Study Shows $11 Benefit to Community for Every $1 Invested

From Communities In Schools National

Communities In Schools, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life, released the results of an economic study, conducted by EMSI, one of the nation’s leading economic modeling firms.

The economic model was based on a subset of results form a recent five-year longitudinal national evaluation conducted by another independent research firm, ICF International. That evaluation concluded:

  • Communities In Schools is unique in its ability to reduce dropout rates and increase on-time graduation rates
  • The Communities In Schools model of intensive case management services through site coordinators produces the strongest reduction of dropout rates of any existing fully scaled dropout prevention program that has been evaluated
  • The Communities In Schools model is effective across states, school settings, grade levels, and student ethnicities

“This analysis of the Communities In Schools (CIS) model reminds us that the nation’s students are its best investment, and the best economic stimulus is a high school diploma, ” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “The return on investment that CIS generates is one that any private sector investor would snap up in a minute.”

Using the dropout and graduation results for the school-level study, and basing their calculations only on those Communities In Schools affiliates working in high schools, EMSI calculated the costs of CIS, including dollars directly invested and the opportunity costs of labor and capital. They then calculated the benefits of the increased high school graduation rates attributed to CIS and the subsequent higher earnings by these graduates, and social and taxpayer savings based on the students’ increased academic achievement.

Among the significant findings of the study are:

  • The average annual rate of return to society is 18.4%
  • The benefit/cost ratio is 11.6, which means that every dollar invested in CIS creates $11.60 of economic benefit for the community
  • High school graduates will be net contributors to their communities for an average of 44 years of their working life, using their increased income to purchase homes and cars, and paying taxes that will support police officers, fire fighters and teachers.

“Our analysis demonstrates that CIS produces meaningful economic and social impacts,” said Tim Nadreau, research economist at EMSI. “The CIS model produces lifetime benefits for students who will earn more, businesses who will have access to a more skilled workforce, and taxpayers who will have both a greater contribution and reduced costs from these graduates.”

“Communities In Schools is proud to be a leader in the emerging field of rigorous return-on-investment studies,” said Dan Cardinali, president of Communities In Schools. “As we continue to build our own evidence base, we look forward to working with other leaders in the sector to refine and perfect ROI calculation so that they can be both a powerful management tool for nonprofits and a strategic investment guide for donors.”

A copy of the full economic impact study is available below.

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