Nowadays, the total cost of elite Ivy League schools like MIT, Rice, Duke, and Amherst are approximately $50,000 a year, but luckily many students pay less due to their financial aid packages. Public state universities cost less, and may be just as good as the private ones. The question that comes up often with students and families is: will going to a $50,000 school mean that you will make more money over time (and therefore justify the cost?)
Many people assume that students who go to elite colleges will make more money than those who don’t. Payscale.com asked graduates to report their earnings, and it was no surprise that students from schools like Dartmouth, MIT, Harvard, and Stanford reported the highest mid-career median earnings.
A 1998 study by economists Alan Kreuger and Stacey Dale looked at more than 14,000 people who started at elite colleges (as defined by SAT scores) in 1976, and compared their earnings 19 years later to students who applied to elite schools but went somewhere else. Basically their findings showed that it didn’t matter where the students went, as long as they were capable of going to the elite schools. Their research showed that earnings were unrelated to the selectivity of the college that students attended among those who had comparable options.
However, one thing worth noting was that the earning power of students from lower-income families definitely improved by attending elite schools. Caroline Hoxby, a respected educational economist, found that graduates of more selective colleges earned more than those who went to schools that were easier to get into. “If we compared two men with the same measured aptitude, the one who graduates from a more selective college still tends to earn more over his career”, Hoxby said.
The study did not take into account parents’ income, or the student’s choice of profession. If you attend an elite school but don’t go for the right degree program, it is not going to boost your earnings that much. And remember, a student’s character, ability, career choice, and fate are important factors when figuring out which school to attend.
Regardless of where you get it, earning an accredited and quality degree is important and will help you earn more. Answer a few simple questions and get matched to a degree program today!
Source: BNET, http://blogs.bnet.com/career-advice/?p=751