New placement figures for the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology show 98 percent of 2014-15 graduates have secured employment with an average starting salary of $63,503 or are pursuing graduate degrees. Ten of the 16 majors had 100 percent placement rates, with the vast majority of students electing to go directly into industry, working at Google, Microsoft, Medtronic, NASA, SpaceX, Keurig and more.

“We are very pleased that, in spite of the softness in hiring in the energy and mining sectors this year, 98 percent of our most recent graduates have successfully started their professional lives,” says Heather Wilson, president of the School of Mines. “As a university, we judge ourselves not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include and their success. This has been another good year for Mines.”

Almost 40 percent of graduates are staying in South Dakota to continue advanced studies or contribute to the economic development of the state. Mines graduates are working for 56 different employers in 18 communities throughout South Dakota. South Dakota also led the way in employing Mines interns last year, with students working for more than 75 employers from 16 communities across the state.

Increasingly, universities like Mines are becoming important for economic development. As an engineering and science school with a lot of personal attention for undergraduate students, SD Mines is now attracting about half of its student body from out of state. In recent years, about 20 percent of the students who come from out-of-state have a first zip code after graduation inside South Dakota.

“South Dakota is one of the only states that actually grew manufacturing jobs all the way through the recession and unemployment is very low,” Wilson says. “One of the ways to continue to develop our economy is to attract talented young people to our universities and work with industry to connect them to internships and great jobs. Some of them will stay after they graduate.”

Mines successful placement rate and high salaries came to national attention starting in 2012 when an article in Forbes pointed out that SD Mines graduates “crush Harvard on pay.”

Mines grads continue to have higher starting salaries and better placement rates than every Ivy League School, the school says.

Chemical engineering graduates top the list in starting salaries, with offers averaging over $71,000, about $2,000 above the national average for that major. Mining engineering graduates were next at $69,800 in offered salaries, $4,000 above the national average. Metallurgical engineering graduates earned the third highest average salaries of $68,000, almost $6,000 above the national average for those majors.

South Dakota Mines has a very high standard for successful placement. A graduate is only considered successfully placed if they are enrolled in graduate school or are working full time in a position of their choice and not continuing to look for a job related to their major.

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,843 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of $63,500. For more information, visit