GPA, SAT scores and the relationship with future earnings

Are college and high school academic performance related to future financial success?


College performance

In an economic study, researchers identified academic information that may help understand the relationship between college success and future earnings.   Grade point average (GPA), SAT scores and college major were among the tested college success variables.  As shown in the bar chart below, the researchers found significant relationships between the aforementioned variables and future earnings.   Investigating the below figure, we see that a 1-point increase in cumulative college GPA will yield a student nearly $3,000 every year versus the average college graduate.   That is, a student with a 3.0 GPA will likely earn $30,000 more over 10 years than a 2.0 student from their college cohort.  As another example, a psychology student will forego nearly $2,576 every year compared to an average student.  In 10 years time, a psychology graduate will earn $25,760 fewer dollars than an average student from the same cohort.



College GPA, High School SAT Scores and Future Earnings

- jsFiddle demo

The above bubble chart reports average annual income at 4-5 years post college graduation.  The incomes reported in the bubble chart appear low because many students do not find suitable work, i.e., earning very little money and possibly outside their major. Economically, it's tough to be a millennial. See here:

The bubble chart is interactive, please scroll over data points for info, or click the labels below the chart.


High School GPA and Future Earnings


High School Performance

In a 2015 study, researchers sought to investigate relationships between high school GPA and adulthood earnings.  The researchers found that 'Results consistently show that high school GPA is a positive and statistically significant predictor of educational attainment and earnings in adulthood'.   The below figure reflects the outcome of the researchers' model that shows GPA is a robust predictor of adulthood earnings.