Few students actually pursue academics due to the lust for knowledge. Most want to get that degree for the better pay rates. College is expensive. Taking college classes as a hobby is not entirely practical unless the student has unlimited funds. The average student invests money in that degree and expects to make more money for the rest of his/her life because they spent the time effort and dollars to get it.
It surprises people to learn that top university grads are a wide variety of people who are diverse in their lives reasons for being there, and most of the people there, rather than being driven by money, are actually quite left wing, and driven by the opposite motives them selves.
No, top university graduates are not predominantly driven by money. I believe that some top university graduates are driven by money but then you have others who are not. Students who are in the medical and scientific field are in it to make changes and save lives not make the most money.
Top university graduates are driven more than by just money. Money does play an important role, as it determines what their lifestyle will be. However, a sense of accomplishment and how much they are contributing to the greater good in society is just as important as how much money they make.
If you ask college students why they are pursuing the field that they're in, some will definitely say that they want to be wealthy. We're taught from an early age that those who graduate from college make more than high school graduates. However, other students are driven by an interest in their subject of choice, or perhaps for personal reasons, like wanting to find a treatment for an illness in their family. We can't lump all top graduates together, as each person is an individual.