Over 44 million Americans collectively hold a record-breaking $1.5 trillion in student debt. "At a time when parents and students are confronting ever-increasing tuition bills and levels of debt, the return-on-investment of a degree is more important than ever," John Byrne, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Poets&Quants for Undergrads tells CNBC Make It.
One way students can make sure they're getting the most out of their investment is to choose a major that will lead to a stable and high-paying career.
For many, studying business is the obvious choice. Business is consistently the most popular college major, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that over 300,000 bachelor degrees in business are conferred each year. According to The Washington Post, one in five bachelor's degrees are awarded to students who study in academic fields like finance, accounting and management.
But while business majors who specialize in niche fields like actuarial mathematics can make some serious cash, they're actually not the highest earners. Salary comparison site PayScale surveyed 2.3 million graduates from over 2,700 colleges across the U.S. and found that the highest-paying college major isn't business, and it isn't computer science either.
The highest-paying college major? Petroleum engineering.