Teachers College, Columbia University

Timing Matters: Examining the Earnings Trajectories of Delayed College Enrollees

Date and Time: March 15, 2018 1:30–3:00 PM
Location: Portland, OR
Venue: Hilton Portland & Executive Towers | Directors

Presenters described a study comparing outcomes for students who enroll in college immediately after high school versus those who delay their college enrollment. Using administrative transcript data, National Student Clearinghouse data, and quarterly earnings data, the presenters examined two research questions:

  1. Who are the students that delay college enrollment?
  2. How do labor market outcomes before, during, and after enrollment differ between delayers and on-time enrollees? 

Preliminary results show that delayers earn slightly more than on-time enrollees immediately following high school graduation. Yet the earnings of on-time enrollees become higher and grow faster in about three years for students who start at a community college starters and in about four years for students who start at a four-year institution. The results have clear policy implications: Delayed enrollment is associated with negative college completion rates and earning trajectories.

Associated Papers


Research Affiliate
Community College Research Center
Yuxin Lin
Research Affiliate
Community College Research Center