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Newsday: Molloy College ranks No. 5 in grads' pay

Coming in fifth place may not seem like everybody's definition of winning. But it's a win if you're tiny Molloy College in Rockville Centre and you place fifth in a 2011 national ranking -- four spots below the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- of best salaries for recent college grads.

Molloy, a private liberal arts school and one of Long Island's smaller colleges, placed fifth in the annual PayScale College Salary Report (payscale.com/best- colleges). MIT grads received a $69,700 median starting salary, the survey found, while Molloy grads received $64,000. In 2010 Molloy was No. 7 for starting median pay, at $62,300.
Seattle-based PayScale is an online provider of compensation data provided voluntarily by people who put in their own information to compare their pay with others in their field. Katie Bardaro, PayScale's lead research analyst, said PayScale has 29 million "profiles" in its database. PayScale does not disclose how many Molloy students are in the database, she said, but "it's enough to be statistically significant," with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Molloy's ranking at No. 5 was among schools of all types. The median is defined as total cash compensation (base hourly wage or base salary, commissions, bonuses and profit sharing.) The ranking applies to bachelor's degree graduates who have up to five years of experience in their field.

Bardaro said one main reason Molloy is in the top for starting pay is that it graduates a large percentage of health care workers, specifically nurses. PayScale's database shows registered nurses on Long Island with two to three years of experience earn a median total cash compensation of $62,200.

Overall, nationally, this year's spring grads are receiving job offers with an average starting pay of $50,034 a year, up 3.5 percent from last year, according to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Molloy spokesman Ken Young said the news was welcome on the campus. "Not only do we have programs in areas of study that are producing jobs, but they're well-paying jobs," Young said. The college has 1,700 nursing students -- about 1,200 undergrad and about 500 grad. The total student population is a little over 4,200.

Andrea Bergman, 29, of Levittown, who graduated from Molloy's four-year nursing program in May, starts a job Monday with Katz Women's Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. She said she will start at a little over $60,000. "I was surprised," Bergman said, when she learned the starting pay. "I feel extremely fortunate."

On the downside, Bardaro said, while nursing is known for good starting pay, there are "limited opportunities for pay growth." Molloy drops down to No. 283 in the ranking of schools on highest mid-career median pay, with $79,200, compared to MIT's median of $115,000.

"Those who only learn basic knowledge in school but gain valuable knowledge in the field that increases their productivity see higher increase in pay as they obtain more experience," Bardaro said.

By JAMES BERNSTEIN from Newsday

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