Research in Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 750–766 | Cite as

Initial Evidence on the Influence of College Student Engagement on Early Career Earnings

  • Shouping Hu
  • Gregory C. Wolniak


Using data from three waves of longitudinal surveys of the 2001 freshman cohort of the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program, this study examined linkages between student engagement in college activities and early career earnings in the labor market. The results indicated that social engagement was positively related to early career earnings of college graduates while academic engagement was not. When considering students who majored in STEM fields versus those in non-STEM fields, results showed academic engagement to be positively related to early career earnings for non-STEM students but slightly negatively related to earnings in the labor market for STEM students. Social engagement was positive for graduates in the STEM fields but not significant for non-STEM students. Altogether, results show a complex relationship between student engagement and early career earnings. Implications for research and institutional policy are discussed.


Student engagement Economic returns Labor market outcomes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.NORC at the University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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