Introduction

Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) is the largest AmeriCorps State program in the country. The program uses research-based literacy instruction in school settings to help children learn to read, from PreK and kindergarten through third grade (K–3). The program’s host organization, Reading & Math, Inc., recruits, trains, places, and monitors AmeriCorps members who work with children one-on-one and in small groups daily, providing literacy interventions tailored to each learner’s needs.

Study Goals

The goal of the study was to explore and quantify the return on investment (ROI) of MRC’s programming for kindergarten.

Research Questions

The research questions include:

  • What are the benefits of the MRC program across kindergarten participants, AmeriCorps members, and the government?
  • What were the program costs for the 2017-2018 academic year?
  • What is the ROI as measured by total benefits per dollar, total benefits per funder dollar, and federal government benefits per federal dollar?

Findings

The study found the following:

  • The analysis estimated the MRC Kindergarten’s ROI to be between $5.47 and $6.99 per funded dollar, depending on how long program participants and AmeriCorps members experience increased earnings as a result of MRC Kindergarten.
  • The kindergarteners that participated in MRC have higher high school graduation rates.
  • Participating AmeriCorps members have increased employment, earnings, and educational attainment after they serve.
  • The increased high school credential attainment for MRC kindergarteners leads to long-term cost savings for the government.

Return on Investment (ROI) Studies

AmeriCorps and its grantees have invested significant resources in evaluating different agency programs and supported program models designed to improve a range of outcomes for national service members and volunteers, children, families, organizations, and communities across. AmeriCorps conducted ROI analyses to help measure the program performance and build the base of evidence for future resource allocation decisions. In addition, each ROI study helps AmeriCorps communicate the value of its programs to relevant stakeholders. 

The ROI studies listed below evaluated the cost and benefits of each of the following program:

  • AmeriCorps Senior: Foster Grandparents/Senior Companion: This study estimates that the AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Senior Companion Program (SCP) generate an ROI of $3.50 per funder dollar. FGP alone has an ROI of $2.75 per funder dollar, while SCP has an ROI of $5.08 per funder dollar.
  • College Possible’s College Access Program: This study estimates College Possible’s ROI to be between $1.50 and $6.41 per funder dollar, depending on how long program participants and AmeriCorps members experience increased earnings due to College Possible’s College Access program. The return on each dollar of federal.
  • Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP): This study estimates CTEP’s ROI to be between $2.95 and $34.26 per funder dollar, depending on how long program participants and AmeriCorps members experience increased earnings as a result of CTEP.

Full report

Full Report

Further information

Program/Intervention
ROI: AmeriCorps National Service Programming (Education)
Implementing Organization
AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation Commissioned Report
Intermediary(s)

Minnesota Reading Corps

AmeriCorps Program(s)
AmeriCorps State and National
Social Innovation Fund
Age(s) Studied
0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Schools
Nonprofits
Tribes
Rural
Suburban
Urban
Low-income
Outcome Category
School readiness
K-12 success
Benefit to national service members/volunteers
Improving AmeriCorps
Study Type(s)
Cost-benefit or Cost Effectiveness Study
Other
Researcher/Evaluator
ICF International
Published Year
2021