The Benefits to Taxpayers from Increases in Students' Educational Attainment

By Stephen J. Carroll; Emre Erkut | Go to book overview

Preface

Meeting the educational demands of the future will be expensive; however, in most states, public schools from kindergarten through the university level already experience budgetary challenges. Policymakers face a fundamental challenge—motivating taxpayers to provide the funds needed to meet mounting education needs.

This report examines the financial benefits that taxpayers realize when students’ educational attainment is increased. We find that the benefits to taxpayers from increases in students’ educational attainment are very high. Regardless of a student’s gender or race/ethnicity, raising his or her level of education leads, on average, to substantially increased payments into, and reduced demands on, the public budget. We consider the cost of providing additional education to students, although we do not explore the question of what it would cost to motivate students to stay longer in school. Our analysis indicates that taxpayers accrue benefits from programs and policies that succeed in raising students’ education levels, and those benefits are entirely separate from the benefits that the students themselves gain through increased education. Accordingly, taxpayers, including those who do not have children in school, have a stake in developing programs and policies that effectively and efficiently increase education levels.

This report’s findings should be of interest to a broad range of policymakers, researchers, administrators, teachers, and parents.

This research was conducted within RAND Education, a division of the RAND Corporation, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

-iii-

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