Grad school is a whole 'nuther beast. The advice I would give out about grad school (in the sciences, because that's all I know) is (a) you don't need to go to an elite university for undergrad to go to an elite university for grad, and (b) don't pay attention to schools when deciding where you want to go--pay attention to individual researchers. There are far higher concentrations of good quality researchers at elite universities, and that's pretty much what makes them elite. Firstly, those people aren't teaching your intro to chemistry course. Second, there are tons of great researchers at state schools, they just may be less densely concentrated. Prospective grad students should decide what field they're interested in, find the best profs in that field, then contact the prof directly. Then go to that school if and only if they offer you free tuition plus stipend. No one should ever pay for science education (at the PhD level). Ever.