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IES Grant

Title: Cost Analysis in Practice Project (CAP Project)
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Hollands, Fiona Awardee: Teachers College, Columbia University
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (05/01/2020 – 04/30/2023) Award Amount: $627,743
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R305U200002

Co-Principal Investigator: Pratt-Williams, Jaunelle

Purpose: Teachers College, Columbia University collaborated with SRI International and NORC at the University of Chicago to develop and disseminate free, on-demand tools, guidance, and technical assistance to education researchers and practitioners planning or conducting cost analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis of education practices, programs, and policies.

Project Activities: The Cost Analysis in Practice Project (CAP Project) developed the following tools, guidance, and technical assistance:

  • Resources to support cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis: CAP Project personnel developed a variety of resources to facilitate the planning and execution of cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. These included a cost analysis standards and guidelines, Excel-based cost analysis templates to enter cost data and execute analyses, a database of prices, checklists, facilities cost calculator, videos on how to calculate specific costs, timelines, data collection instruments, and event logs which are available on the project's website.
  • Help desk: CAP Project personnel provided one-on-one technical assistance to researchers working on economic evaluations and held periodic group Q&A sessions for IES applicants and grantees. The Help Desk provided 243 hours of support to 96 requests and received high satisfaction ratings.
  • Ongoing Technical Assistance: CAP Project personnel worked on a longer-term basis with five IES-funded research teams providing technical assistance on their economic evaluations, and with two IES-funded technical assistance centers to help support the grantees they served.
  • Online modules on cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis: CAP Project personnel developed and posted a series of five free asynchronous online modules on how to execute cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. These modules include 38 instructional videos and incorporate the cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis resources developed by the project.
    • Module 1: Introduction to Cost Analysis
    • Module 2: Designing a Cost Analysis
    • Module 3: Collecting Cost Data
    • Module 4: Analyzing Cost Data
    • Module 5: Reporting Cost Analysis Results
  • Upgrade of the E$timator software and tutorial videos: CAP Project personnel revised the programming code for the software E$timator (previously named CostOut) which facilitates execution of cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. CAP Project personnel also created eight tutorial videos to support users of the E$timator.

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Project Website:

Additional online resources and information:

The E$timator tool to facilitate the estimation of costs and cost-effectiveness analyses at

Select Publications:

Blogs for Inside IES Research

Chang, Y. & Kushner, A. (2022, August 4). Calculating the Costs of School Internet Access. Inside IES Research. /blogs/research/post/calculating-the-costs-of-school-internet-access

Hollands, F., Brodziak, I., Pratt-Williams, J., Shand, R., Drummond, K. & Artzi, L. (2021, July 15). Overcoming Challenges in Conducting Cost Analysis as Part of an Efficacy Trial. Inside IES Research. /blogs/research/post/overcoming-challenges-in-conducting-cost-analysis-as-part-of-an-efficacy-trial

Hollands, F. & Pratt-Williams, J. (2023, July 25). Have a Cost Analysis to Plan or Execute? We Have a Module for That. Inside IES Research.

Pratt-Williams, J., Brodziak, I., Drummond, K. & Artzi, L. (2021, August 5). Timing is Everything: Collaborating with IES Grantees to Create a Needed Cost Analysis Timeline. Inside IES Research.

Shand, R. & Brodziak, I. (2021, September 9). Data Collection for Cost Analysis in an Efficacy Trial. Inside IES Research.

Working Paper

Hollands, F.M., Pratt-Williams, J., & Shand, R. (2021). Cost analysis standards & guidelines 1.1. Cost Analysis in Practice (CAP) Project. Full Text