University of Maryland, Baltimore partners with HelioCampus to conduct a first of its kind affordability study

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HelioCampus, a technology-enabled services company, has partnered with the University of Maryland, Baltimore to conduct an affordability study to better understand the relationships among various cost and income factors impacting the opportunities for students from all geographic and socioeconomic areas of the state to participate in its programs and pursue professions of their choosing.

HelioCampus, a technology-enabled services company, has partnered with the University of Maryland, Baltimore to conduct an affordability study to better understand the relationships among various cost and income factors impacting the opportunities for students from all geographic and socioeconomic areas of the state to participate in its programs and pursue professions of their choosing.

The topic of college affordability has become increasingly prominent in recent years — with good reason. For undergraduate students, the cost of college attendance jumped 63 percent between 2006 and 2016, while consumer prices overall increased 21 percent (1). At the same time, median household income nationwide climbed by less than 3 percent (2). The affordability problem flows from the undergraduate to the graduate and professional school environment, where educational costs are typically far greater. This certainly has an impact on Maryland’s workforce and is felt acutely in those fields — for example, allied health — where demand for professionals outstrips supply.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) plays a key role in meeting Maryland’s workforce demand in health, law, and social work. To sustain this role, UMB must maintain a level of affordability that allows students from every Maryland region and every income level to take advantage of a UMB education. “In order to support our goals, articulated in the 2017-2021 UMB Strategic Plan, it is essential that all our academic programs and offerings are affordable and accessible to Maryland’s residents of all races, ethnicities, and income levels,” said Roger Ward, Senior Vice President for Operations and Institutional Effectiveness.

In support of their affordability goals, HelioCampus provided the foundation to achieve one of the university’s strategic plan outcomes. The University of Maryland, Baltimore began working with HelioCampus in spring of 2017. As part of the initiative, HelioCampus developed for UMB a data model that allows rapid, deep, and ongoing analysis of student debt and repayment. This robust and flexible model, along with visualization tools to view the data, allows the university to interrogate and explore multiple scenarios. HelioCampus is also providing a road map for future studies to explore affordability.

Preliminary findings show that UMB’s professional programs continue to be broadly affordable. Although student debt at graduation has increased in recent years, it has risen at a slower rate than the cost of attendance. Repayment rates (dollars per year) vary widely by program, but repayment ratios (proportion of debt paid per year) are consistent, typically in the high single digits.

“The issue of affordability is something we see as increasingly important in the current higher education climate. The University of Maryland, Baltimore is the first university we know of to complete such an initiative. We were really excited to be a part of this groundbreaking work,” said HelioCampus CEO, Darren Catalano.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore is scheduled to present the results of this study at the AIR Forum in Orlando this year in a session called “Creating an Affordability Model for Professional Education.” http://forum.airweb.org/2018/pages/forum-sessions

You can also review a summary of the study in the UMB legislative budget testimony here: http://dbm.maryland.gov/budget/FY2019Testimony/R30B21.pdf

For more information about HelioCampus, visit http://www.heliocampus.com. To see the HelioCampus platform in action schedule a demo here: https://www.heliocampus.com/heliocampus-demo-request

About HelioCampus
HelioCampus helps colleges and universities use analytics to increase enrollment, improve student success, ensure financial sustainability and accelerate gift giving. We enable institutions to ask and answer their most pressing questions through data analytics, data storytelling and data science. Originated within the University System of Maryland, HelioCampus offers a unique perspective on the impact of data across the student lifecycle and solves challenges institution face in deploying data analytics. By combining an extensible data platform with ongoing data science services, HelioCampus leverages enrollment, student success, institutional financial and advancement data to facilitate meaningful conversations that fuel higher value analyses and spur action, leading to greater institutional performance and financial sustainability.

For more information about HelioCampus visit http://www.heliocampus.com or follow them on Twitter.

1 - Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, College tuition and fees increase 63 percent since January 2006 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/college-tuition-and-fees-increase-63-percent-since-january-2006.htm (visited November 1, 2017).
2 - U.S. Bureau of the Census, Real Median Household Income in the United States [MEHOINUSA672N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MEHOINUSA672N, November 1, 2017.

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Leslie Stepler
HelioCampus
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