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 RAND.org on December 31, 1997

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

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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.

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