Graduate Outcomes

Reporting of post-graduation outcomes, including earnings of graduates, is increasingly expected of colleges and universities nationwide. There is interest on the part of current and future students and their families, legislators, policy makers, and the general public about understanding the value of a college education. Until recently there were no comprehensive, consistent, and verified sources of earnings data beyond self-reported salary collected at graduation in “first destination” surveys. UW-Madison is participating in multiple efforts to evaluate newer and more comprehensive sources of earnings and other outcome information.

Graduate Earnings

Use the links below to learn about the earnings of UW-Madison graduates 1, 5 and 10 years after graduation.

Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) Project

The Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) Project, within the U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program, provides participating colleges and universities with aggregate median earnings data for graduates 1, 5 and 10 years post graduation. Participation in the PSEO project is facilitated by the Institute for Research on Innovation & Science (IRIS) at the University of Michigan which acts as a conduit between the U.S. Census Bureau and the participating college/university.

UW-Madison joined the PSEO project in 2017. Aggregate earnings of graduates obtained through participation in this project were first released in April 2019.

The earnings data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program covers over 96% of employment in the United States and includes all full-time and part-time annual W-2 earnings from employment that is covered by state unemployment insurance programs. Certain graduates will not have reported earnings from this earnings data source including graduates who are not working for U.S companies, graduates who are working for U.S. companies/entities but not for an employer who is covered by state unemployment insurance, and graduates who appear to only be partially attached to the labor market based on not having earnings in at least two quarters of the year or not earning at least the annual equivalent of full-time work at the prevailing minimum wage.

Aggregate earnings are available for graduates at all degree levels (bachelors, masters, research doctorate, clinical doctorate) and for different majors (though majors are often grouped together to maintain the privacy of earnings data when there are small numbers of graduates). Earnings are reported for around 70% of UW-Madison graduates using this data source.

Examples of the types of reporting that is expected of colleges and universities nationwide and UW-Madison specifically, include:

Graduate Outcomes: Systematic and comprehensive data about alumni in the years after they graduate

At UW-Madison we are working on providing the University community with systematic and comprehensive data resources on the lives of graduates. Questions of interest include:

  • Are graduates employed?
  • How much are they earning?
  • Where do they live? Do they stay in Wisconsin?
  • Do bachelor’s graduates go to graduate or professional school?
  • Is college a good investment?
  • Does a UW-Madison education contribute to social mobility?

See also summary of Student Outcome data here: https://apir.wisc.edu/students/student-outcome-data/