The Huge Earnings Benefit for Minority Students Who Major in STEM Fields

A study by researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of Chicago finds that Black and other minority students who major in STEM fields earn at least 25 percent more than their peers who majored in humanities or education. And for minority students who took jobs in STEM fields, their average earnings were 50 percent more than students who had majored in the humanities or education. The study followed a group of low-income students who were Gates Millennium Scholars for nine years.

The premiums for majoring in STEM fields are huge,” said lead author of the study Tatiana Melguizo, an associate professor of education at the USC Rossier School of Education. “We need to educate students that if they get a job in a STEM-related occupation, they have an even higher earning premium. Otherwise, students aren’t reaping the economic benefit of all the hard work they went through as undergrads.”

The study was published in the June issue of Research in Higher Education.

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