October 14, 2020
Some associate-level programs have similar or better returns on investment than more advanced degrees in other fields one year after graduation, according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW).
The report points to some nursing and STEM degrees, in particular, as having high value for associate degree holders. Programs in-demand locally can also yield large returns, the report’s lead author said.
The analysis is based on program-level data from the College Scorecard, an online tool from the U.S. Department of Education. Researchers say having this data accessible could increase accountability among colleges.
The Education Department revamped the College Scorecard last year to include program-level data, such as student debt levels and earnings, following an executive order asking the agency to expand the online tool.
The data reveals that first-year earnings can vary widely within degree levels. About one-fifth of associate-degree holders earned a median of $24,000 or less one year after graduating, but 15% earned up to $48,000 and 10% earned up to $96,000.