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USA Funds Awards $3.5 Million in Grants to Develop Four New College Value Models

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- USA Funds® announces the award of four new grants totaling $3.5 million to state, business, research and policy organizations to develop new models for measuring the value of postsecondary education and training programs.



"Prospective students and their families need better information to select the right postsecondary program, given that college is one of the largest and most important investments a family will make," said William D. Hansen, USA Funds president and CEO. "Legislators, other government leaders, and college administrators also need better performance data on which to base critical decisions about higher education and workforce policies and programs. By supporting these new models in 12 states, we are developing powerful new tools to help students find a more direct path through education and training to rewarding careers."

Although the recently released federal College Scorecard and similar projects provide important information on the return on investment in college, the USA Funds-supported initiatives are distinctive by incorporating the following elements:

  • Use state longitudinal data on education and workforce outcomes.
  • Measure outcomes at the program level, rather than the institutional level.
  • Compare the costs of an education with the returns from employment and wages, as well as qualitative measures like job satisfaction and community engagement.
  • Analyze supply and demand to help demonstrate whether the production of specific academic credentials meets employer demands.
  • Encompass college degree and non-degree workforce training programs.

The recipients of the four USA Funds grants and their projects include the following:

  • Indiana Commission for Higher Education. To enhance Indiana's existing campus- and program-level college Return on Investment Reports with data from the Gallup-Purdue Index of graduates' satisfaction and the lifelong dividends their degree produced, beyond just wage levels.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. In partnership with the American Institutes of Research and the Gallup organization, to identify higher education programs and institutions that lead to the highest levels of employment, wages and employee satisfaction, in Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas.
  • National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. To evaluate the degree of match between credentials being produced at state and regional levels compared to employer demands in those areas, in Georgia and the Atlanta region, Kentucky and the Louisville region, and New Mexico and the Albuquerque region.
  • National Skills Coalition. To develop tools to help state leaders make more-informed decisions about the adult and workforce training programs that are the most effective at preparing individuals for employment, in California, Mississippi, Ohio and Rhode Island.

"We are interested in outcomes that get more at the mission statements of higher education," said Brandon Busteed, executive director of education and workforce development at Gallup. "We want to know not only whether graduates make more money, but in whatever they're doing, are they more engaged in that work? Are they thriving in their overall well-being? These outcomes matter because Gallup research has shown they are linked to greater productivity, less absenteeism, lower health care cost burden and increased revenue and profit for employers."

For more information about USA Funds' College Value grants, visit www.educationvalue.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 at www.usafunds.org.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=36888

CONTACT: Robert P. Murray USA Funds Vice President Corporate and Marketing Communications (317) 806-1283 bob.murray@usafunds.orgSource:USAFunds