College Choice Based on Earnings?

Business Week last week ran an interesting article regarding the salary outcomes of college grads that attend top tier schools as opposed to others. Their student found that graduates of prestigious institutions earned thehigher salaries than college graduates that did not attend these schools.What do these findings suggest for potential college students and their families who every year make decisions about which college to attend and how much to pay? Are these results any clearer for Hispanic students and their families?

Although differences among colleges can have a large effect onĀ earnings, choices that students make regardless of which college they attend (especially major field of study) have substantial effects on later labor market outcomes. I would suggest much more goes into a decision about which college to attend than the prospect of future earnings. Potential earning are certainly an important outcome of a college education, and the earnings advantage of a college degree cannot be dismissed. However, there are other important outcomes of a college education that are not included in this type of discussion. Students (and their families) differ in the value they place on these other outcomes. For example, contact with a diverse group of students, faculty, development of cultural and aesthetic interests, and so on.