Return on Investment Toolkit

Applying an ROI Lens to Student Success
This toolkit lets institutions explore new tools and approaches for supporting investments in student success that create sustainable innovation and stronger business models.


Higher education institutions are exploring new ways to decrease costs while delivering high-quality education to an expanded and diverse student body. These challenges require new investments in student success, and they benefit from using a return on investment (ROI) lens.

  • Watch this Vidcast video that guides you through the tools provided on this page.
  • Read about the advantages the ROI lens offers for student success initiatives (SSIs).


Plan where to start your ROI journey and the steps you will take along the way. Develop your student success story for key stakeholders. Learn how to avoid pitfalls. Use the plan, do, check, act process (PDCA) at your institution for continuous improvement toward excellence. Review resources and a step-by-step roadmap with all of these exemplar "destinations" on your journey.

  • Read [] about how to use the PDCA process to guide your actions.
  • Review the EDUCAUSE SSI toolkit roadmap for guidance.
  • Scan this article and learn about the pitfalls to avoid in an SSI.


The webinar will show you how to use the ROI tool and analyze required expenditures and funding necessary to support a new or re-envisioned SSI. The tool also predicts potential new institutional revenue resulting from initiative-related improvements in student outcomes, such as retention and credit hours. You can access an example of the exemplar tool and use our blank version to populate your own tool.

  • Watch this short webinar about the SSI financial model.
  • Use an ROI tool to calculate expenditures and funding; be sure to follow the tabs on the bottom of the document.
  • Refer to this exemplar tool as an example for your ROI study.


Review the resource materials to help inspire your thinking on how to tell the story of ROI and student success on your campus.

  • Review this case study a from Middle Tennessee University
  • Watch a video from Cleveland State University.


Join us at EDUCAUSE events, where we provide additional resources and tools. You can become a member and access our communities, or join us for upcoming social media chats and forums on ROI.

  • Review the EDUCAUSE webinars page for dates of events that support student success.