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Enriching Kids

Enriching Kids

The Benefits of Using Public Funds to Pay for Out-of-School (OST) Time Programs

Ballet, chess club, robotics, soccer, drama, foreign language, computer coding, ceramics, and scouting -- these are just some of the OST programs that many families want their kids to experience. High-quality specialty programs, academic programs, and multipurpose programs (that provide various activities to youth) can provide benefits aligned with their program content, including improving supervision and safety, social-emotional development, and school performance and exposing kids to new experiences and opportunities.

OST programs provide cumulative opportunities to a child.

Public support for OST programs has been fueled by three key factors:

  • 1. After school, unsupervised kids may engage in risky behaviors.
  • 2. Youth access to enrichment activities is highly dependent on family income.
  • 3. Low-income students trail substantially behind their more-affluent peers, in terms of academic achievement.

Not every family can afford OST programs.

19.4 million children, or 41% of kids not currently in an after-school program, would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them. (An 11% increase in the 10 years from 2004 to 2014)

83% of people surveyed in one poll were against cutting funding for after-school and summer school programs.

Low-income students face opportunity and attainment gaps. OST programs can be designed to address both.

Opportunity Gap

Families with higher incomes have more opportunities for OST programs, spending 7x more on enrichment activities than do low-income families

  • High-income families: 84% participate in sports
  • Low-income families: 59% participate in sports

Attainment Gap

Kids from higher-income families are more likely to graduate from high school and graduate from college


  • 85% graduate from high school
  • 77% earn a bachelor's degree by age 25


  • 70% graduate from high school
  • 10% earn a bachelor's degree by age 25

Excerpted from The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs, by Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Anamarie Whitaker, and Paul Youngmin Yoo, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, PE-267-WF, 2017 (available at The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. To view this infographic online, visit


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