A recent study by the Rand Corporation indicates that a later school start time could lead to a significant impact on the U.S. economy. The key findings from the study are as follows:
- The study suggested that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.
- The study suggested that the benefits of later start times far out-weigh the immediate costs. Even after just two years, the study projects an economic gain of $8.6 billion to the U.S. economy, which would already outweigh the costs per student from delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m.
- After a decade, the study showed that delaying schools start times would contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy, with this increasing to $140 billion after 15 years. During the 15 year period examined by the study, the average annual gain to the U.S. economy would about $9.3 billion each year.
- Throughout the study’s cost-benefit projections, a conservative approach was undertaken which did not include other effects from insufficient sleep, such as higher suicide rates, increased obesity and mental health issues — all of which are difficult to quantify precisely. Therefore, it is likely that the reported economic benefits from delaying school start times could be even higher across many U.S. states.
An additional article from Business Insider cited sources that show the benefits occurring in schools that have already made the change to a later school start time.
“Following a survey issued at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, (Dobles Ferry School District Superintendent Lisa Brady told Business Insider ‘”it was clear from both the parents and the kids, overwhelmingly, that the mornings were just less stressful.”‘
A math teacher from New Hope, Pennsylvania also had positive things to say about his school’s switch to a later start time a year ago.”
“…students are less stressed and performing just as well if not better in their classes. A survey he issued schoolwide showed students and teachers are widely in favor of the policy.”