Research Report

Does It Pay to Invest in Preschool for All?

Analyzing Return-on-Investment in Three States


Making state-funded preschool programs available to all children removes an obstacle that has plagued programs targeted to at-risk children since such programs began – that of identifying and serving eligible children. But does it pay to invest in preschool for all?

Four steps are required for a full analysis of the economic impacts of making state-funded prekindergarten universally available:

  • Considering the consequences for prekindergarten enrollments in each state in light of existing demographics and patterns of options,
  • Calculating the unit and total costs of providing the new enrollment,
  • Measuring the economic benefits of providing universal availability and,
  • Comparing the costs and benefits.