For the third consecutive year , College Track surveyed its college graduates to determine whether their Bachelor ’ s degrees has opened them up to a life of opportunity and agency .
We often hear affirming stories like Estefania ’ s who shares :
“ When I completed my degree , I got my dream job as a systems engineer at Boeing . There are moments when I look around the room of engineers and see that I am the only woman of color , but I remember that I am a Latina woman working on underwater vehicles . I have earned my way here .”
-Estefania, College Track East Palo Alto , MIT graduate
Is Estefania ’ s experience representative of all our college graduates ? With 500 alumni and a 66 % response rate ( see appendix A ), we are in a strong position to examine the relationship between education and career as well as contribute to the national conversation around upward social mobility in 21st century America .
• Can we count on higher education to be a powerful motor for helping youth embark on a life with more choice and financial security than their parents ?
• What additional behaviors in college yield more successful career paths ?
Building on last year ’ s report , we continue to examine both absolute and relative measures of upward mobility for graduates at several stages post-college graduation .
We are increasingly optimistic about our graduates ’ career outcomes .
• With every passing year in the workforce , our graduates ’ income increases compared to their parents and exceeds the national average for all Bachelor ’ s degree holders .
• They also score strong on measures of agency , such as alignment of their current job with their interests and career aspirations , particularly for our graduates who chose careers in the public interest .
We continue to surface lessons learned , which we immediately share with our younger students and feed into program improvement :
• How you go to college matters as much as where you go to college : the first section of this report highlights the critical behaviors necessary to unleash the power of a degree .
• Borrowing more than $ 30,000 to complete a Bachelor ’ s degree is not recommended : our younger graduates seldom enter careers where earnings can cover monthly payments for loans exceeding this threshold . Borrowing more than $ 30,000 is unnecessary for many college paths , and College Track ensures our students choose these paths .
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