UC Santa Barbara
Paul Wellman (file)

Personal finance website NerdWallet recently named UCSB the eighth best school for aspiring business majors among 358 recently studied. But UCSB doesn’t have a business major, right?

NerdWallet’s working definition of a “business major” includes fields such as finance, accounting, and business administration, as well as the traditional business major offered at many other schools. For UCSB, that means the case rested on its undergraduate economics program, which draws more students than any other major on campus. The analysts looked at each university’s cost of in-state tuition, average aid package, average student debt, and median salary of graduates ten years out of college.

The study deems UCSB’s $13,671 yearly in-state tuition “relatively affordable” for Californians. This figure is accompanied by an average $15,852 aid package awarded to students and an average $20,452 in student debt after graduation. The payoff, however, comes 10 years down the road, when UCSB alumni with economics degrees have been found to earn a median $102,000 salary, according to the study.

The study lists three “key takeaways” from its findings. The first recognizes UC Berkeley as best in the nation for business, with graduates earning a median $138,000 salary 10 years out of school. The study also found public schools tend to provide the best return. The third key finding is that University of California system is home to four of the study’s top schools with Berkeley holding the no. 1 spot, UC Irvine at no. 5, UCSB at no. 8, and UCLA in 10th.

Brigham Young University is the lone private institution among NerdWallet’s top 10, with its superior affordability and a business school that draws most students on its campus. The other nine are public universities in California, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and New York that NerdWallet finds are “providing the best return” on their students’ educations.


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