New Study Quantifies Costs of College Dropouts--EdWeek

If policymakers weren't wringing their hands enough about low college-graduation rates, now a new study puts a dollar figure on the lost income from young men and women who never complete their degrees.

The American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social-science research organization in Washington, analyzed nearly 1.1 million students that started college in 2002 and found nearly 500,000 dropped out within six years. From that, AIR estimated the difference in their potential earning power as college graduates vs. workers without a degree.

(U.S. Census figures show young adults ages 25-34 earn about 40 percent more with a college degree than someone with only a high school diploma.)

AIR's findings: $4.5 billion was lost in earnings and federal and state taxes from that one cohort of college dropouts. For 2010, the group missed out on an additional $3.8 billion in income, and the government lost $566 million at the federal level on taxes that money could have generated and another $164 million in state income taxes.

Read the full Education Week article here.