(WSJ) Is an Ivy League Diploma Worth It?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As student-loan default rates climb and college graduates fail to land jobs, an increasing number of students are betting they can get just as far with a degree from a less-expensive school as they can with a diploma from an elite school—without having to take on debt.

More students are choosing lower-cost public colleges or commuting to schools from home to save on housing expenses. Twenty-two percent of students from families with annual household incomes above $100,000 attended public, two-year schools in the 2010-2011 academic year, up from 12% the previous year, according to a report from student-loan company Sallie Mae.

Such choices meant families across all income brackets spent 9% less—an average of $21,889 in cash, loans, scholarships and other methods—on college in 2010-11 than in the previous year, according to the report. High-income families cut their college spending by 18%, to $25,760. The report, which is released annually, was based on a survey of about 1,600 students and parents.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

4 Comments
Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

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1. DaveW wrote:

It depends on the major.  I have a Master of Arts in Religion from an Ivy League school that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.  For one thing, as soon as an employer sees that it’s from an Ivy League school, they immediately reject it because they assume that anyone with an Ivy League degree is going to demand a higher salary than they are willing to pay, and they can’t be bothered with negotiating.  Secondly, a degree in theology is nearly useless in the workforce anyway.  Even if you try to get a teaching job, in my experience, the Ivy League degree seems to work against you.

Now, if you have a degree in something marketable, like computer engineering, or web design, then it might be different.

November 8, 10:46 am | [comment link]
2. DTerwilliger wrote:

I think in most respects it’s what you make of it (one’s education).  Some people might be tempted to see the value of H.E. in purely pragmatic terms.  Others, regardless where they go to university, see value in terms of simply being an educated person who can speak to the issues of their focus and develop life-long habits of mind.  I graduated from a liberal arts university in CA and a red brick university in the UK.  An American ivy league school might have opened different doors for me but my education would have still been MY education - a responsibility that sits in the student’s own lap first and foremost.

November 8, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
3. Hakkatan wrote:

Maybe if you are planning on graudate studies; otherwise, there are plenty of other good schools that are cheaper.

Charlie Sutton
http://www.trinitywhitinsville.org

November 8, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

I presume that at Ivy League - as at Oxford and Cambridge - half the value is in the contacts that you make among your peers.

November 8, 7:06 pm | [comment link]


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