Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The economic returns for graduates of 4-year for-profit postsecondary institutions
by Myers, Everett E., Ph.D., New York University, 2010, 172; 3427004
Abstract (Summary)

The proprietary sector's mission, students, and institutional characteristics are different in some respects from public institutions and private, not-for-profit institutions. Proprietary education has historically focused on getting individuals into the job market; however, little evidence exists that the proprietary sector's vocationally-oriented curriculum enables graduates to take their place in society at levels comparable to graduates of traditional postsecondary institutions. The question that may be the most important to understanding the value of the proprietary sector may well be "what is the value of these graduates to the labor market?" This dissertation examines the economic outcomes of graduates who earned a bachelor's degree from for-profit postsecondary institutions ten years into their work experience. The dependent variable was self-reported income and the principal independent variable was the type of school (public, a private, not for-profit, or a for-profit) from which a student graduated. The sample was from the restricted data file of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study.

Findings showed the average earnings of graduates with a bachelor's degree from a for-profit institution ten years after graduation was not significantly different than the earnings of their counterparts from public and private, not for-profit postsecondary educational institutions. Findings also confirmed a gender gap in earnings: women earned 70 percent of what men earned and the earnings gender gap was significant within and across all three education sectors. Additionally, if the graduate's father had earned a bachelor's degree the effect on the respondent's earnings was positive and significant. Marital status was shown to have an effect on earnings: unmarried respondents earned more than their married counterparts; but if separated or divorced, they earned less.

The foremost recommendation for future research would be the construction of a database that captures the salient student and institutional characteristics of the for-profit postsecondary education sector. Additional research on for-profit institutions could help answer what role for-profit institutions could play in the changing landscape of higher education, provide a rational choice model from which to chose educational sectors, and inform policy makers in their allocation of scarce financial resources.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Connor, Bridget N.
Commitee: Corcoran, Sean P., Stage, Frances K.
School: New York University
Department: Administration, Leadership, and Technology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics, Higher education
Keywords: Economic outcomes, For-profit, Human capital, Labor market outcomes, Postsecondary, Proprietary
Publication Number: 3427004
ISBN: 978-1-124-29555-8
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