The Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, D.C.-based policy and advocacy organization, put together its first high school dropout study using an EMSI model in the fall of 2009. Since then All4Ed and EMSI have partnered on additional research, and this week the Alliance unveiled its latest dropout study with results for the class of 2010.
Here’s more from All4Ed’s press release.
Summary of Key Findings
Nationwide, an estimated 1.3 million students dropped out from the Class of 2010 without earning a diploma. Cutting this number in half would yield 650,000 “new” high school graduates who would likely make additional contributions to the nation’s economy by
- spending $19 billion more on home purchases than what they would likely spend without a diploma;
- supporting 54,000 jobs and increasing the gross domestic product by as much as $9.6 billion by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers;
- earning $7.6 billion more in an average year, compared to their likely earnings without a high school diploma;
- spending an additional $5.6 billion and investing an additional $2 billion in an average year;
- boosting state tax revenues by $713 million in an average year; and
- spending an additional $741 million in an average year purchasing automobiles.
After earning a high school diploma, 43 percent of these new graduates will likely continue on to some type of postsecondary education. However, only about 173,000 students, or 27 percent of these new graduates, are expected to complete their studies. Boosting the share of new high school graduates who complete postsecondary programs to 60 percent—President Obama’s goal for the nation—would increase the number of postsecondary graduates to nearly 400,000.
The dollar amounts included in the study’s findings represent the economic returns from cutting the dropout rate for only one high school class. Increasing the graduation rates for future classes would create cumulative benefits that would be exponentially greater.
“Decisions on how to close budget gaps and build a strong economy must begin with ensuring better educational outcomes for the nation’s students,” said Wise. “There’s been a lot of talk about how budget deficits threaten our children’s future, but the best way to cut budget deficits is to cut dropout rates.”
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a high school dropout earned an average of $21,023 in 2008, compared to $31,283 for a high school graduate and $58,613 for an individual with a bachelor’s degree. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor, high school dropouts are over three times more likely to be unemployed than are college graduates.
The economic model used to generate this report was developed by the Alliance for Excellent Education in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.