College Dropouts Costing Virginia Taxpayers Millions

October 11, 2010

Students dropping out of college after just one year are costing taxpayers billions of dollars, a new report says.

Virginia taxpayers spent $177.7 million and the federal government spent $33.7 million on appropriations and grants over a five-year period on students who dropped out after the first year of college, according to a national report.

The report released Monday by the American Institutes for Research says that states spent $6.2 billion in appropriations and more than $1.4 billion in grants between 2003 and 2008 on students who didn't return for the second year at the college where they first enrolled. The federal government also spent more than $1.5 billion in grants over the period.

Among Virginia's public four-year colleges, the University of Virginia had the highest first-year retention rate at 97 percent. U.Va.'s College at Wise had the lowest, at 65 percent.

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