Prospective students and their parents report consistently that their leading reason for pursuing a postsecondary credential is to obtain a good job with a good salary. Yet, traditional measures of college success largely ignore this outcome.

USA Funds is leading the way in helping states find better ways to measure and report College Value information that is reflective of job and career success, including:

  • Traditional return on investment metrics, such as cost, employment and wages
  • Qualitative measures, such as Gallup’s “well-being” measures.
  • Supply/demand data showing the match or mismatch between credential production and demands of the workforce.




While the September 2015 release of the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard suggests that there may one day be a national model for measuring College Value, USA Funds believes that the inherent challenges of implementing a single federal model are too great.

States should be the most important drivers of this work. Each of the 50 states already collects necessary data to formulate these measures. Yet, only three states currently use those abilities to make relevant data available to the public.

USA Funds is driving efforts to make these tools publicly available, easily digestible and highly customizable through grants to support organizations and initiatives that are innovative, impactful solutions for the 50 percent of college graduates who are unemployed or underemployed following graduation, or would choose different academic programs or colleges if they could do it all over again. All grants follow three themes:

  • Focus on career-related outcomes;
  • Research conducted using state-level data;
  • Strong communications efforts, to make these tools widely available to consumers, policymakers and institutions.

Each project pursues College Value measurement in a unique way, and the central component of this portfolio is to elevate those that show the most promise.


Our work is spanning multiple states and areas of work:

ROI Interactive Map


Leave Behind Placemat for Policymakers

Additional College ROI Resources

College Scorecard: An interactive tool for students and parents that includes five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment.

College Measures: Makes available key data, including two-year and four-year college data tools, to enable users to make smarter decisions, and to help create a more efficient, productive and effective higher education system.

Indiana ROI Reports: Features both state-level and college-specific profiles, covering average cost of college and average student debt, top three industries of employment by college program one year after graduation, and average salary one, five and 10 years post-graduation.

Gallup-Purdue Index: Description of survey to study the relationship between the college experience and college graduates’ lives.

National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) Information Center: Provides access to a variety of comparative higher education data as well as custom reports.