Forget Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Many students want to graduate early and start building their futures.

 “A growing number of states are encouraging kids to race through high school in three years. The reasoning: No more senior slump and lower taxpayer costs for schools,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Students give other reasons. “Nowadays we have CEOs in their 20s,” says Nicholas Myers, and Indiana high-school student who finished in three years. “If I get out a year early, that’s a year extra of pay, and that’s a year earlier of retirement. That’s a whole year of my time that I can do whatever I want—make some money, invest some money or just relax.”

By taking senior classes early and taking extra courses online, Myers earned a $4,000 scholarship for graduating early and is finishing his freshman year of college.

Idaho, Minnesota, Utah, South Dakota, as well as Indiana, encourage accelerated high-school completion by offering in-state college scholarships. Two dozen other states also allow early high-school graduation.

While graduating early may not be the best choice for all students, it’s an increasingly popular choice. In the 1990s, 1.5 percent of students graduated early, almost doubling a decade later to 2.9 percent.

Most important, early graduation should be one of many available options for students to help ensure their unique educational needs are being met.