(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Celeste Riley, Connie Wagner, Charles Mainor and Thomas P. Giblin to require public and independent institutions of higher education to collect and report employment data for graduates, to better inform incoming students about their job prospects after graduation was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
“College students are graduating with excessive school loans with the hopes of finding good paying jobs, but depending on their chosen major, that can take a long time or not materialize at all,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This gives students valuable information about what type of work opportunities to expect from their degrees, before they graduate and enter the workforce.”
The bill (A-3269) requires four-year public and independent institutions of higher education in New Jersey to collect and report certain employment data for recent graduates. Under the bill, the institutions would conduct an annual employment survey of the students who graduated in the prior academic year, post the data on their websites and provide it to incoming freshman prior to initial course registration.
“College is an expensive investment. Students may choose to study a particular field, unaware of what kind of work they’ll be able to get or how much they can expect to earn,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “This helps students decide whether the profession they want to study is worth the expense.”
“Ignorance is bliss until you graduate, start looking for work and realize your job expectations don’t match up to what is available in the job market,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “This data helps students decide well ahead of time what type of returns to expect from their college degrees.”
“Some professions are simply more profitable than others. Students should know what lies ahead for them professionally, once they’ve earned their degrees and start job hunting,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Knowing ahead of time might save them a lot of heartache and financial trouble.”
The data collected may include, but is not limited to: majors which resulted in the highest full-time employment and highest annual salary; majors which resulted in the lowest full-time employment and lowest annual salary; the overall number and percentage of students who are employed one year following graduation from the institution; and the annual average salary earned by students one year following graduation from the institution.
The bill was released by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.