What's the ROI for Education
The U.S. Chamber Foundation and USA Funds have launched an interactive
tool to calculate postsecondary return on investment. The guide compares earnings
potential to educational investment for degree and certificate programs.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently introduced “Launch
My Career,” a first-in-the-nation, interactive tool that provides students with
information about the return on investment in a certificate or degree from public
postsecondary schools, including technical schools and community colleges.
“At a time when student debt is mounting and employers are struggling
to find the right people with the right skills, it is imperative that students make
informed decisions about the best way to prepare for in-demand jobs,” says
Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s
Center for Education and Workforce. “This tool will allow consumers to
easily identify careers, majors and institutions of interest and compare the value
of each program.”
The U.S. Chamber Foundation initiative is supported by one of four College
Value grants from USA Funds totaling $3.5 million. The grants support development
in 12 states of new models for measuring college value to help students
and their families, policymakers and postsecondary institutions make more
informed decisions about the training and skills that provide the greatest value
to students and their communities.
The “Launch My Career” tool provides degree-seeking individuals access
to data that:
- Identifies “hot jobs” in demand across the state and in particular regions, as well
as the degree or certificate programs that will prepare students for those roles.
- Compares projected future earnings to the investment required to graduate
from a particular school and program.
- Analyzes the earnings potential of many career options.
- Helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that
accompanies different careers and courses of study.
“Launch My Career is the only tool that provides information on the ROI of
public postsecondary education,” says Mark Schneider, president of College Measures,
a division of the American Institutes for Research, which helped to develop
the tool. “The tool is a game changer for students, allowing them to select the right
degree program or institution based on their interests and preferred jobs and then
compare their selection across multiple institutions.”
Other features of the tool include a lifestyle goal calculator, showing the
number of years it will take for the salary from a particular occupation to meet
a user’s lifestyle goals, and a break-even calculator, which shows the number of
years it will take after completing a particular degree program for earnings to
exceed the total net price of the program.
The tool, which launched first in Colorado, will be launched next in Tennessee.
Learn more about the Colorado tool at launchmycareercolorado.org.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.