Future and current Broncos can get a glimpse of their potential earnings up to 15 years after graduation, thanks to a website called calstatepays.org.
Visitors to the site can search the earning after CSU graduation based on majors, click through information on where graduates work and what they earn, and see the costs and benefits of a CSU degree. A search can be done of individual CSU campuses or all seven participating universities combined.
For instance, the website shows that a Cal Poly Pomona political science graduate makes $42,370 on average five years after completing a bachelor’s degree. Those with a political science graduate degree earn $75,869. A biotechnology graduate five years out earns $53,068. Those with a biotechnology post-baccalaureate degree earn $64,468.
The data provided will arm students and families with the information they need to determine the financial impact of the major they select, and enable university administrators, faculty, staff and the wider campus community to see the how CSU graduates contribute to the economy, according to CSUN Management Professor Richard Moore.
“The purpose is to help prospective students and transfer students to make better choices,” Moore said. “It’s aimed at students, and it’s mobile friendly. It’s something they can show to their parents.”
Researchers at CSUN first developed and tested the methodology on their campus and opted to expand it to other CSUs in the Los Angeles region after receiving a grant from USA Funds, Inc, now known as the Strada Education Network.
It was originally dubbed an official project of the CSU5 – which besides CSUN includes Cal Poly Pomona, as well as the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Dominguez Hills campuses, Moore said. The CSU campuses in Fullerton and Channel Islands also were added.
Moore, along with Ken Chapman, an economics professor, came up with the five guiding principles for the project – follow all matriculated students for a period, tap employment and tax data, create easily digestible labor market measures, break down data to the campus and program level, and make the information available to the public.
Researchers collected the data and CSUN Computer Science Professor Steve Fitzgerald enlisted his students to build the app. Catherine Hou serves as the project manager at CSUN.
Cal Poly Pomona signed on to the project at the urging of Provost Sylvia Alva, said Lisa Rotunni, executive director of academic research and resources. The university provided demographics, entry and exit terms and majors, characteristics at entry (test scores, high-school and transfer GPA, and institutions) and characteristics at exit (CPP GPA, units earned, degree or credential earned). The encrypted and secured data submitted was for students who enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona between fall 1995 and spring 2014.
Rotunni said the site, which also provides information on employment sectors, gives users an opportunity to dispel the job prospect myths related to majoring in certain subjects.
“I see it being used by people interested in knowing the economic impact of an education,” she said, “and our advisors can point to it as a resource.”