Even Some College Means a Higher Paycheck

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

College Dropouts

The numbers indicate that the longer students stay in college — even if they have no credentials or degrees to show for it — the better off they’ll be financially.

The salary for someone who quit after one year of college was a little more than $21,000 five years later. But someone who quit college as a senior in 2006 earned an average of $31,500 five years later.

“Unfortunately, almost 70 percent of this group is made up of those who went to college for a single year or less,” the report said.

Those college freshman, however, are earning more than $6,000 a year more than those who stopped going to school after receiving their high school diplomas. “That’s kind of shocking,” Gibson said. “We don’t have enough details to understand everything that’s going on there, but it is interesting.”

He said the study didn’t try to determine whether going to college was worth the investment. However, the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution of Washington, D.C., calculated that the return on the investment of a bachelor’s degree was 15.2 percent.

“We can have this debate on whether college is worth it or not,” Gibson said. “The grim truth is if you’re a high school graduate five years later only making $15,000, people need to be aware of that.”

The Arkansas Research Center was established in 2009 using funding from a National Center for Education Statistics grant to the Arkansas Education Department.



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