By Michael Quinn, John H. Tourtelotte and Chris Warren
Oct 11, 2020
Institutions can provide opportunities for high school grads.
COVID-19 has magnified many of America’s already acute economic disparities. According to research by the Pew Research Center, those without any college education have fared particularly poorly in the economic contraction spawned by COVID. For instance, Pew reported that college graduates saw employment levels decrease 6 percent in the first months of the COVID downturn. By comparison, the decline in employment among high school graduates and those lacking a high school diploma was far steeper, at 17 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
Past economic recessions have taught us that workers lacking postsecondary education have been more likely to suffer job losses during a downturn and take longer to recover. The financial implications of not obtaining a college degree have also been apparent long before the pandemic hit. According to the Social Security Administration, men with a bachelor’s degree earn about $900,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.