High school dropouts

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"Dropping out" redirects here, but this page does not include any information about college or university dropouts.

Dropping out means leaving a school, college, university or group for practical reasons, necessities, or disillusionment with the system from which the individual in question leaves.


In Canada, most individuals graduate grade 12 by the age of 18. According to Jason Gilmore who collects data of employment and education using the Labour Force Survey. The LFS is the official survey used to collect unemployment data in Canada (2010). Using this tool, assessing educational attainment and school attendance can calculate a dropout rate (Gilmore, 2010). It was found by the LFS that by 2009, 1 in 12 20-24 year old adults did not have a high school diploma (Gilmore, 2010). It was also found by the study that men still have higher drop out rates than women, and that students outside of major cities and in the northern territories also have a higher risk of dropping out. Although since 1990, dropout rates have gone down from 20% to a low of 9% in 2010, it does not seem to be dropping since this time (2010).

The average Canadian dropout earns 70$ less per week than their peers with a high school diploma. Graduates (without post-secondary) earned an average of 621$ per week, whereas dropout students earned an average of 551$ (Gilmore, 2010).

Even though dropout rates have gone down in the last 20-25 years, the concerns of the impact dropping out has on the labour market is very real (Gilmore, 2010). One in four students without a high school diploma who were in the labour market in 2009-2010 had less likelihood of finding a job due to economic downturn (Gilmore, 2010).

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, a dropout is anyone who leaves school, college or university without either completing their course of study or transferring to another educational institution. Dropout rate benchmarks are set for each higher education institution and monitored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).[1] Dropout rates are often one of the factors assessed when ranking UK universities in league tables.

In November 2014, a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that students from poorer home backgrounds were 8.4 percentage points more likely to drop out of university in the first two years of an undergraduate course than those from the richest homes; they were also 22.9 percentage points less likely to obtain a 2:1 or first degree. For students studying on the same course and who arrived at university with similar grades the differences fell but remained significant. The report concluded that more should be done both to raise the attainment levels of poorer students prior to their arrival at university and to provide additional support to them at university.[2]

United States[edit]

In the United States, dropping out most commonly refers to a student quitting school before he or she graduates or avoiding entering a university or college. It cannot always be ascertained that a student has dropped out, as he or she may stop attending without terminating enrollment. It is estimated 1.2 million students annually drop out of high school in the United States, where high school graduation rates rank 19th in the world.[3] Reasons are varied and may include: to find employment, avoid bullying, family emergency, poor grades, depression and other mental illnesses, unexpected pregnancy, bad environment, lack of freedom, and boredom from lack of lessons relevant to their desired occupations.[citation needed] The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts[4] by Civic Enterprises explores reasons students leave school without graduating. The consequences of dropping out of school can have long-term economic and social repercussions. Students who drop out of school in the United States are more likely to be unemployed, homeless, receiving welfare and incarcerated.[5] A four-year study in San Francisco found that 94 percent of young murder victims were high school dropouts.[6]

The United States Department of Education's measurement of the status dropout rate is the percentage of 16-24 year olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential.[7] This rate is different from the event dropout rate and related measures of the status completion and average freshman completion rates.[8] The status high school dropout rate in 2009 was 8.1%.[7] There are many risk factors for high school dropout. These can be categorized into social and academic risk factors. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups drop out at higher rates than White students, as do those from low-income families, from single-parent households, and from families in which one or both parents also did not complete high school.[9] Students at risk for dropout based on academic risk factors are those who often have a history of absenteeism and grade retention, academic trouble, and more general disengagement from school life.[9] High school dropouts in the U.S. are more likely to be unemployed, have low-paying jobs, be incarcerated, have children at early ages and/or become single parents.[10]

Dropout recovery[edit]

A dropout recovery initiative is any community, government, non-profit or business program in which students who have previously left school are sought out for the purpose of re-enrollment. In the United States, such initiatives are often focused on former high school students who are still young enough to have their educations publicly subsidized, generally those 22 years of age and younger. [11]

Dropout recovery programs can be initiated in traditional "brick-and-mortar" institutions of learning, in community centers or online.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University drop-out rates". news.bbc.co.uk. 19 December 2001. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "University 'drop-out risk for poorer students". BBC News. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  3. ^ High School Dropouts - Do Something. Do Something. Retrieved on 2013-12-14.
  4. ^ The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved on 2013-12-14.
  5. ^ NoDropouts.org. NoDropouts.org. Retrieved on 2013-12-14
  6. ^ Tough solutions for high school truancy rate - SFGate. SFGate. Retrieved on 2013-12-14.
  7. ^ a b NCES 2011
  8. ^ NCES 2009
  9. ^ a b Lee 2003
  10. ^ Sum 2009
  11. ^ Rosann, Gregg. "Of whiz kids and wizards: Why it's time to change the way we think about who can go to high school", Nodropouts.org. Retrieved on 2010-09-12.