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CU-Boulder 1998 Alumni One-Year-Out Survey

Background
CCHE (the Colorado Commission on Higher Education) requires institutions to survey undergraduate and graduate alumni who had received degrees one year prior. CCHE provides some question wording and a specified format for reporting labor-force results.

In spring of 1998 CU-Boulder's Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis surveyed a sample of bachelors and post-bachelors recipients who graduated between summer 1996 and spring 1997. The one-page, self-mailing questionnaire consists of seven questions about current employment, further education, and satisfaction with degree program.

Cautions
Survey respondents represent only about 30% of degree recipients, and we cannot judge how nonrespondents might differ from those who did respond. In addition, we have good reason to believe that many CU-Boulder alumni do not settle into their eventual employment, or even start to pursue further study, until more than one year after graduation. This is characteristic of any university with large numbers of students in liberal arts as opposed to professional fields. We therefore urge great caution in interpreting the results reported here.

CCHE-Requested Results

  • Satisfaction with degree program:
    97% of bachelors and 98% of post-bachelors degree recipients report that their CU-Boulder program of study had "definitely" or "somewhat" met their educational goals. This is a CCHE-specified question; see table of satisfaction results.
  • Labor force status, bachelors recipients:
    Of students receiving bachelors degrees in academic year 1996-97
    • 24% were engaged in further study, and 97% of the others were employed or voluntarily unemployed
    • 84% of those employed said that their CU-Boulder program had helped them get or keep a job
  • Labor force status, post-bachelors recipients:
    Of students receiving masters, doctoral, or law degrees in academic year 1996-97
    • 17% were engaged in further study, and 94% of the others were employed or voluntarily unemployed
    • 93% of those employed said that their CU-Boulder program had helped them get or keep a job

    See table of labor force results reported in CCHE-specified format.

Other Results -- Not Requested by CCHE
Tables showing additional results are presented in a separate section. In each table, respondents not answering a question are excluded. Results for bachelors, post-bachelors, and all alumni are shown for the following items:

  • Question 2: the educational program they are enrolled in or admitted to (e.g., business, law)
  • Question 3: when those currently employed full-time (=30 hours/week) obtained their jobs:
    • 44% of bachelors recipients and 53% of post-bachelors recipients had jobs by graduation
  • Question 4: the relationship between respondents' field of current employment and their degree
    • 93% of bachelors and 99% of post-bachelors recipients are in the same field, a related field, or a different field by choice.

Population, sample and response rates
The population consisted of all degree recipients who graduated during the specified period. Our "survey population" was recipients for whom the alumni foundation had purportedly current addresses on file; this is approximately 90% of all degree recipients. We sampled roughly equal numbers of bachelors (n=816) and post-bachelors (n=785) degree recipients from the survey population.

Even though the alumni foundation addresses were considered current, the proportion of mailings returned with unknown addresses was quite high, especially for the bachelors recipients (17%, versus 9% for graduate alumni). For this reason, we present the response rate as the percentage of the undergraduate and graduate samples with known good addresses -- i.e., those whose mailed questionnaires were not returned to us by the post office

Questionnaires were mailed on March 9, 1998. A reminder postcard was sent to all sample members four days later, and a re-mail of the questionnaire was sent to non-respondents four weeks after the initial mailing. This method achieved an overall response rate of 29% for the undergraduate alumni and 32% for the graduate alumni, which is approximately 10 percentage points lower than what we would have expected from experience, given the two follow-ups. This leads us to suspect that the proportion with bad addresses may be even larger than that determined from post office returns.

See the table of population, sample and response rates.

Return to summary of state-requested indicators

L:\IR\CCHE\QIS98\CC1.TXW -- July 14, 1998
Written by Cathy Kerry and Lou McClelland

Last revision 07/12/02


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