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University of Florida Pledges Transparency Through Graduation Survey

July 28, 2013 - 6:00pm

Sometimes the answers arent so clear about just where college graduates end up after they leave college. But at the University of Florida, students will get a good idea of employment outcomes thanks to a new graduate survey report created by the university.

The survey, conducted by the University of Floridas Career Resource Center, boasted a 99.97 percent response rate for the 2012-2013 academic year, highest in the state.

Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, universities across the state will be required to gather and report data about the employment status of their graduating students. The data will include the top 25 percent of degrees reported by the university in terms of highest full-time job placement and highest average annualized earnings in the year after earning the degree. Data will also include the bottom 10 percent of degrees reported by the university in terms of lowest full-time job placement and lowest average annualized earnings in the year after earning the degree.

That means state universities in Florida will be reporting their employment outcomes, for better or for worse. And while the Board of Governors isnt yet officially requiring a report of employment data for all universities in the state, the University of Florida is one step ahead of the game -- its already accumulated data for a whopping 99.7 percent of its graduates in both its undergraduate and graduate programs for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Starting in December, the Department of Economic Opportunity will be working on obtaining employment reports and earning outcomes for degrees earned at state universities in Florida. This data will include earnings of graduates as well as the employment information of graduates five years after they leave a state university.

As the request for data continued to come in, the graduation survey became mandatory, said Janet Glover, who works as the associate director for employer relations at UF.

UF was able to capture students post-graduation employment data through a mandatory graduation survey for its students. Beginning in August 2012, students at UF were required to complete the survey so they could graduate. If the students didnt fill out the survey, a hold would be placed on their account, and theyd be unable to walk at graduation.

The data from the survey paints a telling picture for the Gator nation -- 82 percent of undergraduate students who graduated in the fall said their primary activity would be part-time/full-time employment after they left the university.

Around half of the graduating students at UF indicated theyd secured a job prior to graduating.

Most undergraduate students end up working in Florida, with the health care/medical field and engineering being the most popular industries for undergrad employment. Business, art, design, entertainment, sports, and media were also popular industries for Gator grads.

The data, according to Glover, is important not only for students but also for parents, as well.

This data gives some concrete information to support what we already know about UF and our students and programs, she said. We are excited to be able to have it.

UF isnt alone in its efforts to ramp up employment data reporting. Florida State University also added a mandatory graduation survey for outgoing seniors, with 95 percent of spring graduates reporting their post-graduate employment plans.

Most of FSUs graduates obtained employment in the marketing, education, and hospitality industries, and over 54 percent of students had one or more employment offers before they left the university. Unlike UF's report, FSUs does not include graduate school data.

Glover says the availability of data is a good sign for students and for the university, but the datas impact goes well beyond the student and the university. UF hopes that their data will not only be beneficial to their own students and Gator families, but will also compel other universities to follow suit with employment reporting, making schools more transparent and more attractive to potential students.

I think the data weve been able to track, as well as the ability to move this process forward so quickly, is reinforcing why UF is so good in this state, Glover said. I think [the data] will tell the story of the university, and it will enhance rates of a student getting a job and a return on their investment.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at

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