Cover: Closing the Education Gap

Closing the Education Gap

Benefits and Costs

Published 1999

by Georges Vernez, Richard Krop, C. Peter Rydell

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How much would it cost and what would the benefits be if blacks and Hispanics graduated from high school, went to college, and graduated from college at the same rate as non-Hispanic whites? The answer to this important question for the future of the nation is explored in this report. The costs of education would be high, increasing by about 20 percent in California and 10 percent in the rest of the nation. But the benefits, in the form of savings in public health and welfare expenditures and increased tax revenues from higher incomes, would be even higher. Indeed, the added costs of providing more education to minorities would be recouped well within the lifetime of taxpayers called upon to make the additional investments. The nation is experiencing a rapid immigration driven increase in the share of Hispanics in the school age population. Failure to increase the educational attainment of this group would result in growing shares of new labor-force entrants having levels of education lower than those prevailing today; in increased income disparities between blacks and Hispanics, on one hand, and Asians and non-Hispanic whites, on the other; and in increased public expenditures for social and health programs for generations to come.

"In this powerful and insightful work, the authors examine the policy implications of closing the gap in educational attainment by equalizing high school graduation rates, first-year college-going rates, college retention rates, and finally college-completion rates…their assumptions are reasonable and their analytic techniques appropriate because their conclusions--that the benefits of each of the equalization strategies far exceed the costs--are powerful enough to make this a must-read for all educational policy makers as well as researchers. Highly recommended for general readers, uppper-division undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and researchers."

- CHOICE Magazine

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