9 state universities that could help you earn just as much money as an Ivy League education


You don't have to attend an Ivy League university to have an Ivy League income. If you fit a certain profile, attending a good state university could do the trick. 

That's according to a new study by Opportunity Insights, a group of Harvard-based economists. The researchers looked at students who were wait-listed by Ivy League schools and compared the estimated future earnings of those who eventually got in with those who didn't — and attended one of nine flagship public universities instead.

They found that attending an Ivy rather than a state flagship only had a "small and statistically insignificant impact" on graduates' future earnings, boosting their projected income at age 33 by an average of 3%. 

Their findings were consistent with a 1999 study co-authored by Princeton economist Alan Kruger, which concluded, "Students who attended more selective colleges do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended less selective colleges."

The Harvard researchers found that attending an Ivy did offer some advantages, however, including boosting students' odds of reaching the top 1% in income and working for an "elite" employer. But these universities' "small and statistically insignificant impact" on average income levels suggests that it's the quality of the student — more than their school — that is more predictive of their future earnings. So perhaps getting into an Ivy isn't quite all that it's cracked up to be. 

In no particular order, here are the nine state universities the researchers used in the study, where the students they analyzed went on to have comparable estimated incomes to those of Ivy League graduates. 

The Ohio State University

Ohio State University
The Ohio State University campus 

Tuition: $12,485 (Ohio resident), $36,722 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 57%

University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley Campanile Clock Tower and Bay Bridge at Dusk, Berkeley, California, USA
UC Berkeley Campanile Clock Tower and Bay Bridge at Dusk 
Kyle Wolfe/Getty Images

Tuition: $15,444 (California resident), $48,018 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 15%

University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA campus 
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Tuition: $13,804 (California resident), $44,830 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 11%

University of Florida

University Florida Gators Students Fans
University of Florida fans 
AP Photo/John Raoux

Tuition: $6,380 (Florida resident), $28,658 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 30%

University of Georgia

Georgia Bulldogs
University of Georgia fans 
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Tuition: $11,180 (Georgia resident), $30,220 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 40%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Michigan Wolverines
A University of Michigan flag 
Ben Jackson/Getty Images

Tuition: $17,786 (Michigan resident), $57,273 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 20%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC Chapel Hill
The campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, N.C. 
Eros Hoagland/Getty Images

Tuition: $8,998 (North Carolina resident), $37,558 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 19%

University of Texas at Austin

University Of Texas in Austin downtown
The University of Texas campus 
simonkr/Getty Images

Tuition: $11,752 (Texas resident), $40,996 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 29%

University of Virginia

Virginia Cavaliers
University of Virginia fans 
Steve Helber/AP

Tuition: $21,381 (Virginia resident), $56,837 (non-resident)

Acceptance rate: 21%

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