Photo Courtesy of JFF

Jobs for the Future (JFF) released the policy brief “Incentives for Early Graduation: How can state policies encourage students to complete high school in less than four years?” by Diane Ward and Joel Vargas this August. The brief discusses ways that policymakers can leverage savings by allowing more students to complete high school faster.

Many states have allowed high-achieving students to skip their senior year or even provided financial rewards to students who excel quickly to graduation and college. Accelerating high school completion saves taxpayer dollars.

One way is to repurpose K-12 funding by giving students state  so that early graduates can use them to cover college costs. Doing so saves the student and his or her family money on tuition costs. In addition, it can cut costs for states if the graduation scholarships are less than K-12 funding.

The brief points to states such as Arizona, Idaho and Utah that have experimented with early graduation financial incentives to rein in the rising cost of education. Six other states including Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri and Nevada are working to implement similar policies.

When designing a policy, the brief recommends three key considerations: efficiency, improve college access and readiness. In addition, it covers policies to ensure that students are prepared for graduation and college.

Click here to view the full brief. Learn more about Jobs for the Future at


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