Pay for mining school grads beats Harvard

Big pay, less prestige.Big pay, less prestige.

Who makes more money after graduating from college? Students from Harvard, or graduates of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology?

The 259 students that graduated from that little mining technology program in flyover country recieved an average starting salary of $54,700.  Harvard  grads in 2012 only managed $54,100 despite paying four times as much in tuition.

A telling exerpt from the linked article:

The number of (Harvard) engineering students who go into mining is “virtually zero, if not zero,” says Michael Rutter, the communications director for Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. They tend to go into industries including finance, biomedical engineering, software and government, he said.

While the difference between the two pay scales is not all that much, it’s likely that over time most of the Harvard grads will surpass the mining engineers in pay.

But here’s a thought experiment: how long could we survive, or how well could we maintain our standard of living if we had to do without any and all products  that come from mines. That would include steel, copper, aluminum, precious metals, limestone and the coal that generates half of our electricity? Conversely, how long could we survive without the products created in the last 30 years by Harvard students, things like Facebook and hedge funds?

So tell me which degree is more valuable to society?