Graduate Wages Report, approved today by the board, details wages earned by graduates of Arizona’s public universities.

Last year Arizona’s public university undergraduate degree holders living in Arizona earned $14.9 billion in Arizona wages and graduate degree recipients brought in an additional $7 billion. These graduates were not only a major driver of the state’s economy, they also contributed more than $1.5 billion in state taxes.

“Our graduates are essential for Arizona’s economy, filling jobs of the New Economy and building the state’s tax base. These graduates are meeting workforce demands in our state as baby boomers retire and moderate wage jobs like office support, food services and production work decline in our state,” said Arizona Board of Regents Chair Larry E. Penley. “It is imperative that we continue to increase the number of graduates from our universities as Arizona lags other states in terms of educational attainment.”

The report underscores the earning power of a university degree, including among students who accrue debt to finance their education. Median student loan debt repayment rates among graduates as a percentage of monthly income range from 5 to 5.8 percent for graduates with bachelor’s degrees and from 7.6 to 9.5 percent for individuals with a graduate degree over a 10-year period after graduation. Moreover, median wages one, five, 10 and 20 years after graduation have all increased since 2010.

“It’s clear that a college degree is worth the investment with wages rising over time and median debt accounting for a relatively small portion of many graduates’ earnings,” said ABOR Executive Director John Arnold. “Graduates of Arizona’s public universities are more likely to be employed and have stronger earning power after graduation, even with student loan repayments.”

The board has set strategic measures to increase educational attainment in Arizona, providing access for more students to realize better quality of life through higher education while contributing to the state’s economic vitality.

Top areas of study at the universities and associated median wages include:

Arizona State University

Bachelor’s degree Median wages
  • Business, management, marketing, and related support service
$56,188
  • Communication, journalism and related programs
$46,322
  • Engineering
$71,649
Graduate degree  
  • Education
$56,038
  • Business, management, marketing and related support services
$86,616
  • Engineering
$86,623

 

Northern Arizona University

Bachelor’s degree Median wages
  • Health professions and related programs
$63,663
  • Business, management, marketing and related support services
$51,248
  • Education
$46,990
Graduate degree  
  • Education
$58,058
  • Health professions and related programs
$79,359
  • Business, management, marketing and related support services
$73,075

 

University of Arizona

Bachelor’s degree Median wages
  • Business, management, marketing and related support services
$57,540
  • Biological and biomedical sciences
$35,408
  • Psychology
$38,293
Graduate degree  
  • Health professions and related programs
$74,739
  • Education
$51,860
  • Business, management, marketing and related support services
$84,478

 

The report also found that graduates’ persistence in the Arizona workforce declines over time. Without comparable data from other states, however, it is unclear if the persistence rates in Arizona are normative or cause for concern.

*Note: Totals reported for the Arizona public university enterprise duplicate graduates who received more than one degree from Arizona’s public universities.

Contact:
Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 | Sarah.K.Harper@azregents.edu
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 | julie.newberg@azregents.edu