I've gone through the college search process twice now. Once in Texas with the oldest daughter who was a fairly median student and who wound up at University of Arkansas which suited her perfectly. And again now with the middle child who is still in the middle of the process here in the Pacific Northwest. I have also been heavily involved in the hiring process in two different professions both in Texas and in Washington State so have reviewed many resumes and sat on may different hiring committees both in education and the natural sciences.
What I have come to conclude is that there is a tremendous amount of regional parochialism in both Texas and the Pacific Northwest. And that young people hoping to advance professionally in both regions would be highly advised to go to school in those areas if that is where they want to work and live. In Texas there is literally a mafia of UT and A&M alums permeating many professions in the state. And schools like Baylor, SMU, and Texas Tech are not far behind. Here in Washington it is the same for UW grads (of which I am one). I can't imagine any circumstance where holding a UW degree would be a negative compared to say Duke/Georgetown/Columbia/Northwestern/Notre Dame, etc. when applying for jobs in Seattle. Or where a UO degree would be looked at skeptically when applying for jobs in Portland.
There is a lot of emphasis of getting our kids into just the right Ivy or elite LAC here on this forum that seems to be fairly east-coast centric. And perhaps that is really important for careers in the Washington DC to Boston corridor. But this is a vast country and not everyone is looking for careers in the Northeast.
I'm wondering there has been any sort of systematic analysis of the importance of elite degrees by region. How important are they if you live in Texas or California or the Pacific Northwest? If you live in Minneapolis and hope to stay there, how much better is a Princeton degree than one from University of Minnesota? or Macalester?