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Oct 11, 2010 8:31 AM by Associated Press

College dropouts cost taxpayers billions

Students dropping out of college after just one year are costing taxpayers billions of dollars, a new report says.

States appropriated almost $6.2 billion to four-year colleges and universities between 2003 and 2008 to help pay for the education of students who did not return for year two, the report released Monday says.

The federal government also spent $1.5 billion and states spent $1.4 billion on grants for students who didn't start their sophomore years, according to statistics compiled by the nonprofit American Institutes for Research.

The figures are meant to advance the argument that college completion rates need improvement, but could give ammunition to critics who say too many students are attending four-year schools at great cost to taxpayers.

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