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Less High School Dropouts Could Stimulate the Economy

A recent study released by the Alliance for Excellent Education says that if only half of high school dropouts in 2008 would have graduated high school, they would have added approximately $4.1 billion annually to the economy. The study looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas in America and found that state and local tax revenues would have been increased by $536 million if 300,000 of the 600,000 high school dropouts in 2008 would have graduated high school. These figures could even increase, as students who make it to high school graduation are more likely to seek higher degrees that yield even higher salaries, thus enabling these students to put more money back into the economy. This new study had led journalists and critics covering the research results to suggest that these findings show that American cities need to focus their energy on improving educational systems and programs to keep students in school. They suggest that if communities were aware of the economic benefits they could see in the long run by improving school systems, they would be more willing to spend the money to improve school systems.


“High dropout rate hits all of us in pocketbook” Mary Sanchez, The Kansas City Star, November 23, 2009

“Best economic stimulus is a high school diploma” The Gazette, November 25, 2009

Student Researchers: Lynn Demos, Ben Solomon, Steve Wojanis

Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley, Associate Professor of Media Studies, DePauw University

Evaluator: Eva Weisz, Associate Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University

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