The Benefits of College for Marginal Students - 5/13/15
The issue of student debt has emerged as one of the most important in the nation’s economic dialogue. Many have begun to question whether college represents a worthwhile investment, particularly for marginal students. As indicated by a recent article penned by David Leonhardt, two recent, separate academic studies analyzed precisely this issue.
The researchers tracked thousands of people over the last two decades in Florida, Georgia and elsewhere who had fallen on either side of a hard admissions cutoff. For instance, some colleges require applicants to produce a certain grade point average or SAT score. An applicant who just misses the cutoff is similar to one who attained it, except they don’t go to college.
This supplies a form of natural experiment. The two studies have come to remarkably similar conclusions – enrolling in a four year college generated large benefits for marginal students. Data indicate that the students who scored just above the admissions cutoff earned substantially more by their late twenties than people just below it – twenty two percent more on average.