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Increase High School Completion

Individuals and society alike benefit from increased high school graduation rates. High school graduates earn more, live longer and make greater contributions to society on a number of measures than those who drop out. In contrast, high school dropouts face bleak economic futures and the cost to society is in the billions of dollars. In comparison to other industrialized democracies, the United States graduation rate is low; this is a risk to the nation’s competitive standing in the global economy.

Since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002, 36 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws directed at lowering dropout rates and increasing graduation rates. Jobs for the Future identified six model policy elements that frame a sound legislative strategy for dropout prevention and recovery. 

Kentucky’s KnowHow2GOKy campaign is a multimedia campaign targeting middle and high school students and their parents to encourage planning, enrollment and success in college. Additionally, the state’s Individual Learning Plan is an on-line college and career counseling program for students in grades 6–12.


Research found that most successful dropout recovery programs are flexible, link to postsecondary education and employment and provide strong systems of student support.