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Education The Almighty Buck News

Is Going To an Elite College Worth the Cost? 391

Posted by timothy
from the drag-out-the-causation-correlator dept.
Pickens writes "Jacques Steinberg writes in the NY Times that the sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Researchers say that alumni of the most selective colleges earn, on average, 40 percent more a year than those who graduated from the least selective public universities, as calculated 10 years after they graduated from and found that 'attendance at an elite private college significantly increases the probability of attending graduate school, and more specifically graduate school at a major research university.' But other researchers say the extent to which one takes advantage of the educational offerings of an institution may be more important, in the long run, than how prominently and proudly that institution's name is being displayed on the back windows of cars in the nation's wealthiest enclaves."
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Is Going To an Elite College Worth the Cost?

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  • Re:Selection effects (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @05:40PM (#34610088)
    If you had RTFA:

    In 1999, economists from Princeton and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation looked at some of the same data Eide and his colleagues had used, but crunched them in a different way: They compared students at more selective colleges to others of "seemingly comparable ability," based on their SAT scores and class rank, who had attended less selective schools, either by choice or because a top college rejected them.

    The earnings of graduates in the two groups were about the same — perhaps shifting the ledger in favor of the less expensive, less prestigious route. (The one exception was that children from "disadvantaged family backgrounds" appeared to earn more over time if they attended more selective colleges. The authors, Stacy Berg Dale and Alan B. Krueger, do not speculate why, but conclude, "These students appear to benefit most from attending a more elite college.")

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @07:37PM (#34610936)

    Many of the most elite schools have a "legacy admissions" policy (that's how the C-student George W. Bush managed to get into Yale). It gives the children of alumni priority admission, because they want their richer alumni to keep contributing money, and denying little Biff or Muffy their admission would be bad business. It's affirmative action for the rich.

    W got in just before Yale opened up for coeducation. As soon as women were admitted, admissions because very competitive. This was true across all elite colleges.

    Now, he'd have no chance of admission.

  • Re:Only if (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dutchmang (74300) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @11:38PM (#34612504)
    Where are my mod points.... Right now even elite colleges are finding it hard to get all the full-tuition students they need. My daughter enrolled at a top school this year which gave us a no-strings-attached discount that dwarfed the cobbled-together combination of (grade-contingent) scholarships, loans, and grants that her other options offered. Now she's getting a household-name education, plus perks like great professors and a single room. Of course she's doing all the work and taking full advantage of everything on offer there. Now's the time to go a little contrarian in your educational choices.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir