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The Positive ROI of Graduate Outcomes Data

Steppingblocks Explains The Positive ROI of Graduate Outcomes Data

At the turn of the millennium, Friends Reunited became an internet phenomenon. It was a precursor to Facebook and Instagram, allowing users to reconnect with old college pals. But this website served another purpose: Users could gauge how well their fellow alumni had done since graduation by snooping their virtual profiles, which listed what jobs they now had and what cars they drove.

It was a way to determine graduate outcomes — whether that college degree had really paid off. 

Today, Friends Reunited is no more, and graduate outcomes data provides a far more accurate reflection of post-college success. Students browse this data when comparing colleges that provide the most successful career prospects. Higher education institutions can also use this data to improve enrollment, enhance completion rates and secure funding opportunities.

How are you exploring graduate outcomes data?

What is graduate outcomes data?

You can leverage graduate outcomes data to demonstrate alumni success in various career fields after graduation. Use this data to improve student outcomes, secure additional funding sources based on these outcomes and overcome any barriers to student success.

Graduate outcomes data might include metrics like:

  • The average earnings of graduates at certain milestones after completing a program at your institution.
  • The percentage of graduates who are employed in their chosen field or who are pursuing advanced degrees.
  • The average time to complete a program.
  • The average program completion rates.

Tracking graduate outcomes can be done at the institution level or by governing bodies such as the state. For example, there are multiple metrics tracked by the State University System of Florida. 

Why is graduate outcomes data a worthwhile investment?

Investing in graduate outcomes data provides institutions with the context necessary to explore the successes of their graduates. Leveraging outcomes data can help your institution by:

1. Improving time to degree

Students gain insights into post-graduate career and learning opportunities that might arise from a program at your institution. This prevents students from changing majors late into their career — a key indicator of extended graduation time. Helping students understand the tangible outcomes of their degree helps keep them on track.

2. Increasing retention and enrollment numbers

You can use graduate outcomes data to increase enrollment at your institution, which leads to additional tuition and fee revenues. Retention programs lead to higher ROI than recruiting new students.

3. Strengthening alumni engagement and giving

Encourage more donations from graduates by proving the success of your programs.

4. Enhancing employer relationships

Use alumni employment and skills data to improve partnerships with employers.

1. Improving time to degree

The time to complete a degree — 3.3 and 5.1 years, on average, for associate and bachelor degree earners, respectively — is a barometer of student success, but many factors influence these timeframes. Students who change their major, transfer to a different college, enroll in courses that don't count toward the completion of a program, or take a leave of absence from your institution can increase the average time to degree. Sometimes, these circumstances can harm a student's success. For example, changing a major can lengthen the total spent in college, resulting in financial implications for a student. Increased debt can lead to attrition and negatively impact metrics that could reflect negatively for future students.

Fast Facts: What are the most searched majors in 2021?

Graduate outcomes data can improve time to degree by promoting the benefits of continuing with a program. Students gain unparalleled insights into the career and learning opportunities available to them when they graduate. These insights help students select a major and "stay on track." As a result, you can retain more students, provide better learning experiences, and direct students to spend more time on high impact practices like internships.

2. Increasing retention and enrollment numbers

Graduate outcomes data provides immediate and transparent value to programs at your institution. You can add this data to pages on your website to promote successful alumni outcomes and boost enrollment numbers in the future. 

You can also increase enrollment by incorporating graduate outcomes data into college prospectuses, marketing campaigns and social media posts. Both parents and prospective students can view this data. Did you know: Georgia State University generates around $3.3 million per year in further tuition and fee income every time it improves its retention rate by one percent?Georgia State University Entrprenuership

Georgia State University College to Career for Entrepreneurship majors.

3. Strengthening alumni engagement and giving

Use graduate outcomes data to encourage donations and engagement from alumni. Do this by incorporating data into fundraising campaigns and graduate outreach programs when engaging with former students

For even more effective results, integrate segmented data based on targeted alumni groups into outreach initiatives. For example, prove the effectiveness of an accounting program at your institution when raising funds from high-earning accounting graduates. You can also structure outreach programs based on specific outcomes data. This approach increases the likelihood of your alumni responding to your outreach efforts. 

4. Enhancing employer relationships

Graduate outcomes data results in better relationships with employers. Use this data to engage with companies interested in partnering with your institution and strengthen long-term connections with organizations that typically hire graduates from your programs. You can also use data to increase employment opportunities for current students by attracting new employers to different programs. Organizations might hire more students from your institution when they view successful graduate outcomes data. 

Final word

Graduate outcomes data is a worthwhile investment that could improve time to degree, increase enrollment, promote greater alumni giving and enhance relationships with employers. Schools, universities, community colleges and other learning institutions can use this data to promote student and institutional success. 

Get a FREE graduate outcomes report from Steppingblocks now.

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