I applied to several colleges which I knew had the possibility of giving out merit scholarships. I was accepted by all schools, but only N.C. State covered full freight, so that's where I went. Along with a few other scholarships I picked up, I got paid to go to college. There was no way I was going to go into hock for an undergrad education when I was planning to go to grad school -- and at that point, I had an academic career in mind (BULLETIN: the academic life doesn't pay that well, and I knew this).
I suppose that if I were considering a lucrative field where social contacts would be helpful, like business, I might have considered going to some brand-name school and entering the proper sorority, etc. etc. It's a speculation that such an investment would pay off. Someone considering continuing on in a professional school (law, medicine, or business) really should think about where they want to allocate resources. I think it would be more to the point to get into Harvard Business School and grad from a solid state undergrad education (where there is usually a greater chance for an excellent student to stand out) for future business success, than to go to Harvard for undergrad.
But one thing that y'all should keep in mind -- if you get a grad or professional degree, few people care or even remember where you went to undergrad. People here know I was at NYU for grad, but keep forgetting where I went to undergrad -- they just don't care. So keep that in mind.