News & Events / “Know your numbers” using the Equitable Value Explorer to measure value and return on investment for students

“Know your numbers” using the Equitable Value Explorer to measure value and return on investment for students

Published Nov 04, 2021

Drawing from publicly available data regarding more than 4,000 postsecondary institutions, the “Equitable Value Explorer” demonstrates the return on investment for students across the country

WASHINGTON, DC (November 4, 2021) – A new interactive web-based tool designed to put the Postsecondary Value Commission’s measurement framework into action is now available for public use. Using data from the College Scorecard, as well as data provided by the University of Texas (UT) system, the Equitable Value Explorer deploys a comprehensive framework to measure value and the return students are receiving for their investment of time and money in higher education.

The tool also highlights areas where data improvements are needed to fully understand equitable value, especially to interrogate racial inequities. The Equitable Value Explorer will help leaders examine how colleges and universities are ensuring their students get ahead, rather than simply getting by or even falling behind. Designed to encourage better practices at institutions and more informed higher education policymaking to remedy existing challenges and ensure a more equitable future, the tool enables institutional leaders, policymakers and their staffs, and researchers to better understand student experiences and postsecondary outcomes.

“For higher education to generate economic mobility and disrupt broader societal inequities, institutions must ‘know their numbers,’ and policymakers at all levels must use those numbers to implement data-informed, evidence-based policies that promote equitable value, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and underrepresented Asian American and Pacific Islander students, and women,” said Mamie Voight, interim president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy and managing partner of the Postsecondary Value Commission. “As managing partner of the commission, we know the Equitable Value Explorer can help institutions use data to provide quality, affordable credentials that offer students a better living and a better life – all in the interest of advancing the commission’s objective of promoting a more fair and just society.”

“We believe in the power of data and transparency, and recognize the need to increase the quality of publicly available data, improve transparency in higher education outcomes, and drive a discussion around value for the sake of improvement,” added Kimberly Dancy, IHEP Research Associate. “The Equitable Value Explorer will inject more nuance and critical thinking into the conversation about the value of higher education.”

In addition to data from the College Scorecard, the Equitable Value Explorer includes a separate section with analysis from the UT System, a vanguard on the use of postsecondary data. The granular UT data enable additional evaluations of economic outcomes, including outcomes specifically for students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, women, and students in specific majors. These first-of-their-kind UT analyses provide a roadmap for institutional leaders hoping to use internal data to supplement publicly available information to improve their understanding of equitable value generated by their schools.

The Equitable Value Explorer is based on research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Formed in 2019, the Postsecondary Value Commission, co-chaired by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and American Association of State Colleges and Universities, is managed by IHEP and consists of 30 diverse leaders representing colleges and universities, policymakers, advocates, researchers, the business community, and students.


About IHEP

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, policy, and advocacy organization committed to promoting postsecondary access and success for all students, regardless of race, background, or circumstance. Established in 1993, IHEP provides timely, evidence-based, and student-centered research to inform policy decisions and address our nation’s most pressing education challenges.