Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College?

Evidence on the Effects of Undergraduate College Quality on Graduate School Attendance

Published in: Economics of Education Review, v. 17, no. 4, 1998, p. 371-376

Posted on on January 01, 1998

by Eric R. Eide, Dominic J. Brewer, Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Read More

Access further information on this document at Economics of Education Review

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Much mention has recently focused on the rapidly rising costs of a college education, and whether the benefits of attending an elite private college have kept pace with the increasing costs. In this paper the authors analyze whether undergraduate college quality affects the likelihood that an individual attends graduate school. Using data on three cohorts of students from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 and High School and Beyond, they find that on balance attendance at an elite private college significantly increases the probability of attending graduate school, and more specifically, graduate school at a major research institution.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.