Private college grads faring well
Since the recession started in December 2007, employment rates of college graduates have been a topic of concern. The combination of increasing student loan debt and a bleaker employment outlook has led more people to question the value of a college education. College graduates have fared much better than those without a college degree throughout the recession and the recovery. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from October 2012 show that the U.S. unemployment rate for people under 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 3.8%, versus 6.9% for those with some college or an associate degree and 8.4% for high school graduates with no college.
Each year the Minnesota Private College Council conducts a Recent Graduates Follow-Up Survey to gain a better sense of our graduates’ experiences after graduation. Of those who graduated from a member institution in 2011, 63.4% completed the survey (note that the timing of the survey and the response rate vary by institution).
The graph below displays the percentage of respondents who are employed full-time and the percentage who are pursuing additional education. These numbers are not mutually exclusive — those who are pursuing further education can also be employed full-time. The data show:
- Before 2007, full-time employment was steady at 76-78%
- Full-time employment dropped to 60% in 2009, the deepest part of the recession with the U.S. unemployment rate peaking at 10% in October of that year.
- As full-time employment dropped, part-time employment rates increased from 8% in 2007 to 14% in 2008.
- Full-time employment for 2011 graduates is now 71%.
Many graduates of MPCC member institutions go on to pursue further education directly after graduation:
- Before 2007, the percentage of graduates pursuing additional education ranged from 21 to 25%
- In 2011, a record 31% went on to school, with 80% enrolled full-time and 20% enrolled part-time.
See all results from the Recent Graduates Follow-Up Survey.