AEI Education Outlook: Leisure College, USA

With back to school season just around the corner, you might think students are preparing to hit the books. Not necessarily, according to two California researchers. In AEI's Education Outlook, Philip Babcock, assistant professor of economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara and Mindy Marks, assistant professor of economics at the University of California – Riverside, explore a decrease in time spent studying on college campuses. . . and the implications for students' future success.

Key findings from "Leisure College, USA: The Decline in Student Study Time":

  • Study time for full-time students at four year colleges in the United States fell from twenty-four hours per week in 1961 to fourteen hours per week in 2003, and the decline is not explained by changes over time in student work status, parental education, major choice, or the type of institution students attended.

  • Evidence that declines in study time result from improvements in education technology is slim. A more plausible explanation is that achievement standards have fallen.

  • Data indicate that students who study more in college earn more in the long run.

The full Outlook is available here: http://www.aei.org/outlook/100980.

Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks are available for interview and can be contacted through Sara Huneke at [email protected] (202.862.4870).

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