You can get just as good an education at a state school as you can at any Ivy. The trite saying that you get out of an education what you put into it is really true. IMO, the biggest benefit of an education at a school with a great reputation is the networking opportunities (e.g. Harvard grads take care of their own). Networking can help jump-start a career, but in the long run it's your own abilities that matter most. +1 to both of those things. My limited experience looking for a job after my undergrad education (at a presumably-decent top 20 in Atlanta) would indicate that employers don't really care if prospective students went to Emory or GSU--they're interested in the difficulty of your courseload and your experiences, as they're translated to your resume and personal statements (for grad school/law school). As a prospective law student, I really don't think my expensive UG education really bought me much of an edge over any other student. PS: My experience is very limited, but I figured I'd toss in my .02 anyways.