America’s Quest for Global Leadership in Degree Attainment – April 20

Join the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) Brown Bag Forum, “Return to the Top: The Role of Increasing College Productivity in America’s Quest for Global Leadership in Degree Attainment,” Tuesday, April 20, 2010, noon – 1:00 p.m. at the Educational Sciences Building, Room 259.


Douglas Harris
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies
Faculty Affiliate, WISCAPE
Faculty Affiliate, WCER
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Sara Goldrick-Rab
Assistant Professor, Departments of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology
WISCAPE Senior Scholar
Faculty Affiliate, WCER
University of Wisconsin – Madison

This program is free and open to the public. Bring your lunch. Coffee, soda, and cookies will be provided.


As America’s supply of skilled workers falls behind demand, the country is losing its long-held advantage over competing nations. Many leaders—most notably President Obama—have made it a national priority to return the United States to its former place as number one in the world in degree attainment. However, declines in the college graduates pose a major challenge to achieving this goal; this is unsurprising, partly because little research has explored the cost-effectiveness of various college programs.

Professors Douglas Harris and Sara Goldrick-Rab will present findings from a study that combines the impacts of prominent programs with information about costs to produce estimates of cost-effectiveness.The professors consider policies ranging from smaller faculty-student ratios to need-based financial aid and the TRIO programs, concluding that many of these programs have high costs compared with their relatively small impact on students.

For ongoing updates about other programs, visit the WISCAPE online calendar.