The Impact of Education at a Top College on Your Career
Many high school students getting ready to apply for or choose their college are faced with a dilemma: Do they go to a prestigious private school with huge yearly tuition, or choose a less well-regarded university and incur less student debt?
On one hand, the less debt a person acquires, the sooner he or she can start saving money or buying a house once his or her career begins. On the other hand, a degree from a top-notch university can open the door for many career opportunities that a degree from a lower-tier university might not offer.
Does the college a person go to matter when it comes to their future career? And if so, what impact does it have? Researchers have been looking at these questions for the past 30 years or so, and it’s possible to say some things definitively about this topic.
The Impact of College Choice on Future Earnings
The first question is: Does the ranking of the college a person attends have an impact on future earnings? The short and clear answer is that yes, they most certainly do.
A study divided all colleges into groupings of ‘Top Private’, ‘Middle Private’, ‘Bottom Private’, ‘Top Public’, and ‘Middle Public’. Graduates of Top Private saw an average wage premium of 39%, Middle Private was 10%, Top Public was 26%, and Middle Public was 6%. Meanwhile, Bottom Private had a negative wage premium, at -15%. Without a doubt, graduates of top tier colleges do better on aggregate than those in less well-regarded schools.
To truly weigh the cost versus benefit, it would be necessary to factor in the difference in student loan burden for all students, but the raw numbers show that going to a better school means a more lucrative career. True analysis of the best schools to attend from a financial standpoint look at more than simply average wages of graduates.
Best Schools for Return on Investment
Judging which schools produce the best ROI means factoring the tuition costs for a degree, amount of financial aid available, and the average salaries/wages earned by graduates. Incorporating all these measures, a calculation can determine the best schools in terms of financial ROI.