Studied are determiners of income expectation of Russian school students planning to enter universities. Data for the study are drawn from a survey of 1600 families conducted by the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms of HSE with the support of the Center for Fundamental Research at HSE in the spring of 2008 in major Russian cities. It has been discovered that two months before entering university, only 60 % percent of 11 th graders and their families have formed their expectations. The variation in income expectations depends on a number of variables, the most significant being the family income, the parents’ education level, the type of high school the student is graduating from, and the chosen program at a university. Families that have formed their expectations about the income in the post-university time, intend to send their children to major regional universities. Given that recently higher education has become virtually universal, this fact indicates that ideas about education qualities are becoming a significant differentiating factor of income expectation.