Skip to main content


Gitterman, Daniel Paul; Moulton, Jeremy G.; Bono-Lunn, Dillan; & Chrisco, Laura (2015). Can “Some College” Help Reduce Future Earnings Inequality?. Peabody Journal of Education, 90(5), 636-658.


This article addresses the policy debate over "college for all" versus "college for some" in the United States and analyzes the relationship between "some college" (as a formal education attainment category) and earnings. Our evidence confirms?using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID), and the Survey on Income and Program Participation (SIPP) that more (postsecondary) education, on average, is associated with higher median earnings. However, there is emerging evidence that a proportion of workers who have attained lower levels of education (i.e., "some college") earn more than those who have attained higher levels of education (bachelor's degree). We focus particular attention on the subset of Americans who fall into the U.S. Census official category entitled "some college." This is a heterogeneous group who have alternate educational credentials but who have not acquired a formal associate or bachelor's degree. Instead of an unequivocal focus on "college for all" or even "community college for all," we argue that educators and policymakers should consider "some college" as a viable pathway to future labor market success. In sum, we conclude that some types of "some college" could lead to a reduction in earnings inequality.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Peabody Journal of Education


Gitterman, Daniel Paul
Moulton, Jeremy G.
Bono-Lunn, Dillan
Chrisco, Laura