A new national study reports that federal, state, and local governments invested nearly $4 billion in full-time community college students who dropped out after their first year.
In Pennsylvania, that five-year expenditure amounted to about $87 million - $98 million in New Jersey - in government aid to students and support to schools, according to data released Thursday by the American Institute for Research of Washington.
Nationally, the report's authors say, nearly $1 billion in government funds was spent on these first-time students who dropped out in 2008-09, the most recent year surveyed, a 35 percent increase from five years before.
"The Hidden Costs of Community Colleges" comes when the colleges are seeing swelling enrollment and increasing demands on their services. Their student bodies now include displaced workers, remedial students, non-English speakers, and students seeking more affordable higher education.