The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools

The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools

According to U.S. Census Bureau data cited in an issue brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education, the average annual income for a high school dropout in 2005 was almost $10,000 less than for a high school graduate. Funded by the MetLife Foundation, the brief, The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools (6 pages, PDF), found that because of their lower income, dropouts drain the nation's economy by lowering tax revenues and increasing the cost of social programs. The brief also calculates that if high school dropouts who should have graduated with the class of 2008 had earned diplomas, the nation's economy would have benefited from an additional $320 billion in wages, taxes, and productivity over the lifetimes of those students.