Your Child's High School GPA Can Affect Their Future Income

First Posted: May 19, 2014 01:04 PM EDT

Although many don't take high school as seriously as higher education, researchers from the University of Miami found that one's high school grade point average is a strong indicator of future earnings.

Led by health economics professor Michael T. French, the researchers at the University of Miami analyzed data provided by the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, which was comprised of high school records, demographic, and background information from more than 10,000 males and females. The researchers then obtained income information when the respondents were between the ages of 24 and 34.

Overall, the researchers found that a one-point increase in one's high school grade point average was associated with a raise in annual earnings of 12% for men and 14% for women. The study, "What You Do in High School Matters: High School GPA, Educational Attainment, and Labor Market Earnings as a Young Adult," was published on Monday in the Eastern Economic Journal.

"Conventional wisdom is that academic performance in high school is important for college admission, but this is the first study to clearly demonstrate the link between high school GPA and labor market earnings many years later," said Professor French, in a news release.

Because men earn more than women, the researchers analyzed the two genders separately and still found that a one-point increase in GPA doubled the probability of completing college (from 21% to 42%). Although SAT scores do play a major role in college acceptance, academic performance in high school is a more crucial aspect of the whole process.

The good news about the study is that all of the results were statistically significant, given the large number of participants. The researchers hope that their results will influence the decisions of policymakers on the subject of education in order to encourage more students to excel and strive to attend college. The Obama Administration has already taken step to improve education in the United States, by working on making college more affordable, supporting educators in math and science, and helping young children develop skills to determine their future success.

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