College tuitions are becoming prohibitively expensive for many people, with Harvard University now costing almost $61,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees. Given the high price tag, is it worth it to graduate from a highly selective school versus a less expensive, lower-tier one?

The answer is, yes, "selectivity matters a lot," at least for most majors, according to two researchers.

The duo compared the salaries of students who graduated from highly to not-so-selective colleges in the United States. In all, they found that 10 years after graduation, "graduates from the most selective colleges earn[ed] about $16,000 more annually compared to graduates from average selective colleges," they wrote in a new study, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Moreover, the researchers found that a gender gap exists, even among graduates of highly selective colleges, such as Harvard and Stanford. Women who attended top-tier colleges earned about 16 percent less than men who majored in the same discipline at the same or other highly selective colleges, the researchers said.