Payscale’s 2023 College Salary Report and Best Value Colleges list show that  Tech offers a $453,000 20-year net return on investment

Cookeville – Tennessee Tech University has again delivered the highest return on investment and the highest early career pay of any public university in the state, according to the latest rankings from Payscale.

Payscale’s 2023 College Salary Report and Best Value Colleges list show that Tech offers  Tech offers a $453,000 20-year net return on investment, outpacing its nearest in-state public university competitor by nearly $90,000. The figure represents the difference between 20-year median pay for an individual with a Tech undergraduate degree and 20-year median pay for an individual with a high school diploma, minus the cost of tuition.

Likewise, Tech offers the highest early career pay of all public universities in Tennessee with a median starting annual salary of $66,300, more than $3,400 ahead of its nearest public university competitor. Among mid-career salaries, Tech finished in the top two of all public institutions in the state.

Tech President Phil Oldham says the findings affirm Tech’s dedication to providing a high-quality, affordable education that produces career-ready graduates.

“As this data shows, ‘students first’ is more than a slogan at Tennessee Tech, it’s a commitment that our faculty and staff put into practice each day,” said Oldham. “Tennessee Tech has always been about providing a quality education at an affordable cost that prepares students for impactful, real-world careers. That is our mission and mandate, and we are the best at doing it of any place I know.”

Payscale’s findings also affirm Tech’s status as the state’s leading STEM university. Its College Salary Report finds that more than a quarter of all Tech degrees are in the STEM field, the highest percentage of any public university in the state.

Finally, Payscale data shows more than half Tech graduates say their careers make the world a better place, putting Tech’s “high meaning” index above the likes of Ivy League institutions including Harvard University, Princeton University, Cornell University and others.

The findings come as Tech was recently ranked as a best national university for the ninth straight year by U.S. News & World Report and is expected to launch its highly anticipated nuclear engineering degree program in the fall of 2024, pending final approval by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Payscale is a leading compensation software and data company helping employees understand their worth in the job market. Read the full reports at and

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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