A Study on Chronic Absenteeism and Breakfast After the Bell


Millions of students in the United States miss three weeks or more of school, making them chronically absent.   The effects of chronic absenteeism are staggering and severe--- it can lead to lower student achievement, greater drop out rates, and worse employment prospects.  There is a growing effort among both research and policy communities to identify and develop school solutions to chronic absenteeism that exist beyond curriculum and instruction.   To that end, the No Kid Hungry campaign commissioned a study to explore whether serving breakfast as part of the school day, or Breakfast After the Bell, can help address chronic absenteeism.  The study, conducted by Dr. Michael Gottfried and Jacob Kirksey at the University of California Santa Barbara, consisted of two analyses- one national and the other at the state-level.   The study found that Breakfast After the Bell programs can help reduce chronic absenteeism and improve other student outcomes.  This research reinforces that school breakfast can very much be intertwined with student success in schools that implement Breakfast After the Bell programs.


The micro-report provides a high-level summary of study results for a variety of stakeholders, including educators, advocates, and policymakers.   

Research Brief: 

The research brief provides detailed information on the study methodology for audiences who wish to more deeply dive into the research. 


Schools are facing a crisis of chronic absenteeism: nearly 8 million students are missing at least three weeks of the school year.  Chronic absenteeism can lead to lower academic achievement, greater risk of dropping out, and worse employment prospects. In 2019, the No Kid Hungry campaign commissioned a study, conducted by the University of California Santa Barbara, to examine whether serving breakfast after the bell can reduce chronic absenteeism.