Later School Start Times Could Boost Ohio's Economy, Study Shows

Oct 30, 2017

More than half of Ohio’s schools ring their first bell before 8 a.m. But a new study shows, if that time was pushed back by as much as half an hour, it could make a positive impact on the state’s economy. 

Previous studies have shown when school starts later, students will see both academic and health benefits from the extra sleep over the course of their academic careers. But a new study from the Rand Corporation, an international think tank, says there are economic benefits as well.

Shifting to an 8:30 a.m. school start time could result in an additional $435 million in economic output for Ohio in two years. In 10 years, that number grows to nearly $4 billion, according to the study.

Rand Senior economist Marco Hafner says those numbers are based on student productivity when they enter the workforce.

"How much more is the probability of students graduating from college, graduating from high school?” Hafner says. “That subsequently has a positive effect on their future labor market earnings.”

Hafner says schools have generally dodged shifting times to avoid increased busing and infrastructure costs – like new lights for athletic fields. But he says Ohio’s economic growth would off-set the spending within a few years.