Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) October 03, 2013
A national review of community colleges and their graduates’ financial return on investment finds that California and Texas have the most institutions with graduates in the top tier of wage earners. Thirty states have some community colleges whose graduates’ median net lifetime earnings trail those of the state’s high school graduates.
The median earnings of associate’s degree holders during their careers is about $259,000 more than for high school graduates, according to "What’s The Value Of An Associate’s Degree? The Return on Investment For Graduates and Taxpayers," written by experts with the Nexus Research and Policy Center and the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The study examined data from 579 institutions representing more than 80 percent of the nation's community college enrollment.
“Even after factoring in the costs that graduates incur when earning the degree, the associate’s degree is a good investment,” wrote authors Jorge Klor de Alva, president of Nexus Research and Policy Center, and Mark Schneider, president of College Measures and an AIR Fellow and vice president.
Key findings include:
“On average, students with associate’s degrees earn more income than high school graduates and are less likely to be unemployed, even in harsh economic times,” the authors wrote. They noted that “students and taxpayers should know their return on investment and investigate further what can be done to increase it.”
Klor de Alva and Schneider concluded that community colleges, states, and the nation should: reward progression, retention, and completion through performance funding formulas; distribute resources carefully to promote success; emphasize technical training and close ties between schools and their local labor market; and collect better data, at the student and program levels, and make the data publicly available.
The authors analyzed 2010-2012 data from the U.S. Department of Education and PayScale, Inc., to measure the costs and benefits of an associate’s degree. For the full report and data on each community college studied, see http://www.air.org and http://www.nexusresearch.org.
Klor de Alva is former president of the University of Phoenix and was a professor at Princeton University and the Class of 1940 Professor at University of California, Berkeley. Schneider is former U.S. Commissioner of Education Statistics and Distinguished Professor emeritus of Stony Brook University, the State University of New York.
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit http://www.air.org.