The Cost of Dropping Out

Friday’s Washington Post had a fascinating article by V. Dion Haynes about the findings of a study on D.C.’s graduation rates and the long-term effects on the city’s crime spending.  The State Card report, prepared by the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education found that:

– “The District would save $70 million a year in crime-related costs if the male graduation rate increased by 5 percent…”

– Last year, 2,400 students failed to graduate from D.C. high schools, which will lose them $615 million in lifetime earnings. 

– If those same 2,400 students had graduated, over their lifetime the city would eventually save more than $20 million in health-care costs.

As a Maryland resident, I can only imagine how many millions of dollars this would translate to for a similar 5 percent increase in graduation rates.  Whatever the statistics, the message is clear, there’s more at stake when a student doesn’t get a diploma than budgeting and lost tax revenue. 

What is your state’s graduation rate?  Check out the National Center for Education Statistics to learn more. 

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