Why are American students taking longer to finish college?

Less money for poorer students.

Time to completion of the baccalaureate degree has increased markedly in the United States over the last three decades, even as the wage premium for college graduates has continued to rise.

…we find no evidence that changes in the college preparedness or the demographic composition of degree recipients can account for the observed increases.

Instead, our results suggest that declines in collegiate resources in the less-selective public sector increased time to degree. Furthermore, we present evidence of increased hours of employment among students, which is consistent with students working more to meet rising college costs and likely increases time to degree by crowding out time spent on academic pursuits.

A new NBER paper.

Comments are closed.