Friday, January 3, 2014

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’ | Education Lab Blog | Seattle Times

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’ | Education Lab Blog | Seattle Times:

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’

Plenty of educators opine vaguely about the costs to society when a student drops out of school. But in 2011, an economist and professor of public policy at Columbia University dug into the numbers to tally the actual dollar figures, and they are stunning.
Of 40 million Americans between 16 and 24, about 6.7 million are neither in school nor employed. About half are high school droupouts; the others may have a GED. All are underemployed, if they work at all.
To taxpayers, each of these so-called “opportunity youths” imposes a lifetime cost of about $235,680 in welfare payments, food stamp, criminal justice and medical care. Multiply that across the full 6.7 million cohort and the hit is nearly incomprehensible: $1.6 trillion.
“The economic consequences of opportunity youth are enormous,” write authors Clive Belfield, Henry Levin and Rachel Rosen in “The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth,” which was published in 2011.
Because they are far more likely to be in jail, use welfare or live on food stamps, each youth costs us about $13,890 each year. That’s a lot more than the $5,000 Washington State spends per student in the public schools.
But policy-makers in Olympia have come up with a promising answer, a way to get our 30,000 

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