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ERIC Number: ED557081
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
The Labor Market Returns to Math Courses in Community College. A CAPSEE Working Paper
Belfield, Clive; Liu, Vivian Yuen Ting
Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment
This paper examines the returns to math courses relative to courses in other subjects for students in community college. Using matched college transcript and earnings data on over 80,000 students entering community college during the 2000s, we find that college-level math coursework has an indirect positive effect on award completion that is stronger than that of coursework in other subjects. In terms of direct effects, we find mixed evidence on the direct effect of enhanced math skills on earnings over other college-level skills. Overall, the combined direct and indirect effect appears to be adverse: compared with other courses or college pathways, more math coursework in community college is modestly associated with relatively lower earnings in later adulthood. However, this association is sensitive to modeling, and we do find heterogeneous results by gender, race/ethnicity, and initial college ability, as well as by math field and level. Two supplementary tables are appended.
Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212.678.3091; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE)
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305C110011