December 18, 2000

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714
Nancy Goldschmidt, 541-346-5747

Oregon University Grads Highly Satisfied, Prepared for Future

PORTLAND - One year out of college, graduates of Oregon's public universities are finding themselves well prepared for the future.

Fully 97 percent of the respondents in a new study conducted by the Oregon University System reported overall success. Eighty percent are employed, more than 12 percent are pursuing additional higher education and 5 percent reported working inside the home or retired. Only 3 percent reported being unemployed or seeking work.

Plus, 91 percent rate their education at one state's seven public schools "excellent" or "good," with more of three of four saying they'd select the same school for their college education again.

Surveyed were 1,245 of the approximately 9,600 bachelor's degree graduates across the state's seven public universities in 1998-99. The graduates were asked to share information about their employment status, abilities as graduates, and satisfaction as higher education consumers. They gave high marks in all areas.

Of those employed, 77 percent found jobs in Oregon while another 15 percent reported working in either Washington or California. Thirteen percent reported speaking a language other than English in their workplace.

"OUS bachelor's graduates report that their education has helped them gain newfound skills and competencies," said Nancy Goldschmidt, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Ninety percent or more of the respondents reported increased skills in the areas of problem-solving and critical thinking and oral and written communication.

"Slightly fewer (85 percent) felt they gained confidence in their chosen fields, suggesting the need to build stronger linkages to the workplace through internship and other related practical experiences.

According to Goldschmidt, approximately 50 percent received practical experience through their college course of study.

"The Oregon University System is working on increasing that proportion and making practical experience a standard feature within a bachelor's-level program of study," she said. "The need to increase practical experience within the curriculum is confirmed by survey respondents."

As consumers, 77 percent said they would select their alma mater again if they had to choose where to study for a higher education. Thirty-six percent rated their education as "excellent" and 55 percent rated it "good." Only a little more than 9 percent rated their college experience "fair" or "poor."

The new study is the third of its kind done by OUS to quantify student outcomes and satisfaction. Previous studies were reported in 1997 and 1999.

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