In Grads’ Time of Need, Colleges Cut Career Center Budgets

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Is your college doing enough to help your graduates get jobs?  Tens of thousands of parents and business professionals don’t think you are.


If you are like most colleges your management has imposed budget cuts, or at best, budget freezes on the career center, at a time when:

  1. The number of grads who had jobs by graduation day plummeted from over 50% in 2007 to approximately 20% since 2008.
  2. The time it takes a grad to get a job now takes an excruciating 7.4 months, and of those grads 60% will be working in jobs unrelated to their majors.
  3. Alumni unemployment has doubled.
  4. Techniques to look for a job have dramatically changed due to the rapid upswing by hiring managers to use Social Media channels and new Internet tools.
  5. What the average student owes continues to rise, with the average student owing over $25,000 in student loan debt, and nearly $5,000 in credit card debt.

Think for a moment.  With all of these changes in the past 4 years, what is your career center doing differently to help grads and alumni?

If you college is like most, management’s spending priorities are sending a strong signal to prospective parents and grads that your college is more interested in getting them to enroll than helping them prepare for their careers.  Looking for proof?

  • The latest National Association of Colleges and Employers research shows the average career center has had to make nearly 4% in budget cuts the past two years.
  • The 2011 State of College Admissions” report compiled by the National Association of College Admission Counseling found that the average private college will spend over $3,042.52 to recruit an enrolled student (a 56% increase over 2007).
  • The report mentioned above suggests that a college with 400 grads is only spending $84 per grad to prepare them for their careers.

This lack of investment shows because surveys clearly identify that grads don’t have a clue about how to search for jobs.

  • 60 percent of grads spend only 1-5 hours a week on their job searches
  • 61 percent of grads had only 1 alumni mentor each
  • 95 percent do not have a job search plans

When your grads don’t get jobs by graduation day, they are not only losing $3,000 to $4,000 each month, but your college will end up getting blamed by students, government, parents, journalists and businesses.

You could have a mammoth effect on your grads’ careers if you reinvested in your career center.  If your investment helped just one student get a job 4 months faster than the national average indicates, it’s like giving them a $12,000 to $16,000 graduation present!   Imagine helping 10 or even 100!

You have a choice!

Ignore this opportunity and I guarantee this situation will dramatically affect recruitment and future contributions.  By reinvesting in your career center, you could put yourself ahead of competitors, and better serve grads and alumni at the same time.

We’ve outlined 12 ways you could accomplish this in our new report, “Create a Career Centered College Culture and Campus”.   Hillary Clinton suggested that, “It takes a village to educate a student.”  On a college campus, you will need the support and engagement of faculty, staff, and administrators to build a curriculum on your campus that supports your career center’s objectives and goals.

Hundreds of business professionals and career center staff have endorsed these steps as necessary in order to better prepare graduates for the limited opportunities available.

You would be wise to explore the options this report offers as this is not an issue you can ignore any longer.

A perfect storm is brewing that is being fueled by government regulations, parent and grad dissatisfaction, competition from cheaper college education alternatives, modifications in student loans, changes in state and federal funding, and business organizations.   If you want to stay ahead of the changes these organizations want, you need to start planning today.

Failure to explore these ideas will result in your competitors leap frogging you–something you cannot afford to let happen.

What do you think?

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Don Philabaum
Love to find ways to use technology help more grads and alumni develop successful career strategies.
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum

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