Even Some College Means a Higher Paycheck

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 12:00 am  

A recent study by the Arkansas Research Center in Conway shows that students who completed even a few college courses will make more money than if they never went to college.

The report, “Education & Wage Outcomes for the Arkansas Workforce,” identified nearly 70,000 Arkansans who stopped their formal education in 2006 and then averaged out what their wages were in 2011, said ARC Director Neal Gibson.

The study showed that those people who either dropped out of high school or only finished high school will have a tough financial road ahead of them. Their average wage after five years was just $12,500.

“Can you imagine trying to make a living with $12,500, especially if you have children and especially if you’re a single mom?” Gibson said. “The future’s pretty bleak.”

The good news is that more education means more money. The average wage for someone with even a little college after five years was $23,000.

“There is some value in getting 30 hours or 60 hours [of college credit] rather than not to go at all,” said Greg Holland, director of research at ARC.

(Get the Lists: Click here to see the lists of the largest four-year colleges, largest two-year colleges and largest MBA programs in Arkansas.)

Those who finished a bachelor’s degree in 2006 on average earned $38,900 five years later, and those who completed more than a bachelor’s degree earned $52,500.

Gibson said the point of the study was to get the word out to high school students that they probably will struggle financially in Arkansas if they don’t get more education or some sort of credential.

“Every high school student should be made aware, in as practical terms as possible, exactly what their economic future will look like if they do not graduate high school and they do not continue their education,” the report said. “Arkansas should be committed to encouraging current workers to continue their education as well.”

A Matter of Timing

The study looked at 69,515 Arkansans who stopped their education in 2006, when the economy was thriving thanks to the housing bubble.



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