High school dropouts on average receive $1,500 a year more from government than they pay in taxes because they are more likely to get benefits or to be in prison, according to a U.S. study released on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

“Dropping out of high school before receiving a high school diploma places a substantial fiscal burden on the rest of society,” wrote Andrew Sum of Northeastern University, an author of a study of Illinois and Chicago residents done on behalf of the Chicago Urban League and some education groups.

The findings, based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2009-2010, illustrate the cost advantage of programs that persuade dropouts to re-enroll in school instead of becoming a financial drain on society, the study’s sponsors said…

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