Attewell and Walling: The Value of an Incomplete Degree

August 26, 2019

A new study out of the US compares employment and earnings of those who do not go beyond high school with those who attend college without completing a credential. The authors find that students with “some college” are considerably more likely to be employed fifteen years after high school graduation and tend to earn significantly more than their counterparts who do not go to college. The findings apply to different demographics, with low-income students, women, and students of colour generally experiencing the greatest improvements in labor outcomes from college attendance. Although college dropouts do not fare as well as graduates, the authors conclude that an incomplete college education nevertheless acts as a “stepping stone” for a better career outcome. Study (International)