ProLiteracy Report Shows the Positive Return on Investment in Adult Literacy Programs
Posted on March 28, 2017

ProLiteracy announces the release of its new report, The Case for Investment in Adult Basic Education. This white paper, featuring the research of Dr. Stephen Reder, provides evidence that increasing adult literacy skills has a positive impact on social issues facing all adults. 

The Case for Investment in Adult Basic Education is significant in that it includes data that provide strong evidence of the impact of participation in adult basic skills programs and a positive return on investment related to improving an adult’s life. These improvements include future increases in income, literacy levels, high school equivalency attainment, and postsecondary engagement. 

“While this return on investment is well-known to many educators, it has remained largely unknown to policy makers, funders, and the general public,” said Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy. “Low adult literacy has a huge adverse impact on the employability and earnings of American adults, and, equally important, on our nation’s economic and social well-being. This research provides a strong case and need for increased investment in adult education through federal and state policies, private foundations, and individual donors.” 

“Research was needed that compared adult literacy development among program participants and nonparticipants across multiple contexts and over significant periods of time to provide a lifewide and lifelong perspective on adult literacy development, and a better assessment of program impact on a range of outcome measures,” Reder said. “The results of this research are clear. Three different research methods drawing data from a 10-year period all show statistically significant and financially substantial impacts of adult basic skills program participation.” 

The white paper can be downloaded at