Customer Perceptions Matter
Is higher education worth its cost? Lifetime earnings, one popular measure of value, seem to suggest the answer is increasingly, “Yes.” But that doesn’t end the debate. For many the real question is, are we paying too much for a good thing? Much of the public debate has been over how well courses and programs offered or required lead to successful employment. Given the nebulous definition of “successful employment,” maybe a better yardstick would be how efficiently/effectively institutions provide the educational services their customers seek, its cost-benefit ratio. To do that, we’ll have to agree on a way to measure the value of the benefit to balance the knowable, dollar-cost on the other side. But value is perception-based and difficult to measure in absolute terms. Maybe we can’t define value very well but we probably can sharpen perceptions, if we provide our customers with better information. And that’s what our posting this month is all about.