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New UC data shine a light on alumni earnings

Within five years of graduating, a majority of UC’s low-income students earn more than their parents.

“It’s one of the indicators that shows how a UC education creates economic mobility for its students,” Pamela Brown, UC’s vice president for Institutional Research and Academic Planning, told the UC Board of Regents earlier this month.

The University of California has more than 2 million living alumni. Over the past year, Brown’s team has been gathering and analyzing data to learn more about what happens to students after they complete their degrees, including which sectors they work in; how their earnings change over time; and whether low-income students move up the economic ladder.

The data, captured in UC’s 2018 Accountability Report and documented in even more detail at the UC Information Center, shows the extent to which a UC degree can be a great economic equalizer:

  • Students from families in the bottom 20 percent of incomes go on to earn as much as students from middle-income families.
  • A third of low-income students do even better — moving from the bottom 20 percent of incomes into the top 20 percent.
  • All alumni, regardless of field or discipline, see their earnings double between two and 10 years after graduation.

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