Indiana University

News Release

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011

IU Public Policy Institute releases report on private, public value of higher education

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June 23, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- With recent headlines asking "Is college worth it?" and reports of a burgeoning student loan crisis, there has been considerable public discussion about the costs and benefits of higher education.

Often, those discussions are limited to how much individuals pay for school and how much they earn upon graduation. But from a policy-making perspective, evaluating higher education requires broader measures of economic and social benefits.

This is the purpose of a research review released by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute as part of its Policy Choices for Indiana's Future project. The Policy Choices initiative is designed to provide objective recommendations on key issues for future Indiana legislative and gubernatorial candidates.

"From lower incarceration and obesity rates to higher levels of civic engagement and volunteerism, education is associated with a broad array of benefits to both individuals and society," according to the report. "While the costs incurred educating our society are enormous, and growing, we must be aware that the costs of failing to do so might be even greater."

Among the report's findings:

To read the full report or learn more about Policy Choices, visit

About the IU Public Policy Institute

Established in 2008, the IU Public Policy Institute is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research institute within the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). The Institute's team includes experienced faculty and staff with expertise in policy analysis, program evaluation, facilitation and planning. The Institute conducts non-partisan research for political and community leaders who need to understand the long-term effects of policy decisions. The Institute, based at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, serves as an umbrella organization for four research organizations affiliated with SPEA: the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment (established in 1992); the Center for Criminal Justice Research (2008); the Office of International Community Development (2006); and the Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (1995).

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