Montana: The value of a diploma
15 percent of students ages 18-24 in Montana have not completed high school and, as a result, will cost the state more than $415 million dollars in diminished revenue and other social costs over their lifetimes, according to the recent report, The Value of a Diploma, produced by Didi Fahey, PhD, President of Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement (QREM), an independent, third-party, evaluation firm based in Denver.
“The report shows that individuals without a high school diploma have difficulty living independently and caring for themselves,” explains John Oliver, Chief Program Officer for ACE Scholarships. “Lower educational attainment also results in greater dependence on government social programs, including food, housing, and medical assistance.”
In Montana, 14,857 of the state’s 99,861 young adults ages 18-24 have not completed high school. Citing multiple sources, The Value of a Diploma reports that dropping out of high school will result in more than $1.2 million ($888,000 in lost earnings over 30 years, and $292,000 in social service costs) for each person over their lifetime.
“ACE saves society money and enhances the quality of life for each recipient,” explained Oliver. “93 percent of our families stated that they could not afford a private education and would be stuck in schools that are a bad fit for their kids without ACE.”
Using statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor and other sources, the report demonstrates that higher educational attainment results in economic stability, a higher percentage of home ownership, more stable families, stronger civic engagement, and greater willingness to volunteer to serve in their communities.
In 2016-2017, 749 students from low-income families in Montana received ACE Scholarships, averaging $1,800 for K-8, and $2,800 for 9-12, allowing them to attend one of 58 private schools across the state.
By quantifying the human and social cost of each person who does not graduate from high school, The Value of a Diploma confirms the powerful impact that ACE Scholarships has on the lives of recipients (based on national data for the ACE Scholarship program):
- ACE students graduate at a higher rate than their low-income peers – 25-36 percent higher.
- ACE students are twice as likely to attend college than their low-income peers.
- Higher rates of ACE students enroll into college after high school graduation than their low-income peers.
- ACE families receive fewer sources public assistance and experience greater stability than their low-income peers.
“At ACE, we believe that every child should have equal access to a quality education,” said Oliver. “Obtaining an education is the best path toward prosperity and stability for most people, and is also the best investment we can make in the future of our society.”
For more information on The Value of a Diploma, contact John Oliver at JOliver@AceScholarships.org