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Education News

Study: Cutting HS Dropout Rate In Half Could Save TX Half a Billion On Medicaid

Texas has a high school dropout rate of just under 7%. HISD, the largest in the state, has a dropout rate approaching 12%. A new study claims if Texas could cut its dropout rate in half, it could save half-a-billion dollars on Medicaid spending.



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The study comes from the Alliance for Excellent Education. It calls itself a non-partisan advocacy group that works to shape federal policies to help more students graduate from high school. Bill DeBaun is a policy associate.

“We looked at all the high school non-completers across the country, and then, by state. And estimated, based on what we’re spending on Medicaid, how much money could we be saving if half of the non-completers in the country had high school diplomas?”

The Alliance estimates if Texas could bring its dropout rate to somewhere around 3.5%, it could save $547 million a year on what it spends on Medicaid. DeBaun says high school graduates are more likely to have a better-paying job that includes some type of health insurance.

“High-school graduates tend to have better health outcomes in terms of lower rates of alcoholism, obesity, smoking, heart disease.”

In fiscal year 2011, Medicaid spending in Texas totaled nearly $30 billion. Ten billion dollars of that came from the state. The Alliance says if Texas could save half-a-billion dollars, that money would go back to the general fund to help cover other budget shortfalls.

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David Pitman

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David was HPM's local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 — when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

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