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Ivy League full price vs UofM in state tuition?

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Replies to: Ivy League full price vs UofM in state tuition?

  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,654 Senior Member
    The $180K that the OP would save by going to Michigan will fund a startup. There is no better way to learn CS.
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,306 Senior Member
    @theloniusmonk "The top five schools in terms or prestige out here for CS/engr are Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, CMU, Michigan."

    What I don't understand is that if Michigan students are being placed so well in SF, NYC and Seattle, why they report lower average salaries? It is true that Columbia does not produce detailed salary data, but Penn and Cornell do, as does Michigan, but I would assume Columbia is similar to Penn and Cornell.

    Others have said it is cost of living that causes Michigan salaries to be lower, but that does not make sense to me because CS majors at top schools all seem to be moving to the same cities. I have no doubt that the best Michigan students can compete with anyone and can command salaries in the $110k - $150k range. However, I suspect that the average and below average Michigan students may not be so competitive and that may bring their average down. To me it appears that there is just not enough information to tell why the Michigan average is lower. Maybe you have some insight?


    University of Pennsylvania
    https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/files/2016_Senior_Survey.pdf

    Cornell University
    https://www.cs.cornell.edu/undergrad/cscareers/placementreport

    University of Michigan
    http://career.engin.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/02/annualreport1516.pdf
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,928 Senior Member
    I would assume Columbia is similar to Penn and Cornell.

    I don't think that's a fair assumption. Cornell and Penn have much better CS reputation in my experience, and Penn benefits from overrepresentation in the financial sector, even within tech.

    I think calling Michigan a top 5 school for CS is a reach, but I think it's safely a top 15 CS school. I don't think you can say the same about Columbia.

    The 5th in CS reputation is hotly debated on CC - I don't think going down this road accomplishes anything.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,084 Super Moderator
    "I have no doubt that the best Michigan students can compete with anyone and can command salaries in the $110k - $150k range. However, I suspect that the average and below average Michigan students may not be so competitive and that may bring their average down."

    Much2learn, the range of Michigan students enrolled in the CoE is similar to the students enrolled at Cornell or Penn. There is no difference in the quality of the students. There may have been a slight difference in quality in the 90s and 00s, but the gap has closed entirely in recent years.

    There are simple reasons for the small gap in starting pay.

    First of all, Cornell's data is for 2017, while Penn and Michigan's reports are for 2016 graduates. That alone accounts for a 3%-4% difference in pay.

    Second, the makeup of the students in the engineering programs. For example, at Michigan, most engineering students (over 70%) major in Aerospace, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical etc...Those aren't the highest paid Engineering disciplines. At Penn, roughly 50% major in CS, CE-related majors, which pay significantly more. In this regard, Cornell, Michigan and Northwestern have a more balanced concentration of majors than Penn, which seems to lean heavily on CS/CE majors.

    But even then, the advantage when it comes to placing graduates in companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft clearly favors Michigan, even over the likes of Cornell:

    Michigan: 149
    Penn: 39
    Cornell: 38

    Michigan is obviously twice larger than Cornell and three times larger than Penn (although Penn has roughly almost as many CS/CE majors as Michigan), but advantage in the number placed in those tippy top Tech firms clearly favors Michigan.

    Third, while many CS majors end up in Silicon Valley, the majority, certainly over 50%, will work regionally. For example, according to Penn's report, close to 60% of Penn graduates took jobs in the Mid Atlantic (DC to NYC) and Northeast (mostly Boston). In the case of Michigan (and Northwestern), approximately 50% work in the Midwest. The cost of living in the Midwest is significantly lower than the cost of living in cities like DC, NYC and Boston, and the starting salaries will usually reflect the cost of living. Since 50%-60% of the graduates work and live regionally, it stands to reason that those take jobs in the most expensive region will have higher starting salaries. That can easily account for the 15% gap between Michigan (and other Midwestern schools like Northwestern and UIUC) and East Coast universities (like Cornell and Penn).

    Below are the average starting salaries Engineering/CS graduates:

    Cornell: $79,000
    Michigan: $76,000
    Northwestern: $70,000
    Penn: $88,000

    https://issuu.com/nucareeradvance/docs/beyond_northwestern_handout_2016_fi

    http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/resources/career_services/students/statistics/upload/Undergraduate-Class-of-2016.pdf
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 1,260 Senior Member
    edited October 12
    First of all, Cornell's data is for 2017, while Penn and Michigan's reports are for 2016 graduates. That alone accounts for a 3%-4% difference in pay.

    @Alexandre Your good at making stuff up and presenting it as factual.

    Also failing to normalize for size, UMich has 5 times as many engineering students as Penn. that would put Penn at nearly 200 vs 149 for UMich after a simple normalization, but I did meet a UMich grad working at the Genious Bar so Apple does hire them.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,698 Senior Member
    edited October 12
    Boy this thread is off the rails.

    OP -- recognize that the average college student changes majors three times while in school. So there's a good chance that all the fighting over Columbia's CS program vs UM's CS program will be irrelevant to you. Since you may wind up studying something completely different.

    If price is an object, most everyone would pick UM in-state over Columbia. If price is no object, most people would pick Columbia over UM.

    According to you, price is no object. So pick the school you like better -- UM and CU are going to be VERY different animals in terms of your college experience. Pick UM if you want a BIG school, close to home, great college town and rah rah football atmosphere. Pick CU if you want smaller, away from home, and urban.

    And ignore all the Bravo Sierra back and forth above.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,084 Super Moderator
    edited October 12
    "First of all, Cornell's data is for 2017, while Penn and Michigan's reports are for 2016 graduates. That alone accounts for a 3%-4% difference in pay.

    @Alexandre Your good at making stuff up and presenting it as factual."

    I am merely stating a statistical reality. If you look at average starting salaries at Cornell, Michigan, Northwestern or Penn, there is an increase of 3%-4% annually. For example, the average Penn starting salary for the SEAS in 2012 was $69,000, 2013 was $72,000, 2014 was $75,000, in 2015 was $83,000 and in 2016 was $88,000. Since Cornell's report is for 2017 graduates, while Michigan's and Penn's report is for 2016 graduates, the comparison isn't entirely fair.

    "Also failing to normalize for size, UMich has 5 times as many engineering students as Penn. that would put Penn at nearly 200 vs 149 for UMich after a simple normalization..."

    Penn lists 68 CS majors out of the 177 who reported their placement and salaries from the SEAS at Penn, compared to 110 CS majors out of the 406 who reported their placement and salaries from the CoE at Michigan. So it is nowhere near five times more. Like I said, Michigan's College of Engineering (roughly 6,500 undergraduate students) is 4 times larger than Penn's SEAS (close to 1,700 undergraduate students, so not 5 times larger), but when it comes to CS majors, Michigan and Penn have roughly the same numbers. As I stated above, Cornell, Michigan and Northwestern have a more balanced concentration of engineering majors than Penn, which seems to focus disproportionately in CS/CE. Even if you adjust for size, Michigan places a significantly higher number of graduates as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft than Penn.

    "...but I did meet a UMich grad working at the Genious Bar so Apple does hire them."

    Hehe! You got it there! I did go to Genius Bar a couple of times, but I never had the presence of mind to ask the service reps for their resumes! ;)
    Post edited by Alexandre on
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,306 Senior Member

    "at Michigan, most engineering students (over 70%) major in Aerospace, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical etc...Those aren't the highest paid Engineering disciplines. At Penn, roughly 50% major in CS, CE-related majors, which pay significantly more. In this regard, Cornell, Michigan and Northwestern have a more balanced concentration of majors than Penn, which seems to lean heavily on CS/CE majors."

    I agree that the mix of majors is an issue. I was only looking at Computer Science.

    For a ME, EE, ChemE, choosing Michigan over an Ivy if it is cheaper seems to be more clear cut for most students. The pay range is much smaller for these majors and the related jobs.

    "But even then, the advantage when it comes to placing graduates in companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft clearly favors Michigan, even over the likes of Cornell"

    These 4 companies seem to be the focus of Michigan graduates. I think a lot of grads at Ivies have those options too, but may simply decide that other offers are better for them. Those 4 are not necessarily superior to other options: Facebook, AirBnB, Lyft, Bloomberg, Jane Street, D. E. Shaw, Drop Box, Palantir, etc.

    I think the better job depends on many factors: the specific duties, compensation, location, etc.

    "In the case of Michigan (and Northwestern), approximately 50% work in the Midwest. The cost of living in the Midwest is significantly lower than the cost of living in cities like DC, NYC and Boston, and the starting salaries will usually reflect the cost of living."

    I don't understand this. I don't think that many top CS jobs exist in the midwest that would be comparable to SF, NYC, Seattle, or Boston. There are probably a reasonable number of comparable positions in Chicago, and I am sure there are a few startups in Ann Arbor, but if a large number of CS students are staying in Michigan, then I would think that suggests that they are not getting similar positions.
  • hannuhyluhannuhylu Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
    Following rankings like they are definitive is hillarious some of you geesh lol.

    Again total rip off to pay that upcharge for UG as others have said in many circles it is not even the better program.
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 3,499 Senior Member
    edited October 12
    Michigan is underrated by USNews for undergrad. In terms of academic strength across the board, Michigan *might* trail only Berkeley among public schools. Might. And they're probably better than the rest.

    Realizing that grad school rankings are not a proxy for undergrad quality -- but if the grad program is strong, chances are the undergrad version is at least pretty good -- Michigan is top-20 in almost everything and top-10 in most things. UCLA and UVA (especially UVA) can't say that.

    Columbia is a totally different environment and a great school, but if it is better than Michigan, it isn't six-figures better.

  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 829 Member
    Others have said it is cost of living that causes Michigan salaries to be lower, but that does not make sense to me because CS majors at top schools all seem to be moving to the same cities. I have no doubt that the best Michigan students can compete with anyone and can command salaries in the $110k - $150k range. However, I suspect that the average and below average Michigan students may not be so competitive and that may bring their average down. To me it appears that there is just not enough information to tell why the Michigan average is lower. Maybe you have some insight?

    I didn't see a huge difference in CS (90K for UM, 100K for Penn?) which is the major we're discussing. So lot will depend on the respondents as well, Cornell only had 114 respondents (119 responded but five didn't answer a lot of the questions it looked like) so that's not a huge response rate. Maybe those that didn't have great salaries decided not to report. Also you're assuming that everyone is honest in these things.

    Second, you have stock options that will lower the starting salary in companies, esp in tech. Grads will take a lower salary if it means 500 Google stock vesting over 4 years. Also Google I believe sets salary on how well you do in your interview, so once you get an interview, if you're a SJSU grad (and there are a lot of those at Google and Apple), you can do better wrt compensation than an ivy leaguer if you have a superb interview.

    And you're comparing Michigan to Cornell and Penn, who have better engineering and comp sci programs than Columbia. That's not as straightforward a comparison as UM and Columbia, where UM has the clear edge. Cornell and Penn have the two best engr/cs programs in the ivies and would be in the second set of schools I mentioned. I have actually met grads from those schools out here :-).

  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,084 Super Moderator
    edited October 12
    These 4 companies seem to be the focus of Michigan graduates. I think a lot of grads at Ivies have those options too, but may simply decide that other offers are better for them. Those 4 are not necessarily superior to other options: Facebook, AirBnB, Lyft, Bloomberg, Jane Street, D. E. Shaw, Drop Box, Palantir, etc.

    I think the better job depends on many factors: the specific duties, compensation, location, etc."

    Much2learn, I agree that other companies may offer more appealing alternatives, although I am not sure that those companies are hiring any fewer Michigan graduates vis-a-vis graduates from other top universities. For example, Michigan grads still do better with some of those secondary companies you mentioned, including Facebook, which hired more Michigan grads (12) than Cornell (fewer than 5) and Penn (2).

    Location, as you point our, plays a major role here. That is why many graduates end up working in their respective regions. It is difficult for many graduates from schools like Michigan and Northwestern to accept jobs on the West Coast or East Cost because that would mean going far from home. Many would rather take good jobs locally, or regionally.

    That being said, I do not think the pay gap is sufficient to make any assumptions or draw any conclusions. The Michigan average starting pay for a CS major is $94,000, vs $101,000 for a Penn CS major. That $7k gap could well be explained by a variety of reasons/factors, including regional pay differences and relative differences in variable pay (stock options etc...).
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 829 Member
    One more thing that sets salaries, how well you can negotiate, I wish I had known that when I just got out of school. Typically grads just of of school don't negotiate as they either don't think that it's an option or they don't want to get on a bad footing with the company. But as you go on, what you earn is dependent on how well you can negotiate.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 51,943 Senior Member
    Haven’t read since this was first asked on pg one, but why is this an issue until the admission results are out...
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,306 Senior Member

    @theloniousmonk "And you're comparing Michigan to Cornell and Penn, who have better engineering and comp sci programs than Columbia. That's not as straightforward a comparison as UM and Columbia, where UM has the clear edge. Cornell and Penn have the two best engr/cs programs in the ivies and would be in the second set of schools I mentioned. I have actually met grads from those schools out here."

    I agree that Columbia may not be comparable to Cornell and Penn. I thought that was a reasonable comparison, but that makes sense.

    @theloniusmonk "Second, you have stock options that will lower the starting salary in companies, esp in tech. Grads will take a lower salary if it means 500 Google stock vesting over 4 years."

    That is definitely true. This year is the first time I have seen a 21 year old undergrad with a CS offer of $100k+ salary and another $100k+ in onboarding (signing bonus + relocation + stock/options). The talented CS kids seem to be really cleaning up this year. Are you seeing that more broadly?
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