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Program Facts













The Need


  • One-third of all students drop out of school before graduating high school.

  • The 1.3 million dropouts in 2010 will cost the nation more than $337 billion in lost wages over the course of their lifetimes.

  • The unemployment rate for high school dropouts in July 2011 was 15.3% compared to 9.3% for high school graduates.

  • Three-quarters of dropouts say if given a “second chance” they would have stayed in school.

High School Dropouts

High School Dropouts

  • High school dropouts have a life expectancy of 9.2 years less than high school graduates.

  • High school dropouts can expect to earn about $10,000 less per year compared to a high school graduate.

  • High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested and 8 times more likely to be incarcerated.

  • More than two-thirds of state prison inmates are high school dropouts.

the program

  • In 1993, as mandated by Congress, the National Guard formed the National Guard ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP).

  • NGYCP is a 17 1/2-month voluntary program with a 5 1/2 month residential phase and a 12 month mentoring phase.

  • NGYCP is available to 16-18 year old males and females who have dropped out of high school.

  • There are 34 NGYCP program sites in 27 states and Puerto Rico

  • NGYCP enhances life skills, education levels, employment potential and prospects for the future by providing the opportunity for participants to obtain their high school diploma, GED or return to high school.

The Results

  • An independent evaluation by MDRC found the Youth ChalleNGe Program has significant positive impacts on the educational attainment, employability and income earning potential of those who drop out of school.

  • Graduates of the Youth ChalleNGe Program say it profoundly affects their attitudes about themselves and their progress to adulthood.

  • Approximately 75% of graduates earned their high school diploma, GED, or return to high school; nearly double the pass rate of other adult education programs.

  • On average, 34% of graduates pursue a higher education, 14% of graduates join the military, and 47% join the workforce.

  • As of February 2011, more than 100,000 students have graduated the program.


  • According to a cost-benefit analysis by the RAND Corporation, the estimated return on investment in the Youth ChalleNGe Program is 166% – substantially above that for many other social programs that target disadvantaged youth.

  • The ChalleNGe Program saves an average of $422 million in juvenile correction each year, based on an annual cost of $17,520 per NGYCP enrollee vs. an annual cost of $73,000 per youth in a correction facility.

  • Program participants have donated over 6.6 million hours of service to the community since 1993.

  • On average, the incomes of those who participate in the Youth ChalleNGe Program are 20% higher than those who did not.

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