How Much You Study In College Determines What You’ll Get Paid For The Rest Of Your Life

College students are spending a lot less time studying these days. In 1961, full-time students devoted 40 hours per week to academics. Now they’re spending closer to 25 (via The New York Times).

This is from a 2008 study, The Falling Time Cost Of College: Evidence From Half A Century Of Time Use Data, where University of California researchers Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks looked at academic and economic trends from the past 50 years. The researchers examined data from 1961 – 2004 on full-time students at 4-year colleges and also found a strong correlation between studying time and future earnings:

The increase in wages associated with studying grows larger over time and becomes statistically significant in later samples. By 2004, a student who had studied an hour more per week in 1981 earned a wage premium of about .6%. … We do not claim to have proven a causal effect, but conclude that — consistent with most human capital models and the intuitions of educators — increased effort in college is associated with increased marginal product later in the lifecycle.”

It’s proof that hard work, not IQ, is what really makes people successful.

Hours studied compared to wages earned

[credit provider=”University of California”]