Tips and Advice

Infographic: Why Are Students Not Finishing School And At What Cost?

Why are students not finishing school and at what cost? There's a greater cost to education than tuition and books. Not finishing can mean millions.
left college so no degree
By Adam Beckles
Updated on: November 10th, 2022

left college so no degreeWhy are students not finishing school and at what cost?

Education has a dual cost. On one hand, there is the cost of tuition, books, housing. On the other is the greater cost: when happens when students don’t finish high school, or even college. The reasons vary; it can stem from factors such as challenges at home, working outside of school (especially in the case of high school students), and even issues in how well students can read and write.

A recent interactive infographic from GOOD Magazine (done with the Apollo Group, a publicly-traded for-profit education corporation) highlights the costs of a missed education. For example, their research found that students who earn degrees are more likely to have higher median weekly earnings and lower unemployment rates than students who drop out.

The estimated income for a high school dropout (over their lifetime) is $1.2 million. With a high school diploma, the income raises to $1.8 million. Some college (meaning the student attended but didn’t graduate with a degree) comes in even higher at $2.2 million. Those who have completed college and have earned a bachelor’s degree see a jump to $3.4 million in their income earned.

Further, the unemployment rates for full-time wage and salaried employees show that those without a high school diploma have a 15 percent unemployment rate; those graduated high school have a ten percent rate; those with a bachelor’s degree are at a five percent rate; and those with a doctoral degree have a three percent unemployment rate.

If those figures aren’t enough to demonstrate the value of an education, here are numbers that might prove it. The weekly earnings for full-time and salaried workers vary widely with the more education a worker has. Those without a high school diploma earn, on average, $454 per week. High school graduates earn $626 per week. Those with college degrees see a significant increase in their weekly income. Bachelor’s degree holders make an average of $1,025 per week while those with doctoral degrees make $1,532 per week.

For more information on the impact education has on your employment, as well as the factors behind students not finishing school, you can find the GOOD interactive infographic on their website. It’s a Flash-based infographic, so you will need to have Adobe® Flash® installed and/or enabled on your browser to see it.