Okay, so maybe this is a dumb question, but I'm going to go ahead and throw it out there simply because I'm curious.

What exactly is the difference between say IUPUI and Harvard (Don't point out the obvious, I'm well aware of the primary differences). My question is in regards to the education.

I go to IUPUI and have always wondered, what exactly is the educational difference? Take for example the following.

If I was taking a math class at IUPUI, and had the following equation.

2x = 6. Solve for x.

At IUPUI, the answer would be 3.

At Harvard, the answer would also be 3.

If students are taking classes that teach the same material, why pay thousands of dollars more for Harvard than for IUPUI, Ball State, IU, Purdue or anywhere else? Are students simply paying for prestige? Granted, Harvard and schools like it are known for law and other specialties, but in regards to basic type courses, why pay much more for the same material?

I know that isn't college level math, but that's just a simple example. Math does not change, ever, regardless of school/professor. So what is the difference exactly between Harvard, Princeton, Yale/others and your "normal" university/college?

Any input is appreciated. I've always just been curious about this for some time.