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ERIC Number: ED507876
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Calculating Cost-Return for Investments in Student Success
Lumina Foundation for Education
In late 2007, Jobs for the Future (JFF), working with the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability, launched "Investing in Student Success", a one-year pilot program. The pilot, conceived of as part of the "Making Opportunity Affordable" initiative and funded by Walmart Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education, focused on exploring whether first-year programs designed to retain students are a cost-effective investment for colleges and universities. JFF and the Delta Project recruited 13 colleges and universities to participate in Investing in Student Success. Each institution had student success programs considered effective at serving freshman students, especially low-income, first-generation, at-risk college students. The pilot colleges include public and private institutions with two- and four-year campuses, and the sample was geographically balanced. This pilot project tied program-level cost data to student outcomes and explored the extent to which the additional revenue that colleges and universities generate by increasing student retention offsets the additional cost of first-year programs. The project's goal was to develop, test, and standardize tools that document the relationship between program costs and student results. Armed with this information, institutions will be better able to make informed, data-driven decisions about how to invest limited dollars in ways that help students succeed. Colleges and universities will be able to calculate revenues associated with retaining students and, potentially, measure costs associated with students dropping out. The feature product of the pilot is the ISS Cost-Return Calculator, a tool that can help campus and program administrators compare the costs of student success programs to the programs' impact on student retention. Because student success programs cross traditional organizational lines between instruction, student services, and academic support, many institutions lack a good way to analyze their cost structures. One of the main goals of calculating cost-return on investment was to better organize data by the basic cost elements of student success programs to make this information useful. (Contains 5 endnotes.) [Funding for this report was provided by Walmart Foundation.]
Lumina Foundation for Education. P.O. Box 1806, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1806. Tel: 800-834-5756; Fax: 317-951-5063; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Lumina Foundation for Education