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Is an Ivy League Degree Worth It?

Most students can only dream of landing an Ivy League degree. With some of the most selective acceptance rates in the nation, Ivy League schools are notoriously difficult to gain admission into.

But are the prestigious degrees worth it in the end? The short answer: Yes—if you’re looking to earn top dollar and power.

A recent study by Harvard University-based Opportunity Insights, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group, compared the projected future earnings of waitlisted students who eventually enrolled in Ivy League institutions with those who opted for public universities and found that attending an Ivy League college has a “statistically insignificant impact” on earnings.


While an Ivy League degree doesn’t have a significant impact on average earnings, the study found that attending an “Ivy-Plus” college (such as Stanford University, Duke University, the University of Chicago and Massachusetts Institute of Technology) does have advantages.

One notable advantage is access to prestige. Ivy-Plus grads have nearly double the chance of attending an elite grad school and triple the chance of landing a job at a prestigious firm. Additionally, children from families in the top 1% are twice as likely to attend an Ivy-Plus college as those from middle-class families with comparable SAT/ACT scores.


If you’re intent on climbing the corporate ladder and earning top dollar income, an Ivy League degree can only help you.

Studies show that an Ivy League degree increases students’ chances of ultimately reaching the top 1% of the earnings distribution by 60%.

“Highly selective private colleges serve as gateways to the upper echelons of society,” according to the researchers. “Because these colleges currently admit students from high-income families at substantially higher rates than students from lower-income families with comparable academic credentials, they perpetuate privilege.”

Sources: CNBC, CNBC, Opportunity Insights

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