||Employing five data sets from surveys conducted between 1988 and 2005, this study examines earnings returns to tertiary education over time. It is found that despite the dramatic expansion of higher education in China, the credentials of tertiary education have not devalued. On the contrary, earnings returns to tertiary education as compared to secondary education have even increased over time. Furthermore, it is found that there exists a gender earnings gap for people who only attend secondary education, while the disadvantage of women in earnings becomes less prominent once they complete tertiary education. Women with tertiary education are also less likely to earn less than men due to sex discrimination. In sum, attending tertiary education does pay off in China owing to the existence of labor markets, especially for women.