ACE Scholarships aims to empower individuals to attend the educational institutions of their choice and thereby increase the graduation rate of students throughout Colorado. The state’s high dropout rate makes a significant impact on the economy by limiting the potential productivity of the state’s population.
Research has shown that high dropout rates can cost communities around the country millions of dollars. In fact, each high school dropout costs the community nearly $300,000 over the course of a lifetime in lost wages, limited earning potential, and reduced tax payments. In addition, high school dropouts tend to rely more on government assistance programs. These figures do not account for higher incarceration rates or rates of drug use among people who have dropped out, which would push the figure even further.
In Colorado, about 8,000 individuals from low-income backgrounds drop out of high school each year. The ACE Scholarships model works to change that. By allowing students greater choice in their education, ACE has effected a 90 percent graduation rate among program participants. If the ACE program expanded, Colorado could realize potential savings in excess of $2 billion by significantly limiting dropout rates.