February 14, 2000

Contact: Philip Bransford, 503-725-5717
Source: Nancy Goldschmidt, 541-346-5747

Graduates Credit Oregon's Public Universities for Career Preparation

EUGENE - Graduates from Oregon's public universities overwhelmingly credit their undergraduate alma maters for helping to prepare them for their careers. That is one finding in a recent survey of 3,500 people throughout the United States who earned bachelor's degrees from campuses in the Oregon University System between 1988 and 1993.

Almost nine in ten OUS graduates surveyed said they use what they learned in college to do their current jobs. More than seven in ten rated the education they received at the OUS institution from which they earned a degree as "very good" and higher. And 85 percent said they would "select the same institution again."

The survey is part of a statewide effort by the University System to measure the performance of Oregon's public universities under several broad categories, including quality and the employability of graduates. Results from the survey are to be presented to the State Board of Higher Education at its next regular meeting this Friday in Eugene.

The survey also found that 78 percent of respondents were employed full time, 11 percent were employed part time and nearly all of the remainder chose not to work for pay. Of those employed, 70 percent said they lived and worked in Oregon, with 15 percent in either Washington state or California.

Two-thirds of the jobs held by the survey respondents were in a particular professional specialty or in an executive-managerial position. The top three sectors of employment included 48 percent in private industry, 22 percent in public or private education and 12 percent in state, local or federal government.

Other findings from the survey include:
  • The median annual income of students who graduated five to ten years ago from an Oregon public university is nearly $40,000-roughly the same median earnings found nationally for bachelor's degree holders.
  • One-third of the survey respondents reported earning an advanced degree in the five to ten years after graduating from a public university in Oregon; most of these were master's degrees.

Respondents were selected randomly from campus records by the Gilmore Research Group of Portland. Interviews for the survey where conducted between March and May of 1999. The sampling error for findings using the entire survey sample was plus or minus 1.6 percent.

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