New Report Finds Associate Degrees Significantly Boost Earnings, Certificates a Riskier Investment

From CAPSEE Reports

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A new paper synthesizing research from eight states finds that associate degrees consistently and significantly increase the earning power of workers—even during major economic downturns such as the Great Recession—but certificates have a more mixed record at boosting earnings.

For women, the boost from an associate degree is about $7,200 a year, or about 26 percent more than the earnings of women who start college but do not earn a degree. For men, the earnings premium is about $4,600, an increase of 18 percent over the earnings of men with some college but no credential, according to the paper from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), a research center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education and led by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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