The Ivy League’s Return on Investment

Ivy League ROI, ROI of Ivies, ROI of Ivy League Schools
“The top 10 percent of Harvard grads are making upwards of $250,000 by the time they’re 32,” as reports Christopher Ingraham.

You know how some folks argue that going to an Ivy League school is overrated and how you can be successful no matter where you go to college? It’s funny how those people rarely cite data to buttress their argument. Instead, they so often cite anecdotal evidence. Maybe they’ll name the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and say, “She didn’t go to an Ivy League school! See!” But the fact that these folks are citing anecdotal evidence really only adds support to the weakness of their argument. Of course you don’t have to attend an Ivy League institution in order to be successful. Of course there are exceptions. But the fact that exceptions exist does not mean the rule isn’t true.

Typical Ivy League Grads Earn Significantly More Than Non-Ivy League Grads

As Christopher Ingraham reported for The Washington Post in a piece entitled “This chart shows how much more Ivy League grads make than you,” data from the Department of Education suggests that “10 years after starting college, the typical Ivy League grad earns more than twice as much as the typical graduate of other colleges. In fact, the median Ivy graduate — say, your solid B- Harvard student — is making more money than the top 10 percent of graduates at other schools.”

Among Ivy League Schools, Harvard Boasts Highest Earning Potential

And which Ivy League graduates boast the highest median earnings 10 years after college? Harvard grads. Harvard grads also happen to boast the highest earning potential among Ivy League grads. And which schools follow on Harvard heels? In terms of median earnings 10 years after college, the ranking after Harvard goes as follows: UPenn, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Yale, and Brown. In terms of earning potential, after Harvard comes: Princeton, UPenn, Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale, Cornell, and Brown.

Where You Go to College Matters

So to those folks who argue that it doesn’t matter where you go to college, that you can be successful irrespective of where you go to school, know that of course you can be successful no matter where you go to school. You can clerk for the Supreme Court. You can run a Fortune 500 company. You can start a multi-million dollar business. There are always exceptions to every rule! But the rule is that typical Ivy League graduates earn significantly more than do non-Ivy League graduates. It might make you frustrated. It might make you slump in your chair. But let’s not forget the rule. Let’s not only highlight the exceptions — as remarkable as they are — while ignoring the cold, hard data.


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