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Calif. Community College Graduates Show Wage Gains

April 4, 2017

A new analysis from the chancellor's office of California Community Colleges shows students who earn an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the work force and nearly triple those earnings after five years.

The system's Salary Surfer program aggregates the median earnings of students who complete a certificate or degree in a specific discipline and then enter the work force.

The data shows that about 48 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned at least $56,000 a year five years after achieving the degree, while 29 percent earned $79,000 a year five years after graduation. For students who earned a certificate, 44 percent made $56,000 or more a year five years after graduating, while 24 percent earned at least $79,000 a year five years after graduation.

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Ashley A. Smith

Ashley A. Smith, Reporter, covers community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed. She joined the publication in 2015 after covering government and K-12 education for the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida for three years. Ashley also covered K-12 and higher education for three years at the Marshfield News-Herald in Wisconsin. She has interned with The Flint Journal, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Ashley grew up in Detroit and is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University. 

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