People attend postsecondary institutions for a variety of reasons and with a variety of expectations. Among the supposed benefits of a college education are greater earning potential and satisfaction with life (SWL). It is also widely assumed that a degree from a highly selective (or prestigious or elite) college is more valuable than one from a less-selective institution. These assumptions have been the subject of considerable research. Also much-researched is the Youth Development Study (YDS), a longitudinal study of the effects of employment during high school. To date, no one has used YDS data to study potential links between perceived institutional prestige and outcomes such as earnings and SWL. That was the focus of the current quantitative study. The study’s two dependent variables were income and SWL; the two independent variables were institutional prestige and school-to-work-transition (STWT). Five hypotheses were tested with factor analysis, regression analysis, ANOVA, MANOVA, and correlation analysis. Results provided limited support for the hypotheses. No significant differences were found in annual household earnings between those graduating from the most selective institutions and those graduating from other 4-year institutions. There was no evidence of a connection between institutional prestige and SWL. However, STWT did appear to affect earnings and SWL. Background variables such as family income, parent education, and parental aspirations were more important than institutional prestige.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2020. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Kenneth Bartlett. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 151 pages.
Does Institutional Prestige Matter: Postsecondary Education Outcomes, Alignment and Satisfaction with Life.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.