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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Application Design for Post-Secondary Education Planning

Presenter: Joseph Wassweiler, College of Architecture and Planning, Multidisciplinary Design
Authors: Joseph Wassweiler
Faculty Advisor: Cord Bowen, College of Architecture and Planning, Multidisciplinary Design
Institution: University of Utah

Widely available, four-year public universities offer a good return on investment, but this requires a well formulated plan. Since 2000, public tuition has increased by 63.5% which threatens many students with high early-career debt levels or prevents bachelor’s degrees entirely. While many have theorized the cause of diminishing ROI, the most compelling explanation seems to be a mix of lack of information to potential students and no incentive for universities to lower prices. Improved information sources could be most impactful in the process of applying for schools where students would benefit from easy access to critical information such as average return on investment based on chosen major and school, realistic comparison of overall costs, and amount of subsidy they can receive before applying for schools. Providing this critical information would improve the post-secondary decision-making process and increase the rate of returns students see at four-year public universities. Here, we present an appealing visualization in the form of an application to ensure that students grasp this information to make more informed decisions on school choice. While this is not a full build of the application, it is an exact mockup of how the final product would look visually. The final application gives students an understanding of data that would otherwise be difficult to find and hard to decipher, thus promoting better decision making to improve return on investment.