Because of rising college costs, students and their families are looking to find schools that provide a quality education, but at the same time don’t break the bank. Mason is a school that, according to, fits in this happy medium.

The organization recently gave Mason a “B” grade—the criteria being the quality of the education offered and how monetarily successful recent graduates become. The tool focuses on first-year graduate earnings rather than long-term income.

Virginia’s higher-education coordinating body, along with College Measures, a nonprofit group supported by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), collaborated in the making of’s tool.

The study is what calls “the most extensive, state-level consumer tool for tracking wages of college graduates.” Wage data was taken from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, which released detailed wage numbers earlier this month, according to

Mason’s general education requirements for all majors are composition, literature, mathematics, and science classes. Contrastingly, Mason does not require a foreign language, U.S. government or history, or economics class.

The logic here is that the more a college prepares a student academically, i.e. the more classes a student is required to take, the more likely the student will be successful in the future.

Furthermore, Mason has a graduation rate of 64 percent, in state tuition and fees of $9,266 and out of state tuition and fees of $26,744. These factors are all considered in’s rating.

A Mason graduate in computer engineering “can expect to earn $59,000 in his first year after graduation, according to the College Measures website, which is 56 percent more than the state average in that discipline,” according to

Similarly, a recent biology graduate at Mason is expected to earn $32,000 in the first year after graduation, 15 percent more than biology graduates from competing Virginia colleges.

This follows Mason being ranked as the number one up and coming college by U.S. News and World Report, showing an upward trend in Mason’s prestige and national recognition.

However, the creators of the tool stress the importance of considering other information in addition to their study. There are similar projects in the works in other states, including Tennessee and Arkansas.