The Value of a College Education in Tennessee

The labor market and broader economy remain in flux as the U.S. unevenly rebounds from COVID-19 disruptions to health, education, work, prices, and every aspect of life. One silver lining of these disruptions, for job seekers, has been an exceptionally tight labor market with rising wages and expanding job opportunities. The bottom of the pay scale has risen the most in percentage terms, benefitting jobs that are less likely to require a college education. Is college still “worth it” in this environment?

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Reclaiming Momentum, Understanding Value: Tennessee College-Going in 2022

On June 15, 2023, the Boyd Center partnered with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, SCORE, Tennessee Achieves and Tennessee Higher Education Commission to release THEC’s report on college-going in 2022. State education leaders and experts, including the Boyd Center’s Dr. Celeste Carruthers, reviewed data from the report and assessed recent evidence on the value of higher education for Tennessee students.

See Dr. Celeste Carruthers’ Presentation

Tennessee’s Post-Pandemic Workforce: Implications for the Value of Going to College

In the decade since the Drive to 55 was initiated, much has changed. According to the American Community Survey, 58% of Tennesseans 25 and older had at least some college-level education in 2019, up from 53% in 2010. However, as the impacts of COVID-19 reverberate throughout our economy, the current environment is more favorable for workers without college than it has been for a generation or more. A tight labor market, high college costs alongside high rates of student loan default, and growth in job opportunities for workers without college have led many to question if college is still worth the cost. What is the average long-term payoff from enrolling in college?

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See Dr. Celeste Carruthers’ Presentation for SCORE

The College Pipeline In East Tennessee: Where We Are, Where We’re Going, and Policy Options

The COVID-19 pandemic may have fundamentally altered the trajectory of college-going, retention, and completion rates for students nationwide and the Drive to 55 in Tennessee. During a forum in May 2022, we reviewed the data on key student metrics for East Tennessee, examined the evidence on the causes of shifting student behavior, and evaluated possible policy options with key stakeholders.

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research co-sponsored this event in collaboration with Tennessee Achieves.

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Education Policy Research

The Boyd Center produces research on various facets of education policy on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the budget. In cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and other state agencies and funded by a grant under the federal Race to the Top program, we also developed the P20 Connect Tennessee Longitudinal Data System on education.

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Tennessee Higher Education Graduates

How much does Tennessee’s economy benefit from the Tennessee higher education graduates working in the state? The Boyd Center, under an agreement with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and with the cooperation of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, has undertaken research to answer this and other related questions.

Economic Benefits of Postsecondary Credentials: Incremental Earnings and Revenues Upon Drive to 55 Achievement

Part 1   Part 2

Education Crossroads

Education Crossroads is a unique report that looks at economic prosperity and the positive impact education has on family, society and quality of life. The collaborative report looks at how individuals have the power to influence the future through investing in education as students, individuals, parents and community members.

Education Crossroads

The Basic Education Program 2.0

The Basic Education Program 2.0 (BEP) outlines the funding formula used to allocate state education dollars to Tennessee’s k-12 schools. This formula compares a locality’s average tax rate to its tax use to calculate a percentage reflecting its ability to generate revenue from its own base to cover educational resource needs.

Basic Education Program Data