2-Year Degrees Pay More In Short Term

Ann McClure's picture

A study of college graduates’ earnings released today uncovered a surprising finding: A year after graduating from Tennessee’s public colleges and universities, students receiving associate degrees tend to earn roughly $1,400 more than those who receive a four-year degree.

Nationally, bachelor’s degree recipients tend to earn more during their lifetimes, and the study’s authors emphasized that four-year degrees “remain an excellent investment for most students.”

But at a time when the state is putting more emphasis on community colleges, the study’s findings show that two-year degrees can provide an immediate return for graduates, particularly for those with degrees related to health care, engineering and technology.

First-year wages varied widely by college and area of study, but across all fields of study, recipients of associate degrees earned an average of $38,948, compared with $37,567 for those who received bachelor’s degrees.

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