Discussion Paper

Staying In College Longer Than Four Years Costs More Than You Might Think

Abstract: In yesterday?s blog post and in our recent article in the New York Fed?s Current Issues series, we showed that the economic benefits of a bachelor?s degree still outweigh the costs, on average, even in today?s difficult labor market. Like others who assess the value of a bachelor?s degree, we base our estimates on the assumption that a student takes four years to finish the degree. But it is not uncommon for people to take longer than that. In fact, recent data indicate that among those who complete a bachelor?s degree within six years, only about two-thirds finish in four years or less. What does it cost to stay in college for a fifth or sixth year before finishing that degree? Perhaps more than you might think.

Keywords: college wage premium; return to education; human capital;

JEL Classification: J00;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2014-09-03

Number: 20140903