“We owe it to potential students, we owe it to businesses who might recruit our students, to be able to say something with statistical confidence about the quality of our graduates,” says Daniels, the former reform-oriented governor of Indiana.
This knowledge can only be helpful to youngsters and their parents who are making decisions of huge importance for their careers. It also promises to be a spur to schools to learn how their graduates are doing and what professors and administrators can do to improve their professional outcomes. The published data will even allow conferences to compare themselves with others.
But more than money and career are relevant. The survey is designed to tell colleges whether they are helping their students achieve the worthwhile, rewarding lives they seek.
“What Gallup is measuring is well-being, and that in the end is the purpose of a college education, especially in a democracy — pursuit of happiness is the bottom line,” Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center of Education and the Workforce, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “If college serves these other purposes — that is, it allows you to live more fully — that is not unimportant.”
New data about important matters can be highly valuable, and the Gallup-Purdue undertaking, funded with a $2 million grant from the Lumina Foundation, should provide a lot of it. Employers are bound to welcome the project. But no one stands to gain more than colleges and those who attend them.