In this paper, I assess labor market returns of a substantial skill upgrade: college enrollment of the vocationally trained, non-traditional students who do not have the formal entry requirement. Using propensity-score adjusted regressions and the National Educational Panel Study, I find that these enrollees face high opportunity costs as they forgo earnings during the enrollment period. In the long-run, enrollees tend to obtain higher cumulative earnings than those who continue with a vocational training-based career, but, there is a large degree of uncertainty. On the positive side, enrollees attain jobs with a higher reputation in society, hinting at sizable non-monetary returns.
Non-traditional students vocational training tertiary education Germany