Students and families are increasingly concerned about the value of college – the return graduates derive from higher education expenses like ever-rising tuition bills. Too many are leaving college underemployed, unsatisfied and uncertain their investment in higher education was worth it.

Colleges and states are under mounting pressure to improve student outcomes; several states have implemented higher education funding formulas tied to student success, and the federal government has issued a College Scorecard for consumers. Meanwhile, employers continue to express disappointment in the job-readiness of recent college graduates.

A focus on College Value can address these concerns by equipping students, institutions, policymakers and higher education leaders with data and tools that illuminate critical links and opportunities between student goals and pathways, institutional offerings and workforce needs.

For policymakers, understanding and promoting College Value is imperative for equipping citizens with valuable job skills and securing the economic future of their states. For employers, reinforcing College Value means ensuring the job-readiness of recent graduates. And for institutions under mounting pressure to improve student outcomes, high College Value could lead to higher enrollment numbers and increased funding.

USA Funds’ College Value platform provides grants to projects across five focus areas – return on investment, well-being, supply/demand analysis, quality assurance and performance-based funding – that measure the value of postsecondary education and training programs in innovative and important ways:

  • At the institutional level AND the program level
  • In terms of qualitative measures such as well-being and job satisfaction, in addition to quantitative measures such as wages

A project unlike any other, USA Funds is aligning the interests of disparate organizations to develop multiple models aimed at helping students and their families, policymakers, and postsecondary institutions make more-informed decisions about the training and skills that will provide the greatest value to students and their communities.


College Value is best determined using state-level, program-specific and career-based metrics. Learn more about USA Funds’ national work supporting the future of higher education through grants aimed at return on investment, well-being, supply/demand, quality assurance and performance-based funding.


Indiana Commission for Higher Education–The Indiana College Value Index combines qualitative and quantitative data to give students and their families a comprehensive picture of college value at the state and institution level.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation/Gallup — Mark Field, Senior Vice President of the Knoxville Chamber, explains the Launch My Career Tennessee tool on WBIR.

Indiana Commission for Higher Education–The 2016 College Completion Report, released by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, showcases an increased percentage of college completers and significant progress in closing the achievement gap in Indiana. These strides will be documented through qualitative and quantitative data in the upcoming release of the Indiana College Value Index.