Nair, Bhaskaran; Smart, Warren; Smyth, Roger
July 2007
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jul2007, Issue 31, p195
Academic Journal
Recent research conducted by the Ministry of Education implies that the level of tertiary study has a bigger impact on people's earnings than the completion of a qualification. However, controlling for level of study, qualification completion does have a significant impact on earnings. Using data drawn from the integrated dataset on Student Loan Scheme borrowers, this study uses generalised logistic regression and other techniques to analyse the association between individuals' post-study earnings and demographic factors, study-related variables and industry of employment to isolate the earnings premium from qualification completion. It also examines the extent to which that premium endures over time. The study finds that while the main determinants of the level of earnings are factors such as industry of employment, qualification level, the type of tertiary education provider and the field of study, those who complete a qualification do have a substantial earnings margin over those who study at that level without completing. The paper also surveys evidence of the non-economic benefits of tertiary education in an effort to get a sense of breadth of the returns to society from its spending on tertiary education.


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