University of Maryland Baltimore

Creating an Affordability Tool to Benchmark Graduates’ Outcomes

University of Maryland Baltimore


As Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) prepares its graduate students to be the next generation of global health professionals. Seeking to fulfill a strategic goal of ensuring accessible academic programs to scholars of all races, ethnicities, and income levels, UMB undertook an expansive research project to help answer a unique question: Are UMB grad programs affordable for the individual students they serve?”

Read the case study to learn how UMB partnered with HelioCampus to devise a first-of-its-kind, data-rich way to evaluate the true affordability of a UMB education.

"This project went way beyond the nuts and-bolts of hiring an IT company to help run data. HelioCampus understands the landscape of higher
education, and so they were able to look at the findings through a policy perspective. That’s incredibly rare."

Gregory C. Spengler, MPA

Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, University of Maryland Baltimore

The goals of the partnership were to:

  • Develop a model of affordability, particularly in the context of
    professional programs;
  • Gather and integrate available data to show historical debt and repayment trends;
  • Develop a tool to estimate what affordability might look like to a diverse range of current and prospective UMB students.

Key variables analyzed included:

  •  Academic program;
  • Occupational wage comparisons – nationally and in surrounding Maryland regions;
  • Salary benchmarks;
  • Percent of a graduate’s discretionary income used for repaying debt;
  • How many years it took to repay educational costs.

And the results were... 

Read the Case Study