Postcollegiate Outcomes Project

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The University of Minnesota Postcollegiate Outcomes (PCO) project tells a more complete story of our graduates' paths after receiving their undergraduate degree by linking multiple non-survey data sources to capture data on a large share of our alumni across the system and across all degree levels. By linking these data sources and integrating them with internal records, we can begin to paint a systemwide portrait of what our graduates are doing for further education and employment 5, 10, and 15 years after leaving the University.

Data Sources
  • Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS)

    Minnesota has developed SLEDS that tracks student data from prekindergarten through completion of secondary and postsecondary education and into the workforce. Workforce data were collected through a collaboration of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE).

    Employment outcomes represent only the graduates who worked in Minnesota as identified in the state’s Unemployment Insurance wage records. About 95 percent of Minnesota businesses report wages to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program. However, people employed by federal agencies, self-employed, or employed in other states are excluded.

  • National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)

    NSC is a nonprofit organization founded by the higher education community in 1993. It offers a variety of reporting, research, verification, transcript, and data exchange services.

    NSC’s StudentTracker is the only nationwide source of college enrollment and degree data. Nearly 3,600 colleges and universities — enrolling over 97% of all students in public and private U.S. institutions — regularly provide  enrollment and graduation data to the Clearinghouse. Through StudentTracker, you can query the participating institutions’ student data on enrollment and degree attainment.

  • University of Minnesota Data Warehouse
    The Data Warehouse is a collection of data which can be used to support the University's operational and decision making processes. These data are organized by subject area (e.g. Financial, Payroll, and Student) and are updated periodically from the University's operational information systems. Student data are subdivided further into Admissions, Enrollment, Graduate School, and Course data.

This report presents findings from the Postcollegiate Outcomes Project, an ongoing study of graduates from the University of Minnesota System. The results draw on internal data paired with data from two external sources: the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

The study employs a cohort-based longitudinal model, where the outcomes of students who received a baccalaureate degree in the calendar year 2007 were tracked over nine years, from 2007 to 2016. By looking at graduates’ further education, employment status, and financial outcomes, this report describes how UMN alumni are establishing themselves in both the early and later stages of their postcollegiate lives.

This report explores postgraduation outcomes of 8,341 baccalaureate students who graduated from the UMN System in the calendar year 2007. Results are presented for the UMN System as well as Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Twin Cities campuses.

UMN Rochester is not included because UMR graduated its first class of undergraduate students in 2013.

Data Governance
Postcollegiate Outcomes Project follows the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program’s data governance policies. PCO reporting principles are also aligned with the University’s Enterprise Data Management & Reporting policies and procedures.

Results for programs with fewer than 10 graduates were aggregated with the results for similar programs within the same department or CLA Corridor.

Cells with fewer than 10 graduates having wages were suppressed to ensure confidentiality.


Award Levels
Award levels are based on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) award levels. The award levels under which completions are reported include:
- Undergraduate certificate (This award level includes three IPEDS award levels: postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of less than 1 academic year; postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of at least 1 but less than 2 academic years; and postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of at least 2 but less than 4 academic years)
- Associate's degree
- Bachelor's degree
- Postbaccalaureate certificate
- Master's degree
- Postmaster's certificate
- Doctor's degree - research/scholarship
- Doctor's degree - professional practice
- Doctor's degree – other

Full-Time Employment
Full-Time Employment is defined as being employed for at least 1,820 hours for a full calendar year, representing an average of 35 hours a week.
(For the definitions of full-time/part-time/greater than full-time employment see Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Full-Time, Part-Time, and Partial Employment Records
Full-Time, Part-Time, and Partial Employment Records include individuals who reenrolled in a postsecondary program after graduation from the University of Minnesota with a baccalaureate degree and had wage records in Minnesota.

Part-Time Employment
Part-Time Employment is defined as being employed for fewer than 1,820 hours for a full calendar year, representing between 1 to 34 hours a week.

Partial Employment Records
Partial Employment Records are defined as individual records that are incomplete: records that have either information about hours worked or information about wages.

Related Resources
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  • Majority live and work in Minnesota. During the 2007 calendar year, 8,341 University of Minnesota students completed a baccalaureate degree. The majority of this cohort stayed in Minnesota, and within the first year of graduation, 81% were employed in MN. Minnesota residency decreases over time, but the majority (61%) are still employed in the state after nine years (2016).  
  • Steady median salary growth over time. For those employed full-time (35 hours or more per week), the median salary within the first year of graduation of $40K rises to $92K in the ninth year after graduation.
  • Demand for further education. By 2016, 35% (n=2,939) of 2007 graduates had earned at least one additional degree/certificate (3,296 total awards), with 1 in 3 earning that additional credential from the University.
  • Highest demand for master’s degrees. The vast majority of these awards (61%) were master’s degrees, with most awarded between 2-5 years after earning a baccalaureate; by the ninth year, 4.8% of the awards were research doctorates and nearly 15.8% (n=521) of the degrees were doctoral professional degrees (e.g., MD, JD).

PCO Project Next Steps:


Continue to raise project awareness across the system

Integrating with systemwide strategic plan, presentations to campus groups

Align with other institutional initiatives

Longitudinal alumni outcome survey

Refine Data Governance

Access provisioning, level of aggregation

Distribute reports

Working with campus groups

Refresh current data sources

SLEDS (2006-19, Q1 2020 UI records): includes expanded employer data, industry, sector; employee location by county

Integrate new data sources

Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes project

–Coordinated by MN Office of Higher Education

–Provides national employment view

–Potential availability for Minnesota in spring/summer 2022

Analyze further research questions

- Outcomes for different student demographic groups

- Field of study analysis for medical/health education careers

- Time series analysis: further education and shift from part- to full-time employment