The 45 Colleges Where Women Earn More Than Men After Graduation

A look at the four-year colleges whose female graduates are beating the gender pay gap

Taylor Nichols Written By: Taylor Nichols
Published: March 22, 2022
Key Insights:
  • There are 45 colleges where women earn more than men 10 years after enrollment
  • Women at these schools major in healthcare professions, business, and psychology
  • Top employers for these graduates are in education and healthcare

The gender pay gap is alive and well today, with women earning 82 cents to every dollar a man earned in 2021. So why does the gender pay gap exist, and why is it so pervasive? There are a number of factors that lead to women as a group earning less than men.

Women tend to be underrepresented in high paying professions and relegated to lower paying jobs, often called occupational segregation. Women are also often the primary person responsible for unpaid labor in the home, including childcare, elder care, and other obligations, and may work fewer hours to accommodate for this.

However, gender discrimination exists in the workplace even when all of those factors are taken into account. Women still earn 98 cents to every dollar a man earns for the same job with the same qualifications, according to data from PayScale. These discrepancies in pay are even larger for most women of color, transgender women, disabled women, and other marginalized groups.

The wage gap may be smaller for women and men in specific areas due to state law, social and cultural changes, or variations in local labor markets. Changes to job requirements that qualify women in certain industries for more pay or a higher need for healthcare workers also may drive up median wages for women.

While most women who graduate college earn less than their male counterparts, there are 45 colleges where women earn more than men 10 years after enrollment. That number has increased from 36 schools with a reverse gender pay gap highlighted by a similar study published in 2016.

We took a deep dive into the data on colleges where women earn more than men to highlight trends and learn what characteristics they share. Earnings data were sourced from College Scorecard, a government data source on higher education and student outcomes.

Colleges Where Women Earn More Than Men After Graduation

School Median Salary (Women) Median Salary (Men) Difference
Wheaton College
 Massachusetts
$63,079 $54,212 $8,867
Wells College
 New York
$46,152 $38,689 $7,463
New College of Florida
 Florida
$48,346 $41,882 $6,464
American International College
 Massachusetts
$53,859 $47,560 $6,299
Mitchell College
 Connecticut
$40,703 $34,723 $5,980
The New School
 New York
$55,508 $49,736 $5,772
Johnson C. Smith University

 North Carolina
$38,933 $33,901 $5,032
Marymount Manhattan College
 New York
$49,406 $45,573 $3,833
Gallaudet University
 District of Columbia
$35,425 $31,770 $3,655
MacMurray College
 Illinois
$39,441 $36,227 $3,214
Cumberland University
 Tennessee
$47,080 $44,084 $2,996
Edward Waters College

 Florida
$33,001 $30,067 $2,934
Langston University

 Oklahoma
$33,757 $30,834 $2,923
Hamilton College
 New York
$74,668 $71,786 $2,882
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
 Massachusetts
$45,283 $42,675 $2,608
Clark Atlanta University

 Georgia
$40,081 $37,555 $2,526
Sarah Lawrence College
 New York
$50,986 $48,924 $2,062
College of Mount Saint Vincent
 New York
$55,883 $53,897 $1,986
Hampshire College
 Massachusetts
$41,862 $40,190 $1,672
Oakwood University

 Alabama
$38,244 $36,820 $1,424
University of Bridgeport
 Connecticut
$50,418 $49,017 $1,401
Morgan State University

 Maryland
$43,389 $42,049 $1,340
Shenandoah University
 Virginia
$51,032 $49,755 $1,277
Lewis & Clark College
 Oregon
$52,152 $50,955 $1,197
University of Maine at Augusta
 Maine
$34,717 $33,541 $1,176
Lincoln University

 Pennsylvania
$38,873 $37,716 $1,157
Holy Names University
 California
$60,612 $59,533 $1,079
Southwestern Adventist University
 Texas
$47,255 $46,245 $1,010
Winston-Salem State University

 North Carolina
$38,835 $37,829 $1,006
Talladega College

 Alabama
$28,411 $27,422 $989
Coppin State University

 Maryland
$41,800 $40,905 $895
Washington Adventist University
 Maryland
$55,057 $54,210 $847
Bowie State University

 Maryland
$49,667 $48,836 $831
State University of New York at New Paltz
 New York
$52,378 $51,823 $555
Swarthmore College
 Pennsylvania
$72,722 $72,323 $399
Emerson College
 Massachusetts
$57,033 $56,636 $397
University of Hawaii - West Oahu
 Hawaii
$48,155 $47,760 $395
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

 Florida
$42,728 $42,350 $378
Saint Augustine’s University

 North Carolina
$33,780 $33,448 $332
Bethune-Cookman University

 Florida
$36,471 $36,158 $313
The College of Wooster
 Ohio
$51,596 $51,304 $292
University of St. Thomas
 Texas
$53,105 $52,858 $247
Reed College
 Oregon
$51,144 $50,936 $208
Alaska Pacific University
 Alaska
$47,398 $47,207 $191
Paine College

 Georgia
$31,216 $31,061 $155

These colleges are mostly smaller, private schools on the East Coast and specifically those in northeastern states like New York and Massachusetts. Many are popular with women majoring in health professions, business, education, or visual and performing arts.

Collectively, these schools graduate a high number of women in healthcare and significantly fewer men overall. Alumni of these schools tend to work in education, healthcare, and business. Interestingly enough, only 20 of these 45 colleges are majority-white, according to data from the Postsecondary Value Commission.

Median salaries for men and women at these schools ranged from $27,422 to $72,722. While these schools do have a reverse wage gap, it is dramatically smaller at these colleges than at most other schools, where women's salaries lag far behind those of male graduates.

Wheaton College is the school with the highest reverse wage gap. Female graduates at Wheaton earned a median of $63,079, while men earned $54,212 (nearly a $9,000 wage gap).

The school with the highest earnings for women is Hamilton College in New York. The small college has very strong salary outcomes for most majors with salary data, including math, computer and information sciences, economics, and East Asian literature and linguistics.

Trends and Insights

Location

Most of the schools where women earn more than men are located up and down the East Coast, with a concentration in northeastern states. These locations partially track with comparatively lower wage gaps in New York and Maryland, although a handful of schools are located in states like Massachusetts with significantly higher wage gaps.

Notably missing are West Coast and southwest colleges. This is particularly surprising given the high number of colleges in California, a state with one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the country. This may be due in part to the tech-dominated labor market on the West Coast, an industry which has gained attention for its pervasive wage gap.

Field of Study

Graduation data from IPEDS shows that, at least in recent years, many of the colleges where women earn more than men are highly popular with women in healthcare majors. Many graduates went onto work in nursing, an industry that is dominated by women with median starting salaries nearly $20,000 higher than the average across majors. This seems to be the driving factor for women's higher median salaries than male graduates at many of these schools.

Men at these colleges favored degrees in business, social sciences, and health professions, although there were far fewer male graduates than female graduates.

Employment data from Burning Glass Technologies, an analytics company that offers employment information on college graduates based on social media profiles, illuminates career pathways for these alumni.

For graduates who finished college at these schools from 2007 through 2012, Burning Glass data shows education and healthcare stand out as top industries. Common healthcare jobs include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and doctors.

Degrees in business and psychology were also popular for women at these schools. Many alumni now work as business analysts, general managers, business owners, or CEOs. Other popular careers include researchers, teachers, professors, school administrators, software engineers, or lawyers, many of which are highly paid professions.

HBCUs

Previous studies found that HBCUs made up the majority of schools where women earn more than men, and attributed it to an increased gender disparity at HBCUs coupled with worse graduation rates and other outcomes for men.

Today, 15 out of the 45 colleges where women earn more than men are HBCUs. These 15 schools have some of the lowest median salaries for both genders of the schools on our list. However, it's important to note that HBCUs are primarily located in southern states, where the cost of living and salaries tend to be lower.

The exceptions are three HBCUs in Maryland and Florida A&M University, where the dominant degree pathways are in healthcare and business. Today, those Maryland HBCU alumni largely work in education or public administration. Top employers include public schools, universities and university medical systems, or government agencies.

Tracking Women Closing the Wage Gap

While statistics about the gender pay gap today may be discouraging for champions of equal pay, there are some positive notes. There are a record number of women in U.S. politics and STEM, and at least 10 states have enacted new legislation to help close the wage gap since 2018.

It is worth looking at the colleges where women earn more than men to track which institutions, degrees, industries, and organizations are best supporting progress toward wage equity.

So far, a growing number of small private East Coast schools, HBCUs, and those who graduate many women in healthcare and business majors have supported female graduates as they strive for equal pay. Hopefully more colleges will make this list in the future as women continue to enter fields they historically have been barred from.

Methodology

This study looked at colleges that offer four-year degrees and predominantly award bachelor's degrees at the undergraduate level. It excluded schools that primarily award associate degrees or do not offer bachelor's degrees. Wage data was sourced from College Scorecard using the most recent institution-level data released February 7, 2022. Median earnings were for male and non-male graduates, not currently enrolled in school, who reported earning at least $1 on their taxes. Earnings data was captured 10 years after initial enrollment.

Supplementary data on program enrollment and degrees awarded by gender and college were sourced from the U.S. Department of Education through IPEDS. Additional alumni data was gathered from Burning Glass Technologies, an analytics company that uses LinkedIn profiles and other publicly available data to provide current updates on the labor market.

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