Case Study

Return on College (ROC)

A modernized technology platform supporting academic institutions in awarding the right college credit to military-connected learners based on their military training and occupations.

The Challenge

The US Department of Education Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) funded a national challenge to small businesses to help design a better way to communicate the risks, costs, and rewards of pursuing college programs. The solution needed to factor in multiple complex data points including college outcomes and costs by institution, opportunity cost and expected future wages by degree program and location, and cost of student loans, but produce one easy to compare and understand Return on Investment number.

The Solution

Return on College brings together multiple trusted data sources from the US Census Bureau, Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Education and supplements this with additional labor market insights data from Burninglass-EMSI. We developed a research-backed algorithm to use these data to model a students current state salary trajectory without an additional investment in a college degree, compared to their future state salary trajectory after completing a college degree. Each model is unique to the individual student.


ROC is currently being tested by Pennsylvania College Advising Corps high school advisors with underserved juniors and seniors at 35 public high schools in the State of Pennsylvania to support conversations about the value of pursuing a post-secondary education, and is available for organizations to incorporate into their education, financial literacy, and advising career services as a white-labeled Software-as-a-Service solution.


Users said tool is helping me to have high impact advising conversations with students.

Colleges reported ROC demonstrates both the net price of a college degree but also expanded career opportunities and return on investment associated with each degree.

Students and families have an increased understanding of “healthy debt” as it relates to student loans.

Learn More

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