The more we spread the word the
closer we come to realizing success.
boilerplate image

THE HIGH COST OF HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS: New Alliance Brief Pegs Cost of Class of 2007 Dropouts at $329 Billion

Rating
"Each class of high school dropouts damages the economy," said Bob Wise

Coming on the heels of the Associated Press story, a new issue brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education puts a price tag on what the millions of students who drop out of school each year cost the nation and states. For the Class of 2007, the cost is $329 billion. That’s the amount that the nation’s economy would have benefited from if the dropouts from the Class of 2007 had instead earned their diplomas, according to The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools.

“Each class of high school dropouts damages the economy,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “In its current form, the No Child Left Behind Act does little to address the crisis in America’s high schools, and Congress must take action to support states and districts in putting reforms into place that will allow all students, at all levels, to receive the assistance they need to be successful in school and graduate. The economic future and security of the nation depend on it.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average annual income for a high school dropout is $17,299, compared to $26,933 for a high school graduate, a difference of $9,634. But the Alliance analysis goes even further. Using research by Cecilia Rouse, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, who found that each dropout, over his or her lifetime, costs the nation approximately $260,000, and high school graduation rate data from Chris Swanson of Editorial Projects in Education, the Alliance was able to determine the average additional lifetime income if one class of dropouts were to graduate.

The costs vary widely across states, with larger states such as California, Texas, and Florida paying the highest price for dropouts. But smaller states with low graduation rates such as Nevada and South Carolina also saw huge losses. A sample of the losses incurred from across the nation appears in the table below.

State

9th Graders(2003-2004)

Estimated Graduation Rate (2006-2007)

Estimated Number of Dropouts for the Class of 2007

Total Lifetime Additional Income if Dropouts Graduated

California

528,564

70.7%

154,869

$40,266,005,520

Colorado

63,312

74.6%

16,081

$4,181,124,480

Florida

253,565

60.5%

100,158

$26,041,125,500

Michigan

153,567

69.1%

47,452

$12,337,572,780

Nevada

34,779

54.0%

15,998

$4,159,568,400

New York

257,475

65.0%

90,116

$23,430,225,000

South Carolina

69,415

53.8%

32,070

$8,338,129,800

Texas

377,912

67.3%

123,577

$32,130,078,240

 

“Everyone benefits from increased graduation rates,” the brief reads. “The graduates themselves, on average, will earn higher wages and enjoy more comfortable and secure lifestyles. At the same time, the nation benefits from their increased purchasing power, collects higher tax receipts, and sees higher levels of worker productivity.”

The brief points out that unless high schools are able to graduate their students at higher rates, more than twelve million students will drop out during the course of the next decade. The result will be a loss to the nation of over $3 trillion.

The complete brief, which includes a state-by-state breakdown for all fifty states and the District of Columbia, is available here.

Join the Conversation

Your email is never published nor shared.

What is this?
Add 2 to 2 =
The simple math problem you are being asked to solve is necessary to help block spam submissions.

Close

 

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.