U.S. Chamber Foundation, USA Funds Launch Interactive Tool to Calculate Postsecondary Return on Investment

June 8, 2016

Guide Compares Earnings Potential to Educational Investment for Degree and Certificate Programs

DENVER, CO — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today introduced “Launch My Career,” a first-in-the-nation, interactive tool that provides students with information about the return on investment in a certificate or degree from public postsecondary schools, including technical schools and community colleges. The U.S. Chamber Foundation joined the American Institutes for Research, Gallup Inc., and USA Funds at a launch event in Denver to unveil the first “Launch My Career” website focused on the state of Colorado.

“At a time when student debt is mounting and employers are struggling to find the right people with the right skills, it is imperative that students make informed decisions about the best way to prepare for in-demand jobs,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. “This tool will allow consumers to easily identify careers, majors, and institutions of interest and compare the value of each program.”

The U.S. Chamber Foundation initiative is supported by one of four College Value grants from USA Funds totaling $3.5 million. The grants support development in 12 states of new models for measuring college value to help students and their families, policymakers, and postsecondary institutions make more informed decisions about the training and skills that provide the greatest value to students and their communities.

The "Launch My Career" tool provides degree-seeking individuals access to data that:

  • Identifies “hot jobs” in demand across the state and in particular regions, as well as the degree or certificate programs that will prepare students for those roles
  • Compares projected future earnings to the investment required to graduate from a particular school and program
  • Analyzes the earnings potential of many career options
  • Helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies different careers and courses of study

“Launch My Career is the only tool that provides information on the ROI of public postsecondary education,” said Mark Schneider, president of College Measures, a division of the American Institutes for Research, which helped to develop the tool. “The tool is a game changer for students, allowing them to select the right degree program or institution based on their interests and preferred jobs and then compare their selection across multiple institutions.”

Other features of the tool include a lifestyle goal calculator, showing the number of years it will take for the salary from a particular occupation to meet a user’s lifestyle goals, and a break-even calculator, which shows the number of years it will take after completing a particular degree program for earnings to exceed the total net price of the program.

“Students and families are increasingly concerned about the value of college,” said Carol D’Amico, executive vice president of national engagement and philanthropy for USA Funds. “Through this new resource, students can make more informed decisions about their future with data that illuminates critical links and opportunities between student goals and pathways, institutional offerings, and workforce needs.”

The tool, which launched first today in Colorado, will be launched next in Tennessee later this summer. Learn more about the Colorado tool at www.launchmycareercolorado.org.

College Measures, a unit of the American Institutes for Research, works with U.S. states to identify the labor market success of postsecondary students after they complete their degrees or other credentials. By measuring student economic success, College Measures helps students and taxpayers identify the return on the investment for students, families and governments in postsecondary education, and helps them make better informed decisions about borrowing and choice of majors. For more information, visit www.air.org.

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more about USA Funds’ College Value initiative at www.collegevalue.net.

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world. Learn more at www.gallup.com.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.

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