Robert Sheets

Robert Sheets

Robert Sheets

Research Professor


805 21st Street NW Washington DC 20052

Robert Sheets conducts research related to education, workforce development, and economic development policy as well as labor market and education and workforce data systems.   He is currently conducting research on innovation in higher education, student loan systems, labor market credentialing systems, and next generation workforce development policy including labor market and workforce information systems.

Robert G. and Stephen Crawford, Rethinking Higher Education Business Models, a Policy Brief published by the Center for American Progress, March 28, 2012

Sheets, Robert G. and Stephen Crawford, “Harnessing the Power of Information Technology: Open Business Models in Higher Education,” EDUCAUSE Review: March/April, 2012.

Sheets, Robert G. and Stephen Crawford, “Creating Institutional Space for Business Model Innovation,” Continuing Higher Education Review: Volume 77, 2013.

Sheets, Robert G. and Stephen Crawford, "From Income-based Repayment Plans to an Income-based Loan System" a white paper commissioned by Lumina Foundation and released April 14, 2014, and being published in the journal Economics, Management, and Financial Markets in 2015.

Crawford, Stephen and Robert G. Sheets, “Managing Risk, Reaping Reward: The Case for a Comprehensive Income-Based Student Loan System,” a chapter in Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability, edited by Andrew Kelly and Sara Goldrick-Rab (Harvard Education Press, forthcoming).

Crawford, Stephen and Robert G. Sheets, ‘Creating and Communicating Critical Information about Workforce Credentials,” a chapter in Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century, edited by Carl E. Van Horn, Todd Greene, and Tammy Edwards (Upjohn Institute Press, 2015).

Income-based Student Loan Systems. Sheets and Stephen Crawford at GWIPP recently completed the first round of research exploring income-based student loan systems through funding from Lumina Foundation. This project reviewed leading international income-contingent models (e.g., Australia) and research in student loan defaults and postsecondary education returns, behavioral economics and financial risk management. This research resulted in a series of papers and publications exploring a more comprehensive, income-based loan system designed to improve economic affordability and value so more students can access one or more affordable student loans and repay these loans without financial hardship over their working lives.  In this system, student loan decisions and policies would be tied to expected or actual income throughout the loan cycle -- from student guidance and loan origination to loan management while in college and final repayment after completing a college program.  This first round of research has implications for federal student loan policy reforms including variable loan caps and risk sharing between students, institutions and federal loan systems.

Improving Transparency and Trust in Labor Market Credentialing.  Sheets and Stephen Crawford at GWIPP are working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on a major initiative, funded by Lumina Foundation, to improve the quality, transparency, trustworthiness of labor market credentials by developing national, voluntary standards for describing credentials. These public-private standards are used to develop and publish comparable information for all types of credentials on a national credentialing registry. These credentials include educational degrees and certificates, industry certifications, as well as micro-credentials such as badges. Voluntary consensus standards also are used to develop and publish comparable information on accreditation and recognition systems that accredit and endorse these credentials to improve trust in the marketplace. This project also is exploring wider implications for how the American voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment community coordinated through ANSI could be further used to improve labor markets in the United States.

Talent Pipeline Management. Sheets is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to explore a new approach to talent pipeline management based on leading research and practice in supply chain management, human resource management and workforce development. The first phase of this initiative will produce a white paper on a new approach to talent pipeline management and conduct regional roundtables and a national conference to discuss this new approach.