This topic came up from a discussion I had with a co worker that was advising another co worker that his daughter should go to--Institution A (ranked about #75 overall) that is half way across the country over Institution B (ranked 120 overall) but is our state flagship school. He said that Institution A was "leagues ahead of" Institution B and it would give her a leg up anywhere in the US.
Now my response was that your school's name might give you an advantage when applying for a job or grad school IF your is in at most the top 25. Also, in fields where prestige matters a lot--business school or law school then you are looking at the top 14, the importance of the school drops by leaps and bounds outside of those schools and outside of the top 25 there isn't much difference.
For programs where prestige doesn't matter as much like computer science or engineering then you are looking at the top 10 programs having any real type of advantage.
Then I said outside of the top schools what matters are the best schools in the area. For example, in Louisville, Ky, a degree from the University of Louisville will carry more weight than a degree from University of Iowa or Michigan State even though both of these schools outrank University of Louisville. UofL is a local school in the area.
What do you think of my reasoning? Do you think that school matters outside of a certain select list of schools?