Behind the Bumper Sticker: Return on Investment in Higher Ed
In the past, there’s been minimal consensus on how to accurately gauge the value students are receiving from their higher ed institution or program. But understanding how students are faring after investing in higher education offers valuable insights for prospective students and their families, institutional leaders, and policymakers, alike.
In our latest installment of our Behind the Bumper Sticker series, we unpacked what it means for students to get a good economic return on their higher education investment, explored different methods of measuring that value, and talked about political hurdles, implementation challenges, and opportunities to improve metrics of student success.
Nicole Siegel, Deputy Director of Education at Third Way, was joined by Scott Pulsipher, President of Western Governors University (WGU) for a discussion about rethinking value in higher education, competency-based education, and WGU’s efforts to get their students across the finish line. Following their interview, Aarthi Swaminathan, Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance, moderated a conversation featuring Michele Siqueiros, President at the Campaign for College Opportunity; Beth Akers, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Michael Itzkowitz, Senior Education Fellow at Third Way; and Andrew Gillen, Senior Policy Analyst at Texas Public Policy Institute. The expert panelists agreed that that the topic of return on investment in higher education is nuanced, and that while there’s not a one-size-fits-all model to improving value, it’s critical conversations include mapping out what success looks like for students, how messaging impacts student decision-making, and the importance of institutional accountability.