February 21, 2013
In response to Fred Zimmerman’s Feb. 18 Star Tribune story “Education customers deserve a positive return,” Capella University President Scott Kinney sent the letter below. The letter ran in the Opinion section today.
Graduate income is a helpful data set
In “Education customers deserve a positive return” (Business Forum, Feb. 18), Fred Zimmerman asks: “Are our customers making any money?”
That’s an excellent question. And I’d like to add: “If so, how will we know?”
Historically, the only tool for colleges and universities to understand the earnings of their graduates has been self-reported alumni surveys. Now, as a result of the federal government’s release of income data for the graduates of hundreds of institutions, any potential student who wants to get an MBA in finance can know exactly what graduates from that program earned on average, which in the case of Capella University for the 2010 tax year is $95,459.
The problem is that this kind of data has been made available only for a limited number of colleges. The federal government, or even the state of Minnesota, could take a significant step to help consumers by making this data available on a voluntary basis to any institution seeking the income data of its graduates on a program-by-program basis.