Postsecondary Vocational Education and the Sub-Baccalaureate Labor Market: New Evidence on Economic Returns

W. Norton Grubb

Community colleges, technical institutes, and proprietary schools have grown faster than the rest of postsecondary education; for this reason and because of increasing dropout rates in postsecondary education, the group with "some college" has grown relative to other education groups. Nonetheless, very little analysis of the economic returns to credentials and coursework below the baccalaureate level has been completed. This paper examines the returns to sub-baccalaureate credentials and coursework, and particularly to postsecondary vocational education, by field of study and type of institution, using the postsecondary transcripts of the National Longitudinal Study of the Class of 1972. The results indicate substantial variety in the returns to different types of sub-baccalaureate education, and suggest clear differences between the sub-baccalaureate labor market and that for individuals with baccalaureate degrees.

MDS-486 / April 1993

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