Elite Colleges Not Necessarily Best Ticket to High Earnings, Study Says

Jan. 26, 2000 12:51 a.m.

Going to an academically elite college does not necessarily boost your earnings potential compared to a less elite college, according to a study by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger.

In his paper " Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College ," published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a school's selectivity, as measured by matriculants' average SAT scores, does not correlate with students' later income, once the abilities of the students upon entering college are taken into account. This finding challenges previous studies positively linking earnings to a college's prestige. The researchers did find, however, that for a subset of students -- those from a financially disadvantaged background -- an elite education did bring greater financial rewards.