About the MIS Cost Calculator

About the Calculator

When communities begin building a citywide afterschool system, several common components stand out as standard and important pieces to put in place have, such as including improvement and collecting and using reliable information. By working across stakeholder groups to build a coordinated system, communities have improved access to high-quality afterschool programs for low-income children and gained better information about program impact. This cost calculator tool can help communities estimate the rough costs of coordinating afterschool data from multiple providers to build a citywide system to manage information. Still, many factors determine costs and components for your data management information system and the calculator provides roght estimates only.

Where did the number come from?

There are two important factors that contribute to the cost of an MIS. The first is the start-up fee or the fixed costs and the second is the recurring costs (variable costs) to maintain and sustain the system over time. Both elements are important when considering the immediate and long-term costs of an MIS.

Cities and other users can tailor their cost estimate according to the number of agencies and program sites their MIS is projected to serve, as well as by feature set. Some additional features that may contribute to the variable costs include:

  • sharing school data (grades, attendance and behavior) with providers through the MIS
  • creating a public program locator
  • enabling case management and service referral functions through the MIS

These cost estimates are in no way binding on the companies that participated. 

What next?

A management information system is not, primarily, a technology project. It is a process of aligning the goals and resources of a great number of afterschool stakeholders, where technology plays an important supportive role. Case studies on successful cities that have generally undertaken each of the following tasks are described in greater detail in the MIS Readiness Checklist in Section 2 (pdf) of the report.In addition to the readiness checklist, NLC also urges cities to develop a comprehensive RFP (sample RFP) as a tool to help communities compare features and costs of each vendor. At the end of the day know what you need and be ready to negotiate and talk to the vendors. For a comparison of each vendor's services and for RFP development assistance and templates please see the MIS Toolkit.