Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Dan Bellenger

Second Advisor

Wes Johnston

Third Advisor

Todd Maurer


This paper has as its focus the identification of economic returns to stakeholders of investment in human capital as it pertains to attainment of post-secondary education in the US. The centerpiece of this study pertains to returns to prospective employers in a 21st century environment, which demands of the labor market rapid adaptation to technology and it’s applications. With dynamic demands from employers as a backdrop, this paper seeks to determine if the benefit of post-secondary education is becoming more or less relevant from the perspective of the employer. A qualitative approach comprised of in-depth interviews of employers has been conducted. In particular learnings from those employers regarding their views of the importance of technology and what impacts if any this has on expectations of post-secondary institutional curriculums. The second stakeholder, the student, has been considered via a cost benefit analysis based upon expected earning differentials for the student group who has chosen to pursue a post-secondary education versus those who have not. Earnings have been quantified and extrapolated over the lifetime of defined student groups and compared to the actual cost of college with considerations for occupational differentials, in order to determine the net value of a college education to a student. This information has provided the basis for understanding the value of post-secondary education to the third stakeholder, the government. Projected income taxes for selected occupational groups have been calculated and compared based on the net present value of these lifetime earnings. The differential revenues that accrue to federal agencies via these taxes has been compared to the costs associated with attending post-secondary education. With this information in hand, conclusions have been made regarding policy implications for federal subsidies of post-secondary education.