As someone who has gone through the college process more than once (undergraduate and now graduate), I can tell you that there is a lot of research that goes into picking the right school. My generation comes from the baby boomers, a lot of our parents may have little to no college experience because it was not required of them. As society has changed through the years, a college education is not only expected but required.
In the state of Virginia, there are fifteen public colleges or universities. When you are 17-years-old and are excited about starting a new chapter in your life and being on your own for the first time – how much money you will be making after college is not the first thought that comes to mind. Being that young, the trials of adulthood have not set in yet. The normal college student has their parents pay for school, they are on a scholarship or they take out loans (which they do not have to see until they are six months out of college). The gravity of your career choice and the debt looming over your head does not set in (at least for me, it didn’t) until the last semester of undergrad. The urgency to find a job in an unstable economy made the anxiety even worse. Luckily I chose a career that is versatile, but not everyone knows exactly what he or she wants to do. Many people go to college study in a specific field and 60 percent cannot find a fulltime job in their field after graduation.
The Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) is working to obtain information about students throughout their lifetime within the state in which they reside. This information will help launch demographic insight to the best schools within the state. This has created some fear among the school systems,which if certain information is released students will not want to apply to their schools. Instead of fear, this should provide a challenge to better their education system and provide the best so that their students can receive the best.
Already, VLDS has released reports stating future earnings of Virginia college/university graduates. This information may help many upcoming college students narrow their focus when looking at universities. VLDS is planning on narrowing the focus even more by obtaining information that lists which degrees make the most money and from which college/university. This information then gets complied into reports that list the average income 18 months out of school and then five years out of school. Colleges/Universities may be hesitant about this information being released because application rates may drop but this would provide a better picture for applicants who are looking for make the smartest decision for their future.
The number of graduates who come out of college with more the $24k in debt is a startling 59 percent. This short video explains the future of college graduates with the current economic state and what the future may hold.
This information could be key to upcoming college students who are looking to make smarter decisions. These reports were not easily accessible before and if all of this information is in one place it could mean a more stability and a better financial future for college graduates.