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State Investments in Higher Education Pay Off, Study Says

February 10, 2005

In the midst of ongoing discussions surrounding the need for increased state and local appropriations for public institutions, the Institute for Higher Education Policy recently released a report that looks at the individual and societal benefits of higher education on a 50-state basis. The report aims to reinvigorate discussions at the state level as policymakers examine how investment of state dollars in higher education pays off.

"The Investment Payoff: A 50-State Analysis of the Public and Private Benefits of Higher Education" specifically demonstrates how education level correlates with personal income, employment status, receipt of public assistance, health status, level of volunteerism, and voting participation.   

The study does not attempt to rate state performance based on the six benefit indicators, but rather concentrates on the added benefit to the individual or society from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in addition to a high school diploma.  Throughout all states, individuals with college degrees receive increased benefits in all six areas; however, the benefit levels vary by state. A complete state-by-state breakdown for all of the indicators by education level is found in the report's appendix. 

The report can be downloaded for free from the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s Web site at