An Economic Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Providing Comprehensive Supports to Students in Elementary School

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



There is growing evidence that out-of-school factors, such as physical and mental health, family support, and social and emotional development, significantly affect student learning (Berliner 2009). To address challenges related to poverty, schools are being charged with serving as a focal point in providing and coordinating support services for students and their families (Adelman and Taylor 2002; Dryfoos 2002). In many schools these support services are provided in fragmented ways that do not address the needs of all students or engage teachers in connecting these services to the academic mission of the school (Walsh and DePaul 2008). An emerging school-based model, broadly termed “comprehensive student support” (Walsh et al. 2016), is designed to overcome such fragmentation. In this paper, we build upon previous effectiveness work with an economic evaluation of a successful support model, City Connects. We find that the benefits of the program exceed the costs, indicating that the program is a sound investment and should be considered an option to address the needs of students and to prevent future crises from disrupting their learning.


Economic Evaluation, Induced Costs, Benefit-Cost Analysis, Comprehensive Student Support, City Connects, Community-based Partnerships



Date Posted: 19 May 2023