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The benefits of a high school diploma

  • Joanna
  • December 21, 2021


Diverse Group of Students with Diplomas

A high school diploma is the minimum level of education an individual needs to thrive in the United States, but students leave high school before graduation for a variety of reasons. Graduation Alliance has been paving alternative pathways to graduation for high school-aged and adult students alike since 2007.

Most school administrators know how important it is for students to graduate from high school, and student enrollment and graduation rates directly impact school funding. You may know that there are a variety of personal, societal, and economic benefits to high school education as well.

Continue reading to learn more about these benefits of high school graduation and how Graduation Alliance can partner with you to create real change in your community.

The personal impact of getting a diploma

The number one reason students in Graduation Alliance programs want to earn their high school diplomas is to increase their job prospects and earning potential.

Individuals without a high school diploma are more likely to be unemployed than people with higher levels of education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to having an early 6.5% average unemployment rate, adults without a high school diploma also have significantly lower weekly median earnings than their educated counterparts:

  • Students without a high school diploma earn a median of $619 per week
  • Students with a high school diploma earn a median of $781 per week
  • Students with an associate degree earn a median of $938 per week
  • Students with a bachelor’s degree earn a median of $1,305 per week
    Statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

In addition to increasing their earning potentials, a high school diploma also gives graduates the credentials they need to apply to college, receive promotions, or enlist in the U.S. military. Their diploma brings value in and of itself and acts as a stepping stone to even more opportunities.

The economic and societal impact of earning a high school diploma

Earning high school diplomas is not only good for graduates but also for their communities. Individuals without a high school diploma are more likely to go to prison, struggle with health conditions like cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes, and pay less in income taxes. Obviously, the impact of increasing the population of high school graduates in the United States is huge.

The Alliance for Excellent Education released a report in 2017 that explored how a 90% graduation rate in the United States would impact increases in federal, state, and local taxes, spending, and car and home sales as well as decreases in health care spending, among other things.
The numbers below are based on an increase in the graduation rate from 83.2% (the 2015 graduation rate) to 90%.

  • $664 million increase in federal, state, and local taxes
  • $2.5 billion increase in spending
  • $535 million increase in car sales
  • $7.8 billion increase in home sales
  • $16.1 billion in health care cost savings nationally
  • $5.7 billion in economic growth
  • 14,260 new jobs created
    The Alliance for Excellent Education, 2017

How Graduation Alliance can help increase graduation rates

Many school districts are doing everything they can to prevent dropouts. Your district may be using a variety of strategies to increase your graduation rates, but no matter how many safety nets you put in place, there are going to be students who drop out of high school.

What do you do to bring back students who have already dropped out? Until students age out of the public school system, they’re still eligible to receive a public education, and you can bring them back to your district without burdening your teachers and staff with additional responsibility.

Graduation Alliance’s dropout recovery program specializes in helping students who have already dropped out of high school. Our team of re-engagement experts tracks down these students using a multi-channel outreach strategy. We find students and bring them back to your district, increasing funding and graduation rates.

Many students who have dropped out did so because they felt like they didn’t have another option. Getting students back into the traditional classroom will always be the goal, but we have to be able to provide equitable paths to graduation for those students who cannot or will not return to class.

Graduation Alliance provides this alternative through more than 100 online courses. Our asynchronous classes allow students to complete coursework at any time and from anywhere, making it easier for students to focus on other obligations like work and family. These courses are designed with at-risk students in mind, and students receive a multi-tiered system of supports to help them finish their credit requirements and finally graduate from high school.

Though students take courses through Graduation Alliance, they stay enrolled in your district and will graduate with a high school diploma from your district. We come alongside your district as a partner and act as an extension of your resources.

Ready to partner with Graduation Alliance for a dropout recovery program in your district? Let us know by filling out our request for information form.