Study shows older college grads earn just as much

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COLUMBIA - A recent Gallup poll shows that there is no difference in salary between those who graduate college at a normal age and those who graduate earlier in life.

The poll used surveys of about 7,500 traditional college graduates, those who graduated between 18 and 24, and 4,000 untraditional college graduates, those who graduated at age 25 or older. All the graduates in the poll graduated college from 1990-2014.

The poll split the answers into four different salary groups, and in each group there is no more than a one percent difference between traditional students and untraditional students.

Columbia College is one university which enrolls many untraditional students each year, many within its night classes, which has about 1,200 enrolled students. The college career services' director Dan Gomez-Palacio said this poll shows the importance of completing your degree.

"I think it shows the value of a college education, no matter what. I think no matter where students are in their life, or within their career, whether they're traditional age or non-traditional age, I think a college degree is definitely worth something, and the numbers have come out again and again that getting a college degree has a definite positive impact on your lifetime impact," he said.

Gomez-Palacio also said older graduates can earn similar salaries to younger ones because of the many options they now have to get a good college education.

"I think 30 years ago we may not have seen this because people really would've had to put their lives on hold to go to a full-time, residential day campus," he said. "Now, with all the options that are available, they can continue the momentum of their lives while getting that degree and moving forward."