The Total Economic Impact™ Of Chromebooks In Education

Cost Savings And Business Benefits Enabled By Chromebooks In Education

A Forrester Total Economic Impact Study Commissioned By Google, January 2024

Chromebooks have become increasingly popular in educational settings. Interviewed educational leaders attributed this popularity to Chromebooks’ affordability, longevity, quick startup, and extended battery life. When used with Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, educators received a combination of tools and features that can be instrumental in transforming K-12 education. Interviewees across the world found that leveraging this platform helped improve student educational outcomes, save teachers time, lower hardware costs, reduce IT management, and enhance the security of their hardware environments.

Chromebooks provide educational organizations with a cloud-native and easy-to-deploy alternative to traditional laptops and tablets. Additionally, qualifying educational institutions receive free access to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals for their students and teachers, which provides a comprehensive collaboration suite and a robust academic management system. The two solutions complement each other as a cloud-based platform that allows for broader technological access for students, teachers, and staff across school systems.

Google commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study and examine the potential return on investment (ROI) organizations may realize by deploying Chromebooks in education.1 The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Chromebooks in education.

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed 18 representatives at nine organizations with experience using Chromebooks in education. For the purposes of this study, Forrester aggregated the interviewees’ experiences and combined the results into a single composite organization that is an educational group with 30,000 elementary students and 1,200 teachers across several individual schools.

Interviewees said that prior to using Chromebooks, teachers struggled to adapt technology in the classrooms, IT groups were burdened with significant costs to deploy and manage devices, students had class time reduced while waiting for devices to startup each day, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students missed the educational benefits of having their own dedicated device. Prior attempts to add dedicated devices to the classroom yielded limited success, leaving interviewees’ organizations with frustrated teachers, lower student time on task, and wasted IT resources.

After the investment in Chromebooks, the interviewees described improved educational outcomes, organizational security, and cost savings. Key results from the investment include saved student and teacher time, significantly reduced IT burden, more secure environments, and less need for third-party accessibility tools and services.

Key Findings

Quantified financial benefits. Five-year, risk-adjusted present value (PV) quantified benefits for the composite organization include:

  • Avoided legacy hardware and peripheral costs. The lower cost of Chromebooks enables the composite school system to reduce its hardware budget significantly and ensure that each student receives a device. Additionally, students no longer need keyboards or additional accessories required by legacy tablets. Teachers are also able to have high-powered Chromebooks that cost less than comparable legacy devices. Over five years and a cumulative total of 30,000 students and 1,200 teachers, the composite organization saves $28.0 million in avoided cost of legacy hardware.

“Chromebooks are quite a bit less expensive. We usually get student devices for between $200 and $250, but it's almost double for [our legacy devices].”

District edtech coordinator, K-12, North America

  • Reduced device environment management. IT staff reduce the amount of time they spend deploying and managing Chromebooks by 76% by using Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals and cloud-based storage and applications. Over five years, the composite organization saves $3.8 million in saved labor managing 30,000 student Chromebooks and 1,200 teacher Chromebooks.
  • Reduced need for third-party accessibility tools and services. One-third fewer students require third-party accessibility tools and services as they can now use the tools included with Chromebook and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. These tools in the Google solutions include translation, screen magnification, text to speech, and voice dictation. The reduced need for third-party accessibility tools and services saves the composite organization $478,000 over a five-year period.
  • Enhanced security of Chromebook and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. The composite organization avoids successful ransomware attacks by having Chromebooks. This is largely because Chromebooks have built-in security features from ChromeOS that are typically not found in legacy OS devices. The avoided costs save the composite school a total of $2.8 million over five years.

Quantified educational outcomes. The composite school also benefits from improved educational outcomes that are quantified in terms of students’ and teachers’ time on task.

  • Improved student time-on-task. Students benefit from Chromebooks’ faster startup time each day. The devices also do not require lengthy updates that interrupt learning time. Students save additional time with improved collaboration through Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. The time on task per student improves by 18 hours each school year, which is reallocated towards additional learning.
  • Improved teacher time-on-task. Teachers also save time from the faster startup time and updates with Chromebooks and have fewer disruptions during class. In addition, they can use Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals to more effectively communicate with parents and guardians and more efficiently prepare for lessons. The teachers save 42 hours in labor per teacher each school year.

Unquantified benefits. Benefits that provide value for the composite organization but are not quantified for this study include:

  • Grows student enrollment. As the composite organization improves the educational outcomes of its students, it becomes a school of choice for parents and begins attracting additional families into its area. The gradual increase in students comes with an increase in funding and resources, which in turn further improves educational outcomes.
  • Reduces student performance gaps that are due to socioeconomic disadvantages. Students can improve their access to technology at home as they are able to take Chromebooks home with them each day and during the summer. This is enabled in part by the lower cost of Chromebooks since there is less financial risk for the composite school if a Chromebook is lost or needs to be replaced. This is also enabled by the administrative policies available in Google’s Admin console. This helps reduce the gap in student performance that is attributable to the socioeconomic disadvantages some students face.
  • Benefits from seamless integration between Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. Teachers and students benefit as Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals runs especially well on Chromebooks because its ChromeOS is built around cloud-based applications. Teachers and students also benefit as ChromeOS provides access to additional educational learning tools that can augment the educational experience provided by Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals.
  • Helps engage parents and guardians into the learning process, further improving educational outcomes. Teachers use Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals on Chromebooks to communicate and coordinate with parents. In turn, parents are given more visibility into their children’s progress and educational results and can then better support their children with daily insights into their specific needs. This is instead of waiting for feedback from major tests or grading periods, and the more constant and automated loop of feedback between parents and teachers results in better educational results for students, better relationships with parents, and saved time for teachers.
  • Allows children with different abilities to be better included. More students with differing abilities can use standard Chromebooks. In the past, they previously required special legacy devices or services than their peers used. Having a greater proportion of students using the same types of devices aids the social cohesion between children.
  • Enables children to self-select the tools that make them most effective. More students can self-select which accessibility features are more useful, which provides them with greater autonomy and ability to grow new skills. This is not just true for students who traditionally need special legacy devices or services but is also for students who may have different learning needs and may, for example, benefit from words being read aloud to them as they follow along or may prefer higher contrast colors on their screen.
  • Improves faculty collaboration. Faculty members use Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals to better collaborate with each other on projects and assignments. This is especially useful for staff who may have difficulty adapting to new technologies and would benefit from the ease of collaboration with applications built into Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals.
  • Reduces repair costs. IT staff spend less time and money repairing Chromebooks than legacy devices. This is due in part to Chromebook’s modular design and the ease of replacing single parts.
  • Additional savings from cloud operations. School administrators save additional budget by using Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals to replace their existing on-premises legacy services.

Costs. Five-year, risk-adjusted PV costs for the composite organization include:

  • Chromebook costs. The composite school replaces its legacy devices for students and teachers with Chromebooks over a three-year period. As Chromebooks last longer, the composite school replaces them after five years instead of three, making replacement costs much lower in Year 4 and Year 5. The total costs of Chromebook for students and Chromebook Plus for teachers over a five-year period is $9.7 million.
  • Labor for improved student and teacher outcomes. A total of 12 IT staff and teachers assist with the initial training for students and teachers to effectively use the many tools and features that come with Chromebook and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. This training requires the 12 employees to spend all their time for four months across the school system. After this, six employees continue training for a portion of their time during the school year. Over five years, this costs the composite school $951,000.

“There isn’t a way that Chromebooks costs more than [our legacy devices]. It's a total savings.”

District edtech coordinator, K-12, North America

The representative interviews and financial analysis found that a composite organization experiences benefits of $35.12 million over three years versus costs of $10.66 million, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $24.45 million and an ROI of 229%.

Key Statistics

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    Return on investment (ROI):

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    IT time savings

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    Annual teacher time savings

    42 hours
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    Annual student time savings

    18 hours
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Benefits (Five-Year)

Avoided legacy hardware and peripheral costs Easier management for Chromebook environment Reduced need for third-party accessibility tools and services Enhanced security of Chromebook and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals

TEI Framework And Methodology

From the information provided in the interviews, Forrester constructed a Total Economic Impact™ framework for those organizations considering an investment Chromebooks in education.

The objective of the framework is to identify the cost, benefit, flexibility, and risk factors that affect the investment decision. Forrester took a multistep approach to evaluate the impact that Chromebooks in education can have on an organization.

  1. Due Diligence

    Interviewed Google stakeholders and Forrester analysts to gather data relative to Chromebooks in education.

  2. Interviews

    Interviewed 18 representatives at nine organizations using Chromebooks in education to obtain data about costs, benefits, and risks.

  3. Composite Organization

    Designed a composite organization based on characteristics of the interviewees’ organizations.

  4. Financial Model Framework

    Constructed a financial model representative of the interviews using the TEI methodology and risk-adjusted the financial model based on issues and concerns of the interviewees.

  5. Case Study

    Employed four fundamental elements of TEI in modeling the investment impact: benefits, costs, flexibility, and risks. Given the increasing sophistication of ROI analyses related to IT investments, Forrester’s TEI methodology provides a complete picture of the total economic impact of purchase decisions. Please see Appendix A for additional information on the TEI methodology.


Readers should be aware of the following:

This study is commissioned by Google and delivered by Forrester Consulting. It is not meant to be used as a competitive analysis.

Forrester makes no assumptions as to the potential ROI that other organizations will receive. Forrester strongly advises that readers use their own estimates within the framework provided in the study to determine the appropriateness of an investment in Chromebooks in education.

Google reviewed and provided feedback to Forrester, but Forrester maintains editorial control over the study and its findings and does not accept changes to the study that contradict Forrester’s findings or obscure the meaning of the study.

Google provided the customer names for the interviews but did not participate in the interviews.

Consulting Team:

Chris Layton

Tony Lam

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