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Popular Out-of-School-Time Cost Calculator Updated

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Anyone interested in starting an after-school or summer program can now use a newly updated, free tool to figure how much that might cost.

The Wallace Foundation has updated its Out-of-School-Time Cost Calculator to reflect increases in the cost of living. (A note of disclosure here: The Wallace Foundation supports coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts learning in Education Week.]

The old calculator was based on data from a report that was published in 2009 by Jean Grossman on the cost of high-quality out-of-school programs.

"Essentially, what we have is an update based on national cost-of-living data and city specific cost data as of 2015," said Lucas B. Held, the foundation's director of communications.

Held says the foundation invested in making that 2009 report into an interactive, online tool which allows users to input data such as how long the program is expected to last, how many students it will serve, and who will operate it. The calculator then provides a cost estimate based on those variables as well as location. For example, an academic after-school program for 45 elementary students  housed in a school in the Orlando, Fla., area would cost just under $10,000 a year. The same program in Boston would cost just over $14,000 a year.

The calculator is a popular tool. Held says it's used 300-400 times per month.

"Research tells us after-school programs can confer a range of benefits for participating children, for example, improved school attendance, improved attitudes," said Held. "But those benefits are dependent on the quality of the program. Our hope is that the calculator will help providers and others make the case for investing in quality."

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