Posted July 2, 2015

Temple graduates exceed predictions in Brookings report

Joseph V. Labolito
Temple graduates received high marks according to the Brookings Institution’s “Beyond College Rankings” 2015 report.

Temple graduates performed better than expected in midcareer earnings and student-loan repayment according to the Brookings Institution’s “Beyond College Rankings” 2015 report. Temple also scored above expected in occupational earnings power of a typical graduate.

For these ratings, Brookings analyzed a college’s “value-added,” the difference between actual postcollege alumni outcomes—like salary—and the outcomes one would expect given alumni characteristics and the type of institution they attended.

“With this new ratings system, Brookings wanted to level the playing field in college rankings and produce something that says, given the characteristics of your undergraduate student body and your institution, we will predict where we think your alumni should be postgraduation in terms of career earnings and ability to repay student loans, and then compare that to how they actually did,” said Dana Kerr, research analyst in Temple’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

According to the report, Brookings predicted that midcareer earnings of a typical Temple graduate would be $73,366, based on student academic preparation, socio-economic factors, college location and level of degrees offered. But it found that the actual midcareer salary of a Temple graduate is $78,500.

In this category, Temple had a value-added score of +6.8 percent with factors such as curriculum value (the amount earned by people who hold degrees in a specific field), percentage of graduates prepared to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations and alumni skills (the average labor market value of skills listed on graduates’ resumes), as well as Temple’s graduation and retention rates, contributing to the graduates’ actual success over what had been predicted.

“For schools with programs as diverse as Temple’s, this is a good score,” said Kerr.

In the loan-repayment category, Brookings predicted that 91.6 percent of Temple graduates would repay their student loans three years after graduation, while finding that in actuality 94.1 percent of Temple grads repay. The value-added of +2.5 percent was again attributed to Temple’s graduation and retention rates, curriculum value, and STEM orientation.

“This overperformance in student-loan repayment is an indication that our students are graduating on time, getting jobs and getting into their careers faster,” said Kerr. “If they were unemployed three years after graduation, they probably would not be in a position to repay their loans at such a high rate.”

Temple graduates also scored slightly better than expected in occupational earnings power of a typical graduate—$63,308 predicted versus $63,823 actual—with curriculum value, STEM orientation, alumni skills, and graduation and retention rates emerging as contributing factors.