MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- It’s long been known that college graduates earn more money. A new study suggests earning a degree quickly may also pay off in higher earnings.
A new study by the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) says that students who earn a degree within four years make more money than those who take longer to finish.
According to researchers, completing a bachelor’s degree within four years earns the graduate as much as $13,000 more than those who drop out of school. Students who take longer than four years to graduate also do better than drop-outs, but earn only $7,000 more.
THEC Policy Advisor David Williams says the finding came as a surprise to researchers.
“We can only conjecture as to why that’s true, but one of our thoughts there is that students who finish more quickly…they have attributes perhaps that employers are looking for; highly motivated and well-focused on what they’re trying to accomplish.”
Tennessee Higher Education is under pressure to improve graduation rates. Legislators recently tied state funding for higher ed to student retention rates.