Going for a GED (General Educational Development) certificate is an increasingly popular option, but the economic value is variable, says the Chicago Tribune.
Young white dropouts boosted their earning potential by 15 percent to 19 percent in the five years after they passed the GED compared with those with no high school diploma, according to a 2000 study by John Tyler at Brown University and Richard Murnane and John Willett at Harvard University.
Non-whites who passed the GED, however, had no noticeable improvement in their earning potential. One possible reason, according to the study’s authors, is that a high percentage of African-Americans took their GEDs in prison, and employers may be reluctant to hire them, or they may be in prison five years after passing the test.
The national median weekly salary is $676 for full-time workers 25 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A high school dropout’s median salary is $396, but high school graduates earn $562 and college graduates $996. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t break out salaries of GED holders.)
The seven-hour test covers writing, reading comprehension, social studies, science and mathematics.