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AmeriCorps study reports higher graduation rates and decreased government spending

January 5, 2023

Austin, Texas – Breakthrough Central Texas, Austin’s nonprofit organization helping students become the first in their family to earn a college degree, shares results of an AmeriCorps return-on-investment (ROI) study that shows the organization returns as much as $54.56 of value to the government and Austin-area communities for every dollar invested.

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, released the ROI study that measures the value of federal funding invested in education focused programs to create evidence-based future resources. AmeriCorps members serve as Breakthrough Central Texas caseworkers, providing academic support, guidance and resources students need to succeed.

“AmeriCorps members at Breakthrough Central Texas serve not only as caseworkers but also as mentors and support for our teachers,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “They open the door to possibilities for children who otherwise would have limited access to opportunities, and they demonstrate the power of strengthening community and connections with students.”

Breakthrough Central Texas offers a long-term path of support for students and families, including out-of-school learning opportunities, leadership skills, comprehensive advising, and access to mental health services. Now in its 21st year, Breakthrough has helped students overcome systemic barriers to earning college degrees since 2002. The organization currently supports more than 3,000 students, with 300 program alumni who are now first-generation college graduates.

“We are happy to share this impact study with the broader community,” says Breakthrough Central Texas Executive Director Michael Griffith. “Every day we see first-hand the results of education and advocacy on students who are empowered to achieve their dreams. This AmeriCorps study shows what have long known – that by building a pathway to and through college, Breakthrough helps students reach for a life that is statistically healthier, less reliant on public assistance and more civically engaged.”

To calculate the ROI, Breakthrough Central Texas program benefits were identified, quantified, and compared to the program’s costs. Benefits include:

  • Additional lifetime earnings resulting from improved education and employment outcomes
  • Additional earnings by AmeriCorps members
  • Living allowances, stipends, and education awards
  • Increased tax revenue for government
  • Reduced lifetime spending on corrections, public assistance, and social insurance.

Learn more about Breakthrough Central Texas and its 20-year service history in Austin at breakthroughctx.org.

Breakthrough Central Texas is a nonprofit that creates a path to college for students from under-resourced communities. From sixth grade through college, the organization offers out-of-school learning experiences, leadership skills, and comprehensive advising to students. The organization makes a long-term commitment to students and their families to guide them through the process of preparing for, enrolling in, and completing college. This model ensures the success of students and families from middle school to high school graduation to college diploma and beyond. Join the conversation on Twitter @BreakthroughCTX, Instagram @BreakthroughCTX and at Facebook.com/BreakthroughCTX. To learn more, visit www.breakthroughctx.org.


AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency places more than 250,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.



Media Contacts:

Mary Green

(704) 576-5178