Is a Degree from an Ivy League College Really Worth It?

Getting an education from Ivy League schools such as Harvard University and Princeton University is something that most high school students strive for when they’re spending their time preparing for their college applications. But is the high pressure and big paycheck worth it? PayScale's 2013 College ROI Report has answers.

Ivy Leagues have a lot to offer. With an average graduation rate of 95% and the impressive name recognition that comes with a degree from any of these schools, it would make sense that these schools would give you the best ROI for your educational investment.

Is an Ivy League degree worth it?

But are they the best? Based on our findings, the annualized ROI for these schools range from 5.8% to 6.9%, while the top state schools have an annualized ROI between 8.8% and 10.8%. The lower tuition (especially for in-state students, who usually make up the majority of a public school’s student population) greatly helps to give top public schools a more favorable ROI.The annualized ROI is calculated dividing the Earnings Differential by the Weighted Cost. It represents the percentage of ROI you can expect each year you’re employed after graduation.

The return on investment for a college education is calculated by the actual cost of attending college and the return is the additional expected future income stream received for being a college graduate. So based on these figures, though the Ivy League name recognition and the networking opportunities you’ll get at these schools could be beneficial in your career, it does not guarantee a high return of investment on the actual money that you spent on your education, especially when compared to a very competitive public school.

In today’s economy, there is no job guarantee for anyone, even with a college degree from an Ivy League school. So it’s up to you to decide whether going to a state school could make more financial sense for you in the long run. You can also factor in colleges specializing in a certain field of study such as engineering, research, and business. Ultimately, it’s useful to know what you want to do after you graduate when you are choosing a college. That way you can make a better decisions that can give you a higher return on your investment.

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(Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer)


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