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  • Students' Median Starting Salary Expectations Follow CPI

    January 27, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    A pen points to data on a line graph.

    TAGS: salaries, student attitudes, surveys, nace insights

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    From year to year, graduates' median salary expectation has increased just behind the Consumer Price Index, according to results of NACE's Class of 2015 Student Survey.

    This trend indicates that students are not actually expecting to earn more, but rather that their increasing salary expectations coincide with rising costs of living.

    Figure 1 illustrates the gradual increase of median starting salary expectations in terms of both real dollars and its concurrent stagnation in terms of inflation-adjust dollars (using 2010 as the base year).

    The Class of 2015 Student Survey was administered to 39,950 students at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels through NACE's college members from February 11, 2015, to April 30, 2015. The focus of the survey report is the 9,184 bachelor's degree students who indicated that they would be graduating—or already had graduated—during the 2014-2015 academic school year (July 1 to June 30), and were thus members of the Class of 2015. The Class of 2015 Student Survey was sponsored by Enterprise.

    Survey participants can access a full copy of the report through MyNACE. Highlights from the Class of 2015 Student Survey are available at

    Figure 1: Median starting salary expectations, real dollars vs. inflation-adjusted dollars

    Source: Class of 2015 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers