OLDEducation

Apr 26, 2011 6:02 PM by Greg Boyce

Study shows how local economy would benefit if more graduated from high school

A study from the Alliance for Excellent Education projects a boost to economy in Colorado Springs and Pueblo if the high school drop out rate could be cut by half.

"The best economic stimulus is a high school diploma," said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. "From the individual student to the bank branch manager, new car salesman, or realtor, everyone wins when more students graduate from high school."

The dollar amounts included in the study's findings represent the economic returns from cutting the dropout rate for only one high school class. Increasing the graduation rates for future classes would create cumulative benefits that would be exponentially greater.

In the Pueblo area, an estimated 900 students dropped out from the Class of 2010 without earning a diploma. Cutting this number in half would yield 450 "new" high school graduates who would likely make additional contributions to the Pueblo economy by:

  • spending $9.5 million more on home purchases than what they would likely spend without a diploma;
  • increasing the gross regional product by as much as $3.6 million by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers;
  • earning $2.8 million more in an average year, compared to their likely earnings without a high school diploma;
  • spending an additional $2.1 million and investing an additional $700,000 in an average year;
  • boosting state tax revenues by $200,000 in an average year; and
  • spending an additional $500,000 in an average year purchasing automobiles.

After earning a high school diploma, 48 percent of these new graduates will likely continue on to some type of postsecondary education. However, only about 130 students, or 28 percent of these new graduates, are expected to complete their studies. Boosting the share of new high school graduates who complete postsecondary programs to 60 percent-President Obama's goal for the nation-would increase the number of postsecondary graduates to nearly 270.

For the complete Pueblo findings, click here.

In the Colorado Springs area, an estimated 2,000 students dropped out from the Class of 2010 without earning a diploma. Cutting this number in half would yield 1,000 "new" high school graduates who would likely make additional contributions to the Colorado Springs economy by

  • spending $52 million more on home purchases than what they would likely spend without a diploma;
  • supporting 100 jobs and increasing the gross regional product by as much as $19 million by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers;
  • earning $15 million more in an average year, compared to their likely earnings without a high school diploma;
  • spending an additional $11 million and investing an additional $3.7 million in an average year;
  • boosting state tax revenues by $1.4 million in an average year; and
  • spending an additional $800,000 in an average year purchasing automobiles

After earning a high school diploma, 59 percent of these new graduates will likely continue on to some type of postsecondary education. However, only about 360 students, or 35 percent of these new graduates, are expected to complete their studies. Boosting the share of new high school graduates who complete postsecondary programs to 60 percent-President Obama's goal for the nation-would increase the number of postsecondary graduates to nearly 610.

For the complete findings for Colorado Springs, click here. 

The economic model used to generate this report was developed by the Alliance for Excellent Education in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.

For complete results for the nation, click here

The study was made possible through support from State Farm®.

 

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