Graduate Outcomes

ICI partners with the U.S. Census Bureau on Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes Initiative

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” 

– Benjamin Franklin

Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) is the first private college association in the country to join the U.S. Census Bureau’s Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) initiative, providing unassailable, longer-term data on the value of undergraduate degrees. ICI’s participation marks the most comprehensive alumni study ever undertaken on private college alumni.

The resulting data allows ICI and member colleges to tell much more complete stories about their degrees’ values. The data shows:

  • Alumni across institutions enter industries with strong upward mobility potential, the most common industries of which are healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, education, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • Academic major influences starting salary with graduates from computer and information science, engineering, and the health sciences (particularly nursing) earning the highest starting salaries.

Currently, 19 of ICI’s member institutions have joined the U.S. Census Bureau’s Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) initiative, which matches alumni records to the Bureau’s jobs database. This incredibly robust database includes records on 96 percent of jobs in the U.S.[1]

The study provides median salaries by major at one, five, and 10 years post-graduation. Additionally, employment flow data is provided. Specifically, the industries and regions of the country where certain majors work are now available.

So far, graduates from ICI member institutions during fall 2012 through December 2015 were matched with Census employment records. The results yielded one-year and five-year post-graduation salary and employment flow data and can be found here. The available data will increase with further releases later this year. [2]




  • Healthcare and social assistance is the industry in which the largest number of ICI baccalaureate alumni enter. Over a quarter (26%) of all alumni employed one year after graduation are in the health sector. Strong campus relationships to health institutions are important as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this field will see a 15 percent increase in employees from 2019–2029.[3]
  • Manufacturing receives the second largest number of ICI graduates. Twelve percent of baccalaureate graduates work for manufacturing companies one year after graduation. ICI colleges, particularly in northern Indiana, place significant numbers of graduates into this field. Indiana ranks first for the proportion of gross state product accounted for by manufacturing.[4] ICI alumni with business, engineering, and other backgrounds are serving a field that is vital to the Hoosier economy.
  • Education (10%) and professional, scientific, and technical services (e.g., accounting, consulting, engineering, scientific research, computer systems design) (8%) are the industries with the third and fourth largest proportions of ICI alumni respectively.




Majors With Highest Starting Salaries

  • Similar to the national trend, [5] the ICI baccalaureate majors whose alumni earn the highest starting salaries are computer and information science, engineering, and health professions (driven largely by nursing).[6] The median starting salaries for graduates from these academic programs vary by institution and are within the ranges below.
    • Computer and information science: $36,560-$84,653. [7]
    • Engineering: $49,605-$64,967.
    • Health professions: $22,455-$59,144.
      • Nursing: $39,876-$61,589.

Liberal Arts Graduates

  • Students in the social sciences, humanities, and physical sciences also see significant returns on their degrees. Those returns tend to occur later in their careers. [8] Even so, the Census PSEO data show alumni receiving reasonable returns immediately. They also enter industries with strong upward mobility potential.
    • Median one-year out salaries for social science alumni range from $26,977 to $39,489 depending on ICI institution.
      • Top three industries: healthcare, public administration, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
    • Median one-year out salaries for English alumni range from $26,739 to $41,789.
      • Top three industries: education; professional, scientific, and technical services; and healthcare.
    • Median one-year out salaries for physical sciences alumni range from $26,353 to $39,009.
      • Top three industries: manufacturing; professional, scientific, and technical services; and administrative and support fields (e.g., office administration).

Though the data is very specific in matching graduates with jobs and salaries, their data is well-protected. The U.S. Census Bureau’s “state-of-the-art formal privacy disclosure avoidance methods” allow for aggregate salary and employment data to be released without compromising alumni privacy.

Each new ICI graduating class will add to the Census Bureau’s employment outcome data making it a richer and more accurate predictor of employment success. The data will help students and their families see more clearly how an ICI college education leads to successful employment in a variety of fields.




Project Contact Information

Jake Docking, Director of Policy and Research | 317-236-6085


Media Contact Information

Jen Zentz, Director of Strategic Communications | 317-236-6082 (office)


[1] U.S. Census Bureau. Longitudinal employer-household dynamics: Post-secondary employment outcomes (PSEO) help and documentation. Source available here.

[2] 2016-2018 graduates’ 1-year data and 2013-2015 graduates’ 5-year measures will be released in late-2021.

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare occupations. Source available here.

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics [data] as cited in National Association of Manufacturers. (2019). “Manufacturing’s share of gross state product.”

[5] U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard [data] as cited in Somers, D. and Moody, J. (2020). “10 college majors with the best starting salaries.”

[6] As determined by the ICI academic programs comprising the top-10 median starting salaries. These ten positions were filled entirely by academic programs in these three major categories.

[7] Salaries are in 2016 dollars.

[8] See Supiano, B. (2014). “How liberal-arts majors fare over the long haul.” Chronicle for Higher Education.