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Open Access Publications from the University of California

GRADES VS UNIVERSITY PRESTIGE? A STUDY ON THE RETURNS TO EDUCATION

  • Author(s): Rosa, Jose A.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license
Abstract

This is a study determining which factor is a stronger return to education in a post-undergraduate setting: Grade Point Average (GPA) or the perceived “prestige” of the University attended. To classify what is considered “prestigious” and non- “prestigious”, I used rankings from the U.S News Best Colleges Rankings to classify the University of California campuses onto two separate tiers based on these rankings. I implement a survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk, in which subjects are asked whether they would prefer to hire a job candidate with a higher GPA from a lower tier university versus a job candidate with a lower GPA from a higher tier university. Using this survey data, I find that subjects have a strong preference for candidates with higher GPA. This preference still holds when including respondents that have hiring experience. The implications are that individuals will re-evaluate their preferences when applying to a university.

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