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Good grades = bigger bucks

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WEDNESDAY, May 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Good grades really do pay off, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 10,000 Americans, and found that a 1-point increase in high school grade point average (GPA) was associated with higher annual earnings later in life -- 12 percent more for men and 14 percent more for women.

The study, published in the May 19 issue of the Eastern Economic Journal, also found that a 1-point increase in GPA increased the likelihood of completing college from 21 percent to 42 percent for both women and men.

"Conventional wisdom is that academic performance in high school is important for college admission, but this is the first study to clearly demonstrate the link between high school GPA and labor market earnings many years later," study leader Michael French, director of the Health Economics Research Group at the University of Miami, said in a university news release.

"High school guidance counselors and teachers can use these findings to highlight the importance of doing well in high school for both short-term [college admission] and longer-term [earnings as an adult] goals," he added.

The results suggest that blacks "with poor high school GPAs are less likely to graduate from high school and attend college, but once GPA and other factors are included in the models, they are actually more likely than other races to graduate from college and continue to graduate school," French added.

"One possible explanation for this finding is that African-Americans with relatively high GPAs are more motivated and determined than whites to attend college and obtain an advanced degree," he said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains the link between health and school success.

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