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Return on College Investment for Students & Taxpayers

The federal government disburses approximately $150 billion of aid each year to postsecondary institutions across the country. Few limitations prevent poor-performing schools from receiving these funds. Notably, existing rules are based on metrics that fail to capture the full value of college enrollment and rarely disqualify even institutions with consistently poor outcomes for their students. Recent expansions in the data available to the public have facilitated estimates of the return on investment (ROI) for college students by institution and/or by field of study, but so far, these estimates have played little role in accountability for postsecondary institutions.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has partnered with academic researchers to create new models that can measure ROI, with a focus on helping policymakers develop accountability metrics that can assess the broader value of institutions. These estimates account for government subsidies provided to institutions as well as adjust for labor market discrimination to more accurately assess the value of institutions that disproportionately enroll underrepresented minority students and women.

Join BPC to hear findings from its new report, “Which Colleges Are Worth the Cost? Institution-Level Return on Investment for Students and Taxpayers,” followed by a panel discussion with academics and policy experts. The discussion will cover both immediate prospects for policy changes that increase accountability along with ideas for how to use research and data to build better metrics that can fairly assess the value of higher education and guide policymaking in the future.

Register here.

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