Strategic Planning

Simplified Cost-Benefit Analysis

Colorado Community College System

Many effective and innovative programs/strategies that improve student outcomes are never institutionalized or brought to scale.

In the current climate of budgetary constraints and increased accountability, productivity has emerged as a major issue within higher education policy discussions. The call from public policy experts, foundations, and the general public is loud and clear: “Improve student outcomes, and at the same time, increase the cost-effectiveness of programs.” Though some analysts have recommended changes in state funding mechanisms to help prioritize certain outcomes, the reality is that colleges urgently need to be able to make good decisions under existing policies. The Simplified Cost-Benefit Analysis methodology is based on the assumptions that additional resources are required to increase student success, that community colleges are under-funded, and that the funding that colleges receive is based on enrollments rather than outcomes. It provides colleges with a methodology to evaluate the cost effectiveness of investments in specific programs and strategies. Through the collection of a limited amount of data, this tool provides program administrators and college leadership with the information needed to answer the question of whether the costs of implementing a specific intervention can be recouped within a reasonable amount of time to warrant the continuation and/or expansion of the program/strategy.

Kristin Corash

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