Can You Measure the Value of College? New Gates Foundation Commission Will Try
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been funding higher education projects at colleges for more than a decade, with mixed success, but this week it announced a fresh approach, with the formation of a new commission charged with creating a framework for measuring the value of each college in the U.S. Their goal is answering the age-old question: What’s a college degree really worth?
Foundation officials said that the group will not produce rankings of colleges. But they do expect their work could be used to create a website where students or parents can type in the name of a college and degree and get data from a variety of sources showing the expected return of graduating with that credential—a sort of ROI for graduates.
The 30-person commission, announced Thursday, will be led by Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the foundation’s CEO, and Mildred García, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. It also includes a mix of representations, including college students, business leaders, professors, policy experts, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly (which does rank colleges), association and union leaders.
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