The costs of dropping out are high—to the student, to the community and to the nation. Between 1973 and 2008, the share of jobs in the U.S. economy that required postsecondary education increased from 28 percent to 59 percent. During the next decade, that number will increase to 63 percent.
The future is grim for students who do not earn a high school diploma. In the current economic climate, students without diplomas are unemployed at three times the rate of students with college degrees.
Allowing students to drop out of school is a drain on state economies. A state is less attractive to new business investments when its workforce is poorly educated. State budgets are challenged by increased public health costs, higher crime rates, and increased welfare costs for each high school dropout. Most significantly, states face lost tax revenues because dropouts earn significantly less than high school graduates.