Elite Schools Do Not Necessarily Lead to Higher Earnings

Source: Princeton website, Jan 2000

Going to an academically elite college does not necessarily boost your earnings potential compared to a less elite college, according to a study by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger.

…. a school’s selectivity, as measured by matriculants’ average SAT scores, does not correlate with students’ later income, once the abilities of the students upon entering college are taken into account. This finding challenges previous studies positively linking earnings to a college’s prestige. The researchers did find, however, that for a subset of students — those from a financially disadvantaged background — an elite education did bring greater financial rewards.

“It appears that student ambition, as reflected in the quality of the school to which he or she applies, is a better predictor of earning success than what college they ultimately choose or which college chooses them.”

colleges that provide more tuition assistance to children from lower income families are pursuing the right path, since we find that these are students who benefit the most from attending highly selective schools,


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