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Is An Ivy School Education Worth It?

Choosing a college to go to has been a big decision for many high school students and their families across the world. For many, the academic dream is to attend an Ivy League college. To some people, certain Ivy schools have more value than others, however, all eight schools are known for their prestige and outstanding caliber. The colleges that make up the Ivy League are Dartmouth, Brown, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania.  However, the cost of an Ivy League can be a deterrent to many, leading to one, big question: is an Ivy school education worth it?

One main reason why many choose a state school over an Ivy school is due to cost. Although Ivy Leagues do offer generous financial aid (for example, at Yale or Harvard, if a student’s family earns less than $60,000 a year, they will pay nothing for their education), there is a huge cost difference for each education. For example, “[w]ithout taking in to account any tuition increases over four years, an undergraduate will pay $160,000 for his or her Ivy League education. Contrast that with a state school like Ohio State University where the tuition is a mere $9,711 for Ohio residents or $24,759 for out-of-state residents.” The cost of attending an Ivy League school discourages many students who are deterred by the idea of spending most of their life paying back student loans, and instead opt for a cheaper, state school.

Although generally, an Ivy League school has a higher cost, the long-term benefits seem to make up for that. For example, “the median annual earnings for an Ivy League graduate 10 years after starting amount to well over $70,000 a year. For graduates of all other schools, the median is around $34,000.” It is important to note that not having Ivy League education doesn’t mean you won’t get a well-paying job– however, it is evident that it will give you an advantage against others. Elena Bajic, CEO of an online executive job search website, said in an interview with USA Today, “When an employment recruiter looks at an Ivy League degree, they will usually look at it more carefully…an Ivy League education makes a candidate stand out, even before a recruiter talks to them.” Ivy League schools undeniably provide its graduates with advantages for getting into the professional and competitive labor market.

Additionally, Ivy League schools provide students with plenty of auspicious connections. For example, traditional, big-name firms such as Goldman Sachs and McKinsey still scope out new recruits at Ivy League schools because “Senior execs like to hire within their circle… [and] continue to put a preference on Ivy League grads because they see them as intelligent and driven.” Although this fact may seem discouraging for some, this is not the case for all companies. In an interview with USA Today, Dr. Mel Schiavelli, president of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, says that “Businesses are giving less preference to Ivy League grads since the advent of specific program rankings.” This means that companies are starting to become more focused on the specific program within universities that potential employees have completed instead of the overall university. According to U.S. News, the University of Texas-Austin has one of the best accounting programs in the U.S., and therefore if an accountant recruiter is looking at the specific program a potential employee has completed, then a person who attended the University of Texas-Austin for accounting compared to a person who attended Cornell for accounting may be viewed as better. Furthermore, an Ivy League education is not necessarily “better” academically than other schools. In fact, “some experts say other schools are now equal to an Ivy League degree.”

Regardless of what you think about Ivy League schools, at the end of the day, it is up to each family to decide on the best option that works for them.

Photo: WorldBook via Shutterstock

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