by Glenn Lang, EdD –
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has published two interesting studies on the return on investment (ROI) of 4500 colleges and universities. The first, Ranking 4,500 Colleges by ROI (2022) rank return on investment of 4500 US colleges and universities. It ranks the share of students at an institution whose earnings 10 years after enrollment are higher than those of workers with a high school diploma as their highest level of education. An average of 60 percent of college students across institutions earn more than a high school graduate after 10 years. However, approximately for 30 percent of the institutions, more than half of their students 10 years after enrollment are earning less than a high school graduate. The institute suggests that previous research suggests that lower earnings may relate to low(er) graduation rates and disparities in earnings by gender, race, and ethnicity. The online study includes a searchable database where you can search institutions using filters including state, institutional type, degree-granting level, etc.
A second study of note to Opportunity Program personnel, The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI, indicates while collegiate attendance usually pays off for low-income students, but not as much as it does for their peers. According to the study, This pattern holds true across public and private institutions and certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Among baccalaureate institutions, public institutions generally lead to the highest ROI for low-income students during a 40-year timeframe, followed by private nonprofit institutions and for-profit colleges. The online study includes a searchable database where you can search institutions using filters including state, institutional type, degree-granting level, etc.
The study defines low income as an annual family income of $30,000 or less. Of note, the study also provides a search function using weighted scores which factor in an institution’s percentage of students who receive Pell Grants, the graduation rates of Pell Grant students, and the percentile rank of 40-year earnings of Pell Grant students. The methodology is described in detail on the website.