How Do You Determine the Value of a College Degree?

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When it comes to the return on investment of a college degree, questions abound: Given the expense of a degree, is it actually an investment? How do you quantify the value of a college education? In an episode of the EdUp Experience podcast, Jeff Elliott, Director of Product Management at Jenzabar, sat down the Dr. Jen Janecek-Hartman, Vice President of Campus Services at Nueta Hidasta Sahnish College (NHSC), to explore ROI and the true value of a college degree.

For institutions, determining ROI, value, and student success has become increasingly important, especially as states begin to change their education funding models based on those definitions. Dr. Janecek-Hartman, who won a Most Innovative Approach to ROI award from the ROI Institute, pointed out that part of the challenge in defining the return on a college investment and the value of a degree is that each student defines that value differently. “How do you quantify the value of a degree to the first student in an extended family to attend college?” she asks.

Defining Student Success and Return on Investment



As Dr. Janecek-Hartman and Elliott discuss definitions of student success, they agree that to define student success by a national norm would be doing both institutions and their students a disservice. The value of a college degree, they argue, goes beyond dollars and cents. So how can institutions calculate the ROI of their degrees? How can they determine the generational wealth accrued, the community impact, and change to self-worth and confidence?

Listen to the podcast, Higher Education’s True ROI: Value Goes Beyond Dollars and Cents to hear the conversation in its entirety.

Higher Education’s True ROI: Value Goes Beyond Dollars and Cents

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