South Florida Business Journal: Florida college dropout rate causes $151M loss

South Florida Business Journal

August 22, 2011

Florida's college dropout rate resulted in a state loss of $132 million in earnings income and $19 million in federal taxes in 2010, according to a new analysis by the American Institutes for Research .

Florida's total revenue loss ranked seventh nationally. California lost the most revenue ($464 million), followed by New York ($436 million), Texas ($392 million), Pennsylvania ($217 million) and Illinois ($203 million).

The AIR study examined the more than 1.1 million full-time students who entered college in 2002 seeking bachelor's degrees. Of that total, almost 500,000 did not graduate within six years, costing a combined $4.5 billion in lost income and federal and state income taxes nationwide.

“These findings represent just one year and one graduating class. Therefore, the overall costs of low graduation rates are much higher since these losses accumulate year after year,” American Institutes for Research VP and co-author of the study Mark Schneider said in a release.

To generate these estimates, AIR researchers used data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Census reports of income levels, the 2010 federal tax rate schedule, and information from The Tax Foundation. 

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