St. Olaf Uses Data To Argue Its Worth

Ann McClure's picture

Go to St. Olaf College's website and you'll see what the 2011 graduates are up to. Not just that one star who snagged the job at General Mills or the three now studying at Yale University. Most of them.

The college is now publishing detailed employment and salary data for the 92 percent of 2011 graduates who could be surveyed or otherwise found. Click on students who majored in environmental studies and find out where the 19 of them are working or studying, whether they're employed part time or full time, how many of them are in AmeriCorps.

"This is our answer to the question: Is a liberal-arts degree good for anything other than personal fulfillment?" David Anderson, the college's president, said in an online video.

The site, which went live last week, goes "way beyond what other colleges are sharing," Anderson said. In March, a spokeswoman for the Council of Independent Colleges agreed, saying that its president and researcher had never heard of a nonprofit, private college making such data public.

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