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There are a variety of push and pull factors that lead to dropout, including:

  • Having poor grades and being behind on school credits
  • Missing too many days and falling behind in class.
  • Having to work to financially support themselves and their family, and not being able to balance work and school responsibilities.
  • Caring for siblings.
  • Feeling disinterested with the required classes.
  • Mental illness or other chronic illnesses.
  • Spending time with people not interested in school.
  • Lack of structure and rules in their lives.

(Bridgeland, Dilulio, Morison, 2006)


  • Economists estimate that dropouts will cost the nation $1.5 trillion over the next decade due to lost earnings, lost tax revenues, less purchasing power, lower levels of worker productivity, higher crime, incarceration, and public assistance (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2011).
  • On average, individuals who drop out of high school earn $10,000 less per year than high school graduates (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012) and are more likely than their peers that graduated to be unemployed, incarcerated, living in poverty, on public assistance, single parents, and in poor health (e.g., Bridgeland, DiIulio, Morison, 2006; Levin, Belfield, Muennig, & Rouse, 2007; Sum, Khatiwada, & McLaughlin, 2009).
  • High-school dropouts nationally account for more than 80 percent of state prison inmates.
  • There is a clear pathway that leads from suspension and/or expulsion to dropping out of school and increased likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system. In fact, youth who did not complete high school account for 75% of people engaging in criminal activities. (  


  • Out of School Due to Discipline
    • Students Facing School Discipline (
    • Students in grade 5 and below are eligible for reinstatement 10 school days into the expulsion (for issues unrelated to bringing a dangerous weapon to school) or after 60 school days (for expulsions for bringing a dangerous weapon to school) by filling out the petition for school reinstatement (
    • Students in grade 6 and above are able to petition for reinstatement 150 school days into a 180-day expulsion. In the meantime, your child should try to participate in some kind of alternative schooling, community service, and counseling The school will favor these activities that demonstrate your student is serious about their education, and they provide great sources for letters of support for reinstatement. We encourage families to call us (734-482-0489) for help and to discuss petitioning for early reinstatement.
    • You can find more information here regarding suspensions, expulsions and the reinstatement process.
  • Out of School Youth Experiencing Homelessness
    • Students Experiencing Homelessness
    • Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, each public school district (and public school academy or charter school) is required to have a McKinney-Vento liaison. Ask your school who your McKinney-Vento liaison is, or look them up using this website, to gain access to resources
  • Out of School Youth with an IEP
    • Students in special education with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be provided a Free Appropriate Public Education. At a minimum, home-based services should be provided for expelled students with an IEP.
  • Out of School Youth in Foster Care
  • Out of School Youth Age 20+
    • According to Section 6 of the State School Aid Act (MCL 388.1606), a student has the right to enroll in school as long as he or she is less than 20 years of age on September 1st of the school year for which they wish to enroll. Additionally, MARSE R 340.1702 states that students with a disability who have not obtained a high school diploma or GED are eligible to receive school services up through the school year in which they turn 26.
    • Although these students are no longer eligible for traditional public schooling, there are a number of options to earn a high school diploma (high school completion programs) or GED in an alternative setting. See suggested support and resources for further information.

Suggested Support & Resources:

Youth who become disconnected from school are extremely resilient, though additional supportive programs and mentors are often necessary to help these youth seek alternative education. A great place to start is by calling your Intermediate School District, regional educational service agency (RESA), and local community college to ask about adult education, high school completion, and/or GED program options.

Bridge Academy Michigan Works!  (269) 927-1064

A program designed to assist young adults ages 16-24 earn a high school diploma or GED along in a year round setting with a career-focused learning environment. There is a physical location with programming in Benton Harbor, also offering online options.

My Virtual Academy (855) 682-2333

Offers online school options for students in grades 6-12.

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