New Book Turns Lens on Online Education’s ROI Imperative

October 25, 2022

‘Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education’ explores process for shifting to an ROI mindset amid pressure for higher ed to prove value and relevance

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, October 25, 2022 — Higher education has rarely employed return on investment (ROI) methodology in strategic planning for online education. This may be about to change. A new book suggests the time has come for higher education to adopt an ROI mindset as it is compelled to prove the value and relevance of online education. “Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education: A Process for Institutional Transformation,” published by Stylus Publishing, LLC, in association with UPCEA (the University Professional and Continuing Education Association), is a collection of 15 chapters by 18 authors who explore how to plan for and evaluate the investment institutions make into online learning.

“If there was ever a moment and a market for this comprehensive how-to guide to online education, this is it,” said Paul J. LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, in the foreword to the book. “Online education is no longer new, nor disruptive; but it has needed this book and the wisdom and guidance of its contributors, all veterans, leaders, and thinkers in online education. ROI is now the standard by which institutions and programs are to be judged, a consumer protection metric focused on the ratio of student debt to earnings.”

Book cover - title: Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education: A Process for Institutional Transformation; Edited by Kathleen S. Ives and Deborah M. Seymour, Foreword by Paul J. LeBlancThe book demonstrates how ROI is a critical tool for strategic planning and outlines the process for determining ROI. It examines ROI through four perspectives: institutional strategy, the implications for constituents involved in the field, ROI models, and understanding the social and strategic planning contexts of online learning.

The book’s expert contributors lay the foundation for developing new practices to meet the compelling challenges of online education. They also identify new models that offer the potential for transforming the educational system, meeting new workforce demands, and ultimately improving the economy.

“The authors provide a comprehensive and cutting-edge treatment of ROI for those focused on assessing the value add of their institution’s online learning programs,” said Robert J. Hansen, chief executive officer of UPCEA. “Collectively, the authors pave the way for readers to become more adept at analyzing the processes and initiatives necessary for online programs to be managed with agility and effectiveness.”

The book offers presidents and senior administrators, faculty engaged in shared governance, online learning administrators, and stakeholders representing student, community, and employer interests a rigorous process for developing an online strategy. It is also a useful resource for higher education policy professionals, investors in online education programs and technology to advance employability, and anyone interested in the future of higher education and online learning.

“Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education: A Process for Institutional Transformation” was co-edited by Kathleen S. Ives, D.M., senior vice president of engagement at UPCEA and Deborah M. Seymour, Ph.D., owner and principal of Higher Education Innovation Consulting, LLC.



“Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education: A Process for Institutional Transformation,” 260 pages, is available now in paperback, hardback, library e-book, and e-book (ePub) formats from Stylus Publishing. Learn more and purchase here.



UPCEA is the association for online and professional continuing education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The association supports its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Visit


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