Quality mentoring leads to higher graduation rates with more earning potential

As part of our 20 Challenges in 2012 initiative to celebrate Mass Mentoring’s 20th anniversary, we are releasing a series of challenges to address key goals of mentoring in Massachusetts. Goal six is 20 ways that communities grow with mentoring. The Highland Street Corps Ambassadors of Mentoring have researched 20 ways that mentoring provides positive social benefits that strengthen schools, families and communities. You can read more about their findings here.

This guest post is from Lianna Mika, an Ambassador at Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC).

Young people in high-quality mentoring relationships are more likely to graduate high school and pursue higher education, which leads to higher lifetime earnings. High school graduates make, on average, $130,000 more throughout  their lifetimes than their peers who didn’t graduate high school, while college graduates make $1 million more throughout their lifetimes than people who didn’t graduate from high school.

This is important for our economy as well as for the individuals. Many jobs require at least a high school diploma, if not some college. Students are put at a disadvantage if they do not finish high school, and that is where mentoring programs can help. According to the Building a Grad Nation Report by America’s Promise Alliance, America has an average high school graduation rate of 75%. If this rate was increased to 90%, 580,000 extra students from the Class of 2011 would have graduated and gone on to earn $5.3 billion more together in their lifetimes. America’s Promise Alliance estimates that this additional economic activity would lead to the creation of 37,000 jobs and an increase in our nation’s gross domestic product by $6.6 billion. This is all for one year's worth of students who didn’t graduate high school - imagine this effect if every year 90% of students graduated high school.

The most important people in all of this are the students. Making more over their lifetimes would put them in a better economic position to live the life they want. They would be more likely to find a job and more likely to buy a house. If having a mentor can so greatly improve the lives of students who may otherwise not finish high school, then it is so important that we provide great mentors to students who need them the most and encourage these students to finish high school. They need a little extra help to get their diploma. Everyone who can mentor should consider mentoring - the benefits are far-reaching.

Source: Balfanz, R., Bridgeland, J. M., Bruce, M., & Hornig Fox, J. (2012, March). Building a grad nation: Progress and challenge in ending the high school dropout epidemic. Retrieved from http://www.americaspromise.org/our-work/grad-nation/~/media/Files/Our Work/Grad Nation/Building a Grad Nation/BuildingAGradNation2012.ashx