The Estimated Annual Cost of ADHD to the U.S. Education System

School Ment Health. 2011 Sep 1;3(3):169-177. doi: 10.1007/s12310-011-9057-6.


The purpose of this study was to examine and monetize the educational outcomes of students with ADHD. Data were examined from the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study (PALS), a follow-up study of children diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and recontacted for follow-up in adolescence and young adulthood. A comprehensive educational history was obtained for all participants from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Annual economic impact was derived from costs incurred through special education placement, grade retention, and disciplinary incidents. Results indicated that, as compared to students without ADHD, students with ADHD incurred a higher annual cost to the U.S. Education system. Specifically, a student with ADHD incurred an average annual incremental cost to society of $5,007, as compared to $318 for students in the comparison group. These results suggest that prevention and intervention strategies are greatly needed to offset the large financial impact of educating youth with ADHD.