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Massachusetts community college attendance boosts employment, earnings

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WBUR, June 2021

Taking courses at one of Massachusetts community colleges is likely to result in a positive return on a student’s time and tuition investment. That’s according to a new report from The Boston Foundation and MassINC. The study, which followed high school graduates from 2010 to 2018, showed that community college attendees were 6-18 percentage points more likely to be employed than their peers who ended their education at high school graduation.

“There is a huge employment benefit,” said Alicia Modestino, the research director for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University and the study’s lead author. The biggest payoffs came from when students actually completed a certificate program or associate’s degree.

The data showed that women benefitted the most. Women who attended two non-summer semesters earned an average of $1,550 more per year than their peers who didn’t continue on to post-secondary education. For men, earning an associate’s degree or credential yielded between $5,500 and $9,000 more per year than their male peers with only a high school diploma.

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