17 West Coast Private Colleges Whose Grads Earn the Least Money

Graduating with a degree is linked to improved employment prospects and raised salaries, making college a pivotal point in young people's lives.

And while selecting the right major is important, it appears the institution chosen may also make a difference to the size of that first paycheck.

Newsweek has now commissioned economic modelers to rate graduates' expected salary for private colleges on the West Coast.

Researchers studied a dataset of professional profiles from West Coast colleges alumni and attributed wages to each individual according to the national median wage for current occupation of employment.

Wage data were obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment And Wages Statistics program.

Please note, only institutions with more than 1,000 profiles in the database were considered.

Newsweek presents the West Coast-based private colleges whose graduates proceed to earn the lowest average median wage.

While here, why not also take a look at the private colleges whose graduates go on to earn the most money?

17. Stanford University ($108,345)

Stanford University
Stanford University is one of the world's most prestigious teaching and research colleges SpVVk/Getty Images

Stanford is one of the top teaching and research colleges, with its San Francisco Bay Area campus among the largest in the U.S.

Admissions are extremely competitive at this elite and prestigious establishment, with popular majors including Computer Science, Engineering and Biology.

16. University of Southern California ($97,778)

Established in 1880, USC is the oldest private research university in the West Coast state of California.

The University of Southern California reportedly graduates 92 percent of students, with the most popular majors including Business, Biology and Communications.

15. Santa Clara University ($96,696)

Established in 1851, Santa Clara is a private college situated in California's Silicon Valley.

Popular majors at this highly rated mid-sized institution include Finance, Communications and Economics.

Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University's Malibu campus is nestled in the rolling foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains Sam Edwards/Getty Images

14. Pepperdine University ($94,781)

Pepperdine University's Malibu campus is nestled in the rolling foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The most popular majors at this prestigious West Coast college include Business, Public Relations and Psychology.

13. University of San Diego ($93,420)

The University of San Diego is a private research college established in its current incarnation in 1972.

Some of the most popular majors at this highly rated institution iclude Finance, Marketing and Communications.

University of the Pacific
University of the Pacific Deagreez/Getty Images

12. University of the Pacific ($91,020)

The University of the Pacific is a private highly rated college based in Stockton, California.

Popular majors at this West Coast college, also recognized for its athletics facilities and diversity, include Business, Biology, and Liberal Arts and Humanities.

11. Loyola Marymount University ($90,238)

LMU is a private Jesuit and Marymount research university located in Los Angeles, California.

Popular majors at this well-regarded college include Communications, Psychology and Marketing.

10. Gonzaga University ($88,997)

Gonzaga University is a private, mid-sized college based in Spokane, Washington State.

Popular majors undertaken at this highly rated college include Business, Psychology and Mechanical Engineering.

The college provided the following reaction to this article: "It is unfortunate, that you have chosen to include Gonzaga University in a sensationalized study that fails to address the context of a University's mission[.]"

9. University of San Francisco ($87,727)

The University of San Francisco is a private Jesuit institution with its main campus close to California's Golden Gate Bridge.

Among the most popular majors at this highly rated West Coast college are Nursing, Business and Finance.

8. National University ($83,949)

Founded in 1971, National is a private college headquartered in San Diego, California.

Popular majors at this relatively small university include Business, Nursing, and Liberal Arts and Humanities.

7. Chapman University ($83,858)

Chapman is a highly rated private research college based in Orange, California.

Popular majors at this medium-sized establishment of higher education include Business, Cinematography and Video Production, and Psychology.

6. Trident University ($82,471)

Trident is a private for-profit, primarily online college based in Cypress, California.

Popular majors at the small-sized university range from Business, Health Service Preparatory Studies, to the Liberal Arts and Humanities.

5. University of La Verne ($81,338)

Founded in 1891, La Verne is a private college located in La Verne, California.

Popular majors at this above-average West Coast university include Business, Liberal Arts and Humanities, and Psychology.

La Verne provided the following reaction to this article: "In response, we would refer you to your own reporting published in Newsweek six days ago that listed our university as one of the 17 West Coast Private Colleges Whose Grads Earn the Most Money."

4. Azusa Pacific University ($77,817)

Founded in 1899, Azusa Pacific University is a private, evangelical Christian college based in California.

Some of the most popular majors at APU range from kinesiology, business, theater and chemistry.

3. University of Arizona Global Campus ($72,310)

University of Arizona Global Campus (formerly Ashford University) is a public online college based primarily in San Diego, California.

Popular majors taken at this West Coast institution of higher learning include business, early childhood education and psychology.

2. Academy of Art University ($71,734)

Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is a private for-profit art college based in San Francisco, California.

The most popular majors at the university range from drafting and design, animation, video graphics and special effects, and computer graphics.

1. California Baptist University ($71,119)

Established in 1950, California Baptist University is a private, Christian college based in Riverside, California.

Students at this West Coast institution are attracted to the college for majors including business, nursing and psychology.