The Road To Affordability: Reducing Cost and Maximizing Value

for Students and our State 

During these unprecedented times caused by the novel coronavirus, The Road to Affordability report is even more eminent to the success of our students. We know that when Coloradans seize educational opportunity, they thrive. They lead healthier lives, they’re more resilient during economic downturn, and they make substantially more money over their lifetime. With this report, students and families will be able to maximize the value of their postsecondary credential and reduce costs. 

To assist lawmakers, taxpayers, students and families in understanding the value of postsecondary education in Colorado, H.B.18-1226, Higher Education Review Degree Program Costs and Outcomes, directed the Colorado Department of Higher Education to publish an annual return on investment (ROI) report. 

The Road To Affordability: Reducing Cost and Maximizing Value 

In 2019, in response to the growing imperative to reduce costs for students, Governor Jared Polis, in partnership with CDHE and CCHE, released the Roadmap to Containing Costs and Making College Affordable. This report reinforces the need to execute the short-, medium- and long-term action steps identified in the the Roadmap to Containing College Costs and Making College Affordable.

As the report explains, return on investment varies by individual. The actual price of attendance goes beyond tuition costs, including fees, room and board and other costs associated with being a successful college student. Since most students receive financial aid, few pay the published cost of attendance. Now more than ever students are concerned with the fate of the workforce and Colorado’s economy. This report serves as a tool that policymakers, institutions, students and families can use to educate themselves on pathways, affordability and cost. Debt and price are also influenced by choices students and families make along their credential pathway, including academic program, career opportunities, living arrangements and more. Taken together, these elements help students and families understand the value of their credential. 

Report Snapshots


Postsecondary Degree Earnings Outcomes Tools

This interactive tool depicts annual median earnings for Colorado graduates 1, 5 and 10 years following the completion of a credential. You can use this tool to search for median earnings based on field of study, credential level and institution. 

Email your questions to CDHE@dhe.state.co.us 


Downloadable Data