Impact of High School Diploma

Make an Economic Impact on Your Community: The Ripple Effect of a High School Diploma

By Diane Sweetwood

Ana Lopez, 27, currently earns just above the federal minimum wage as a cashier at a local supermarket, making $16,410 per year at $7.89 per hour. She aspires to earn a Child Development Associate certification following her successful graduation from Career Online High School. As an infant/toddler teacher at a local child care center, Ana could see an immediate 50% increase of her annual salary to $24,627 per year, at $11.84 an hour, with potential to earn more than $50,000 if she rises to the Director level.

Economic impact of a high school diploma
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The benefits to Ana and her family are tangible: in addition to higher earnings and employment, she’ll realize benefits to her overall quality of life. Furthermore, Ana will contribute to the economic growth of her community with an additional lifetime contribution of $349,222 in the form of spending, most of it at the local level and subject to local taxes. Likewise, with her higher income, Ana will contribute an additional $61,627 in taxes over her lifetime to the state and the federal governments.

If Ana were to become a head of household with two dependents, she would require at least $50,000 less in government assistance over her lifetime once she has earned her diploma and certificate.

Your library could change lives with Career Online High School! 

Excerpted from the white paper Measuring the Impact of High School Completion for Adult Learners: Career Online High School.

To request the white paper in its entirety, visit:



Diane SweetwoodAbout the Author

Diane is the Director of Market Research and Outcomes for Cengage Learning. Her team is committed to providing the best possible research needed to better understand customers’ voice to better inform product teams and solve customer issues.

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