Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Ivy League University vs Community College - The ivy league schools are a cluster of eight private universities that make up a collegiate sports conference. These include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Penn (The University of Pennsylvania).

Sports asides, these prestigious institutions are known world over for their academic excellence, rich pedigree, heritage, exclusivity, elitism, and of course, outrageous tuition fees.

Ivy League University vs Community College
Source: by Brooke Cagle

To most people, getting into an ivy league college, is admission into a life of wealth and privilege.

Obviously, sharing a room with future leaders can build a web of top-tier networks that anyone can depend on in the future.

But does that justify the staggering costs?

Is paying the premium fees for an ivy league education worth it?

Or is attending a lesser-known, more affordable community colleges a better deal? 

Do graduates of the ivy league schools end up having a significantly higher net worth than those that studied at community colleges?

And, are they generally more successful?

These are some of the questions that we are going to be tackling in today’s post.

To some people, getting a degree is much more important than where you got it from. While for others, the prestigious name on the degree, makes all the difference in landing a good job or having a better chance of becoming successful in life.

Where you went or go to school, is a debate that has been going on for a long time, and in the light of rising tuition costs and student debt, there's no better time than now to dive into it exhaustively.

So, the question we’ll try to answer today is; Is an ivy league education better than a community college education?

In today’s post; we’ll be comparing the two sides and see whether it’s worth it or not.

Ivy league colleges are 4-year universities that award bachelor degrees in a wide variety of disciplines.

Community colleges, on the other hand, offer 2-year programs and award certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees.

You can attend a community college and accumulate credits that you can transfer to a related 4-year university course. And that’s not the only way they differ, here are a couple more:

1. Cost of Tuition

Year after year, the cost of acquiring a higher education is getting more and more expensive. And some would say; it’s spiralling out of control.

It’s gotten so bad that, the national student debts are at an all-time high of $1.5 trillion as of 2019, according to data from the Center for American Progress. This is quite a challenge for most young adults, their parents, and the general economy.

Opting to attend a Community college is an excellent way to get a quality education without breaking the bank or dragging along a ton of debt well into your middle age.

In 2020, the average tuition for a community college is about $4,800 annually for in-state students and $8,570 for out-of-state students. And this is not the only way a community college is cheaper.

You may also choose to attend school from your home, which will reduce your living expenses considerably.

And although, Ivy leaguers may get to rub shoulders with future CEO’s and presidents. At least, after college, you can start building your life and future without the crushing burden of massive debt.

According to, attending one of the ivy league colleges will set you back a whopping $56,631 per year on average.

While an ivy league education could potentially offer you a higher Return on investment (ROI), you must consider yours and your family’s finances, and if you're willing to take on a large chunk of debt.

2. Living Expenses

Tuition isn't the only expense you must consider when making plans to go to college. You also need to pay for accommodation, buy gas, maintain your vehicle, and so on.

You will save a whole lot of money by attending a nearby community college for two years.

You won't have to rent an apartment or dorm room since you can live at home and attend classes from there.

Living at home also means you'll save thousands on utility bills, food, and other living expenses. Attending an ivy league college for most people will mean moving to another state.

Renting an apartment or getting a dorm room, which is typically expensive. And when you add that to the exorbitant tuition fees, the expenses go through the roof.

3. Ease of Admission

Community colleges have less stringent admission requirements compared to ivy league schools.

Most community colleges do not require you to have a minimum GPA score. And when they do, it's usually lower than that of ivy league schools.

You also require a lower score in entrance exams like SAT’s or ACT to enter community colleges.

The application process to get into an ivy league school is often long and tedious. And their acceptance rates are considerably lower than that of community colleges and other public schools.

4. Salary

Now let’s talk about the money. There's evidence to suggest that studying at an ivy league college gives you a substantial advantage when it comes to wages.

Not only are ivy leaguers paid a higher starting salary than their community college contemporaries, but this advantage is also well maintained into their mid-career’s.

According to payscale inc, the highest-paid community college graduates – which are from; Helene Fuld College of Nursing alumni, get started with a median salary of $69,400 and climbed to $90,600 in their mid-career’s.

Now, if we look at Harvard University, the highest-ranked ivy league in terms of Alumni salary, scored a starting salary of $74,800 and $146,800 in their mid-career’s.

Part of the reason ivy leaguers go on to earn higher than community college graduates is that they mostly seek advisory or managerial roles in employment. Also, they tend to work in finance, which is one of the highest paying sectors.

And although, most community college alumni tend to work in supporting roles, thus a smaller salary. Those who earn a premium salary studied medical-related fields such as nursing.

It’s clear that Ivy League alumni earn more than their peers. But in the light of the significant financial investment towards such a prestigious qualification, the real question is; whether the return on investment makes it worthwhile.

5. Flexibility

Community colleges can allow you to take a few classes at a time. Consequently, the majority of community college students school part-time.

This flexibility is ideal for those who may want to work full time or fulfil family and other obligations while attending college at the same time.

Therefore, community colleges offer better school-life balance by providing night and weekend classes.

So, if you need to work full time or juggle classes with parental responsibility, a community college will give you more options.

An Ivy League education, on the other hand, is more involving and immersive. You may combine your studies with an odd job or two, but it will be difficult to balance academic work with a full-time job.

6. Quality of Education

The general assumption is that education at a community college is inferior to that of ivy league colleges. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Community colleges have a lot of dedicated, highly qualified professors. And just because the professors chose to work in a 2-year institution, doesn't mean they are less proficient than their peers in more prestigious universities.

They may choose to teach in a community college because of the flexibility. Community colleges allow professors time, to act in other capacities.

Many of them are consultants, freelancers, or are high-level employees in big corporations. And these professors are drawn by the need to impact knowledge while at the same time pursuing their interest and personal careers.

Others do it for more altruistic reasons. They feel a need to help those who could otherwise find it more difficult to succeed.

It's a way for them to make an impact in the lives of others. And teaching at community colleges is more demanding than lecturing at ivy league colleges.

The students are mostly part-time and have to balance jobs and families alongside academic work. They are not as rigorously selected as their ivy league counterparts.

And their diverse educational background means the professors will have to adjust their teaching strategies so that no one is left behind.

This environment is often challenging, and for some professors, it stimulates them and helps keep them on top of their game.

The truth is that a college education is the same, no matter the source. A computer science graduate from Brown University will pass through the same training as a community college graduate and will also be imparted with the same knowledge.

This is because the federal government regulates education and ensures that all educational institutes confirm to an acceptable standard in their curriculum.

7. Networking Opportunities

While the quality of education in the ivy league schools and their less prestigious peers are not much different, the ivy leaguer gets something extra contacts.

And it's not that community college students don’t have the opportunity and network that could help them.

It's just that those in the ivy league schools get to hang out with people with greater potentials – I’m talking about; future high net worth individuals.

People that they could work for, or, end up being business partners with in the future. Over their long history, Ivy League schools have created an elaborate network of influential alumni.

These are the people who, by their position, provide invaluable advantages to their alumni because of an enduring bond that is a part of the ivy league experience.

So, if you go for an interview at a high-end company, the possibility that your interviewer could be an alumnus of an ivy league school, is quite high.

It wouldn't be surprising then that you'll have a better chance of landing the job if you graduated from the same college or even another ivy league college.

The bond created by the privileged educational background will infuse a more cordial conversation and increase your chances of getting hired.

By the same token, you're more likely to rise faster in your chosen industry and join the rank of the elites.

And this high calibre of contacts could be the most significant reason ivy league graduates are more financially successful than their peers.

8. Prestige

The high cost of an ivy league education mostly goes to buying prestige. This prestige will, in turn, open doors for you that a community college graduate will have a hard time trying to open.

You'll be considered for jobs ahead of others just because of where you went to school. This is especially true for companies and organizations that are very particular about hiring people based on their prestigious credentials.

In many organizations, hiring managers and recruiters will always favour applications with an ivy league qualification in their resume. And it becomes even a more critical deciding factor when the recruiter is a fellow alumnus.

By attending an ivy league college, you join an exclusive elite club with all the attendant perks and privileges.

So, in conclusion. An ivy league education, in some instances, offers distinct advantages over a community college education.

However, the high cost of this prestigious education poses obvious difficulties. Not many people and their parents can afford it.

And even if you manage to pass through the exalted halls, of an ivy league college on student debts, the repayments could weigh you down for a long time.

And it's even worse if your job doesn't pay top dollar. But if you can find a way – and it's possible, to graduate from an ivy league without the attendant high tuition, costs or debts, then, by all means, go for it. 

Thank you guys so much for reading. And with that said, I’ll see you guys in the next one.

Post a Comment for "Ivy League University vs Community College"