Are Elite Colleges Worth the Admission’s High Ticket Price?

Available for Interviews: Mat Jacobson

Mat Jacobson is the Founder & CEO of the Ducere Global Business School, and as a thought leader on innovation within education, is creating some of the industry’s most innovative educational platforms and projects. He is a regular media contributor on topics of business, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and has appeared in articles including Wealth Creator, Marketing Magazine, Business First, Smart Magazine, Start-Up Smart, and Business Builders.

What Mat Jacobson can say in an interview on
Affordable, Accessible, and Relevant University Degrees: 

Elite colleges often have even more elite Mission Statements that often are at odds with reality. For example, according to their published mission statements, “Yale is committed to improving the world today and for future generations.” “The central mission of the University of Southern California (USC) is the development of human beings and society as a whole.”

These are inspiring words, and one will find similar sentiment at almost any elite university. But are elite institutions really focussed on improving “society as a whole,” at a price tag exceeding a quarter of a million dollars per student? Or are they in fact a highly exclusive destination for the ultra-wealthy?

$250,000 is an enormous barrier to 99% of the population, but it’s not even the only barrier to an elite college. Aside from price, universities’ rankings are dictated not by their “inclusion and access,” but the exact opposite—how restrictive they are. The lower the percentage of students they let in, the better the school is ranked.

So even if one could pay the fees, and could get through the application process, is the cost then worth it? Let’s consider the potential benefits, and then see if they hold true. Potential justifications are:

      1. Receiving a world-class education
      2. Building a high-value network that will assist in one’s future career

 In regards to the world-class education, yes it is true there will be exceptional facilities and some access to world-class professors. But this value is limited. The reality is that every university has access to the same library of academic resources. No matter if you attend a community college or an Ivy League. And the access to world-class professors? This is often more prominent in marketing materials than in attendance at classes. Most of the “star academics” are focused on research and publications. Classes are more often than not taught by low-paid adjunct professors.

In response to the above, elite institutions often fall back on the second value proposition, that it’s the “network” that you are really paying for—a ticket to an exclusive club that nobody else can enter, and will set you up for life. Do these institutions actually conduct their own research to quantify the value of their networks, or is this just an untested assumption? In the case of the institutions promoting the value, it is for the most part, just marketing jargon without evidence to support it. Fortunately, there is genuine market research, conducted by the likes of Gallup. Unfortunately, the research does not bode well for elite colleges. For example, a 2019 study of 5100 Alumni found that “just 9% of graduates reported their alumni network has been very helpful or helpful to them in the job market.”

These results are based on the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey (formerly the Gallup-Purdue Index). It might be suggested that maybe this applies to the majority of colleges, but not Elite colleges specifically. The research went further to state that:        

Many highly ranked, selective universities, declare that elite universities maintain an advantage over less selective institutions and that their alumni networks are more helpful to their graduates. Gallup finds little evidence to suggest that’s the case.”

In other words, there is little data to suggest that an elite price tag will deliver an elite educational or networking advantage. In contrast, other schools have world-leading programs designed to deliver genuine career outcomes, at a price tag that is 5–10% of the cost of the elite colleges.


Interview: Mat Jacobson

Mat Jacobson is the Founder of the Ducere Global Business School, which has been recognized by the State of California, the US Congress as well as numerous global awards for transforming access to higher education. He is a global leader in disrupting the education sector and has founded three education startups (The prior two were ultimately sold to publicly listed companies.).

As the founder of Ducere, Jacobson, together with hundreds of world leaders ranging from Presidents to heads of the UN and CIA and global companies, are transforming education to overcome systemic barriers to be relevant, applied, affordable, and accessible.

Ducere designs award-winning university degrees that are accredited by leading international universities such as the University of Wales, the University of East London, and the University of New England. Full degree tuition starts from $12,000 for bachelor’s and master’s programs (total tuition not yearly fees) and this fee covers all administration and textbook fees. Students learn from hundreds of world leaders and network with peers around the world.

Jacobson is also a keynote speaker and has given talks on education innovation from Harvard University to European governments.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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