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The Post-High School Outcomes of Youth With Disabilities up to 4 Years After High School
NCSER 2009-3017
April 2009

Differences in Experiences by High School Completion Status

High school completers (those who graduated, received a certificate of attendance or completion, or who passed a high school exit exam or completed a GED program) were more likely to experience several positive post-high school outcomes than were the approximately 20 percent of youth with disabilities who left high school without finishing.

  • High school completers were three times as likely as their peers who did not complete high school to have enrolled in a postsecondary school (51 percent vs. 17 percent).
  • School completion status was not significantly related to rates of employment; however, those who had completed high school were more likely than noncompleters to use financial tools, such as savings (60 percent vs. 35 percent) or checking accounts (53 percent vs. 13 percent) or credit cards (32 percent vs. 8 percent).
  • High school completers were more likely than noncompleters to take part in some form of community activity (55 percent vs. 20 percent) and in extracurricular classes specifically (26 percent vs. 4 percent).
  • Youth who left high school without finishing were more likely than high school completers to have been involved with the criminal justice system, including being stopped by police other than for a traffic violation (73 percent vs. 48 percent), arrested (49 percent vs. 22 percent), and put in jail overnight (33 percent vs. 11 percent).