For College Students, Persistence Pays

By Catherine Groux
Posted June 19, 2012 02:02 PM

For students, persistence in college can pay.
For students, persistence in college can pay.
Today, many students enroll in college determined to earn a bachelor's degree. However, a significant percentage drop out before receiving this credential. While these individuals have a wide variety of reasons for leaving college, new research confirms that persistence pays when it comes to higher education.

A recent report by the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research analyzed students who enrolled in the state's public schools for the 2002-2003 academic year and followed them throughout their education.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found that Tennessee students who earned a bachelor's degree tended to make $10,000 more than non-completers seven years after entering college. However, the report also indicates that even if students did not earn a degree, their salary typically rose with each additional semester they spent in college.

Specifically, in 2010, non-completers enrolled in four-year programs tended to earn an additional $366 to $503 in earnings for each additional semester they spent in college. The report explains that, in some cases, employers may view extra time in school positively among individuals who failed to earn a degree. Still, most employers prefer applicants who persisted in school and completed a bachelor's degree program.

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