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UC Study Highlights Local, State Cost Of High School Suspensions

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

High school students who are suspended are at greater risk to drop out and they earn less than peers who graduate. Now a study from the University of California looks at the economic costs of suspension.

For three years UC Santa Barbara Professor Russ Rumberger tracked every student in the state from sophomore year to graduation.

Students who weren't suspended had an 83 percent graduation rate. That number dropped to 60 percent for students who were suspended at least once.

But Rumberger points out factors like GPA and socioeconomic status also factor in to suspended students' risk of drop-out.

So once the study controlled for those, "The remainder about 6.5 percent we attribute to the act of suspensions itself. In other words, just by being suspended [it] increases a student's risk of not graduating," says Rumberger.

Looking at a single graduating class, researchers estimate suspensions cost California $2.7 billion over the lifetime of those students.

*Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly states the suspension costs for California. The story has been corrected.

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