In the midst of economic stagnation and with unemployment rising, it is surprising to see colleges like Ferris State University in Michigan which displays unbelievably high job placement rates of 97-98%.
Ms. Salomonson, who is the dean of enrollment department in Ferris State, admits that making conclusions, based on extremely low levels of response from their graduates, is wrong. However, such statistics help to attract more students to college.
This situation is quite common for educational institutions of all kinds: in order to attract students, universities sometimes provide information which is far from being accurate. The reliability of such data has been more than once questioned by many but the problem still exists. Researchers say that graduation surveys simply cannot be relied upon for there are no official standards or regulations to control the process.
It means that every university and college can decide for themselves what kind of placement survey to make and whether to make it at all. The data provided by universities cannot be compared for in some colleges over a half of graduates fail to respond to universities’ destination reviews, others do it immediately after leaving college or within a 6-month period and there are those who even do not specify if their current job is related to their career fields.
Parents and students can only make their choice if they possess full job placement information which in its’ turn can be obtained through high response rates. On average, most universities have response rates of about 50% and less. Those colleges which have higher response rates use different ways to get this data. They track their students online on such networking sites as Facebook or LinkedIn; gather this information from professors, who may know what their students are doing. It results in 80% response rates.
However, even with 100% response rates this data cannot be called unbiased. Many college graduates fail to mention in their destination reviews how their positions relate to their education field. Some students report having a perspective job but forget to say it is a part-time job or even internship.
In 2008 The Government officially obliged all high education institutions to provide accurate and full information about their job placement rates to those students who demand it. For-profit educational establishments also have to report this information to the Department of Education on a yearly basis.
The Obama Administration introduced a new system aimed at comparing college tuition fees with students’ earning potential. However, without removing the existing data limitations no such information could be 100% accountable and reliable.