The authors replicated earlier findings that access to and enrollment in the public four-year sector boosts bachelor’s completion rates. They also show that enrollment in these universities increases household income measured at age 30, which is driven almost entirely by students from low-income high schools.
Among other findings, the authors also show positive private and public returns, noting that after 10 years the state roughly breaks even on its initial investment and after 30 years the net present value of the investment on increased expenditures on college subsidies for an additional student against the increased state income tax revenue from increased earnings is close to $10,000. “The large increase in income tax revenue generated by additional B.A. completion more than offsets the cost of subsidizing one additional student at a four-year campus.”