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April 22, 2010 Volume 31, No. 28

Life after Mizzou

Students on campus

The few short years that students spend at MU can seem fleetingly transitory but the impact of a college education lasts a lifetime. The Office of Enrollment Management tracks past graduates’ employment and further education. Rob Hill photo

Destination study

Annual survey tracks graduates’ employment and further study

A college education from MU has a lifetime impact on the students who study and live here — not only in potential earnings but in their quality of life and in career opportunities. Although that impact is lasting, the few short years students spend here can seem fleetingly transitory.

Many faculty and staff are left with a basic question: How did they do in life? What happened to the bright young man who was a work-study student in our office five years ago? Did the creative young lady who sat in the first row of class achieve her dreams?

Mizzou can’t track individual students that closely, but since fall 2001, the Division of Enrollment Management has conducted what it calls the “destination study” that tracks the employment and further academic careers of its graduates.

The most recent destination study was released recently that covered graduates in fall 2008 and spring and summer 2009 semesters. It showed that even in a dismal economy Mizzou students are faring relatively well. The survey response rate was the highest ever with 61 percent of MU graduates from that time period taking the survey.

There was a 3 percent increase in the number of students continuing with graduate education, 31 percent compared with 28 percent last year. Average full-time beginning salaries for all graduates were down 3 percent, $42,400 compared to $43,600 last year. There was an increase of 5 percent of those who remained in Missouri upon graduation — up to 69 percent from 64 percent the year before.

Undergraduates who received the highest average beginning salaries were in engineering ($50,900), health professions ($44,500), nursing ($43,9000 and business ($38,100). The average beginning salary for graduate school students was $46,800. According to the survey, 82 percent of students who responded and were employed worked in a field related to their degree. 

The survey data is broken down further by school and college division. It is available online at the Enrollment Management website at Click on “Reports and Data.”