Postsecondary Value Commission


Formed in 2019, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by the Institution for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), the Postsecondary Value Commission is comprised of 30 higher education experts and leaders with a mission to examine, explore, and define the value of postsecondary education in the United States. 

The commission has produced a variety of reports and tools which explore value and investment in postsecondary education. 


Postsecondary Value Framework - a framework designed to help colleges and universities identify and measure their own inequities in access, completion, and post-college outcomes in ways which encourage action to improve equitable outcomes and postsecondary value.

Equitable Value Explorer (EVE) – an interactive diagnostic tool allowing analysis and comparison of institutions against the Postsecondary Value Framework, and built around publicly available data supplemented by analyses provided by the University of Texas System


Defining Value – To help inform policy and practice, the commission developed a definition of value by examining the economic and non-economic returns on investment for individuals and society. 

  • Value Definition: “Students experience postsecondary value when provided equitable access and support to complete quality, affordable credentials that offer economic mobility and prepare them to advance racial and economic justice in our society.” 

Measuring Value – The commission has developed a method for measuring how and how much learners benefit from education, across the following thresholds: 

0 – Minimum Economic Return
1 – Earnings Premium
2 – Earnings Parity
3 – Economic Mobility
4 – Economic Security
5 – Wealth Parity

Taking Action – The commission has developed an action agenda with steps that key stakeholders can take to improve the value of education for learners independent of race, ethnicity, income or gender. The key stakeholder groups identified are: 

  • Institutional Leaders 
  • Federal Policymakers 
  • State Policymakers 
  • Students and Families 


Postsecondary Value Commision Reports 

Postsecondary Value Commission Action Agenda (2021)

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