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National Dropout Prevention Month

  • Joanna
  • October 4, 2021

Seven students will have dropped out of high school by the time you finish reading this.

Since 2000, the national high school dropout rate has been slashed in half from 10.9% to 5.1%. While dropout rates have improved, more than 1.2 million students in the United States drop out of high school every year — that’s roughly one student every 26 seconds.

The Cost of Dropping Out

October is National Dropout Prevention Month. We’d like to examine some of the challenges students will face if they do not earn their diploma or GED and provide solutions your school can put in place to prevent and recover dropouts.

While dropping out of high school is an intensely personal and difficult decision, it has social and economic impacts on both students themselves and society as a whole.

Individuals without a high school diploma are more likely than high school graduates to:

  • Have lower incomes
  • Pay less in taxes
  • Be periodically unemployed, especially during economic downturns
  • Be on government healthcare and welfare programs
  • Be in and out of the prison system

Additionally, people without a high school diploma are at a disadvantage in the job market because living-wage jobs that don’t require a diploma have been all but eliminated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that individuals without a diploma earn about $9,200 a year less than high school graduates and $33,500 a year less than college graduates.

All these personal challenges translate into high costs for society. According to a 2012 study by Columbia University, the cost to society in foregone tax revenues, higher crime, healthcare, and welfare costs was estimated at $755,900, which translates into $900,673.78 in 2021.

The long-term anticipated economic costs associated with students who have not or will not earn a high school diploma from 2011 to 2021 are about $1.5 trillion.

Dropout Prevention and Recovery

School districts across the country are implementing dropout prevention plans including strategies like mentoring/tutoring, service-learning, alternative schooling, or after-school/out-of-school opportunities. Graduation Alliance offers a safety net that provides at-risk students and students who cannot or will not return to school with an alternative path to graduation.

Our dropout recovery programs include three key components:

  • Flexibility: Students complete their 100% online courses at any time and from anywhere and can choose from a variety of core subjects and elective options, including courses that help them earn college credits and career certifications.
  • Accountability: Weekly check-ins with their Academic Coach and Local Advocate hold students accountable for meeting program requirements and submitting their coursework on time.
  • Support: With dedicated teachers, 24/7 online tutoring services, an IT help desk, an Academic Coach to monitor pacing and progress, and a Local Advocate to provide social-emotional guidance, answer questions, and offer encouragement, students have the 360 degrees of support they need to succeed.

Graduation Alliance has been partnering with more than 650 school districts in 12 states to provide equitable alternative paths to graduation for at-risk and disengaged students, arguably the most difficult population to serve, since 2007. Our team of re-engagement experts understands the challenges of students who cannot or will not return to traditional school and provides a solution that offers the flexibility, accountability, and support these students need to earn their high school diplomas.

Our data-driven online dropout recovery program is accredited by Cognia and sports an efficacy rate of 46%, according to a 2021 evaluation by Mission Measurement, the steward of the Impact Genome Project® and the world leader in measuring social outcomes, advising governments, foundations, and corporations on how to measure, predict, and improve the return on social impact. Mission Measurement’s evaluation demonstrated that our program significantly outperforms the national benchmark for dropout recovery programs established by the Impact Genome Project® on both efficacy and cost per outcome, providing 27% more outcomes for 33% less cost.

For more information about dropout recovery programs, please fill out our request for information form and review our whitepaper, “Effective Dropout Recovery Strategies and The Graduation Alliance Approach.”

Dropout Recovery Success

Matthew M., a graduate of the Insight School of Oregon, took a heavy course load his senior year and struggled to stay motivated, which negatively impacted his grades. One of his teachers suggested he look into the school’s partnership with Graduation Alliance because he could earn the credits he needed to graduate without having such a demanding class schedule.

“The two classes per month thing kind of made it easier to see the end goal. And my Local Advocate kept me going.” — Matthew M.

With flexibility from online courses and accountability and support from his Local Advocate, Academic Coach, and teachers, Matthew graduated on time and is planning to go to college to study computer programming!

When Matthew enrolled in his school’s dropout recovery program, he hadn’t dropped out, but he was at risk of doing so. By partnering with Graduation Alliance, Insight School of Oregon implemented both a dropout prevention program and a dropout recovery program.

Students like Matthew have the opportunity to opt into alternative schooling before they feel like they have no other choice than to drop out. Our team can also track down students who have withdrawn from school, help them re-engage with their education, and provide a path to graduation.

If you have any questions about partnering with Graduation Alliance for dropout recovery and/or prevention, please fill out our request for information form.