I’m a university statistician whose job is to prepare these kinds of reports. Two reasons why this is not a good idea.
The first is just that it’s impossible. Universities have no way of compelling a graduate to tell us where they are working, if they are working, what kind of work they do or anything else-and it’s really none of our business. We do send out surveys, we get maybe a quarter back if we’re lucky. It’s really impossible to guess who the people not returning the surveys are and whether they are more or less likely to be employed in the field of their choosing.
The second is that it’s just one more metric in the recruitment wars. Here’s the dirty not-so-secret about universities. Largely, the quality of education between them is more a matter of degrees than any huge difference. We really know this. There are some resource differences, but if you look within a Carnegie Classification, the differences are small. What happened in the 80s is that US News (a conservative magazine and lover of the free market) decided that it could quantify these minute differences so that the consumer could be better informed. So what they did was take things like graduation rate and selectivity and said, “That’s how we stick numbers to the problem.” Unfortunately, what this meant was that schools that were highly selective got shuffled to the ‘best’ category while schools that were serving say disadvantaged populations or minorities became ‘low-tiered’ for obvious reasons. If you recruit students who had 4.0 GPAs in high school, they tend to do really well and the quality of education you are providing has little if anything to do with it. If you recruit say Hispanic, first-generation students who struggled in high school, they tend to do a lot worse, even if you’re the best freaking educators in the country.
In practice it really meant that states with large populations have ‘better’ schools simply because there’s a bigger pool of students to pick from, so they can shaft low-income students who typically have worse schools onto their branch campuses. It also meant that in order to get ‘better’ you have to continually up your selectivity. There are two ways to do this, find a bigger pool of applicants or take in a smaller freshman class. Smaller classes mean smaller budgets which ain’t happening, so the alternative is bigger pool of applicants. The problem is that all of the schools are similarly trying to get ‘better’ and there are only so many high school students in the country. It thus became a war to attract the best ones. How do you do that? Facilities and amenities requiring larger staffs and capital outlays. Where does the money for these things come from? Tuition. So you hike tuition to fight these recruitment wars, all in the name of ‘serving the students better.’ You end up in a situation where students are paying way, way more for school, but not really being much better educated if at all. Now, to be fair, they do have some serious amenities. Going to a big state school is basically like living at a resort for four or five years. You have people catering to your every need, but you’re paying for it.