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Business Officer Magazine

Business Briefs

Short news articles based on research surveys and peers’ business experiences that can benefit institutions

2019 Degree and Enrollment Estimates


Projected enrollment in fall
2019 at all colleges and universities in the U.S. 


Estimated increase in enrollment from fall 2008 to fall 2019.


Predicted number of bachelor's degrees awarded in academic year 2019-20.


Projected rise in the bachelor's degrees awarded to women in academic year 2019-20 compared to academic year 2007-08.

Source: "Projection of Education Statistics to 2019" (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011) at

Job Offers to Graduates Rise; Wide Pay Gap Persists

Recent studies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) give rise to optimism about overall job prospects for new college graduates, while confirming the inequity in pay for men and women in similar positions.

Grads Grab More Jobs

After several years in the doldrums, job prospects for new college graduates have begun to brighten. New data from NACE show that of bachelor's degree recipients from the class of 2011 who applied for jobs, 41 percent received at least one offer. For graduating seniors from the class of 2010 who applied for jobs, only 38 percent had one or more offers.

In addition, according to NACE's "2011 Student Survey," nearly three quarters of 2011 seniors reported applying for at least one job, up from approximately 46 percent in 2010. However, the share of seniors who accepted the job offers they received fell slightly, from 59 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2011. NACE speculates that this finding suggests that a greater number of seniors received multiple job offers and turned down one or more of these opportunities. 

Women's Salaries Stay Behind

According to another NACE study, female bachelor's degree holders from the class of 2010 earned 17 percent less than male counterparts. The study, "Gender and College Recruiting," reports that on average, new male bachelor's degree holders had a median starting salary of $44,159, while women earned just $36,451.

Even when the data are adjusted for career field, men tended to have higher wages. In education, for example, where women were the majority of new hires, the median starting salary for men was $39,849, or 37 percent higher than the earnings for women ($29,092). In accounting positions, the starting salary for new male bachelor's degree recipients was $46,997 versus $45,508 for females.

Some Exceptions

One of the few fields in which newly minted female graduates earned more than men was engineering; median starting salaries for these women was $61,084, compared with $58,783 for men.

NACE reports that gaps between wages for men and women among college graduates have persisted for some time. Overall, in 2000, all women with bachelor's degrees earned 74.4 percent of their male counterparts' earnings. By 2010, the pay gap between men and women narrowed only slightly to 76.5 percent.

RESOURCE LINK Go to for more information about NACE's "2011 Student Survey." Download a full copy of "Gender and College Recruiting" at

NACUBO CONTACT Kenneth Redd, director, research and policy analysis, 202.861.2527

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Policy Polls Reflect Community Service Priority

At Elon University, we emphasize the importance of civic engagement, with the Elon University Poll as one of the most visible examples of our institutional commitment to this value. Six times each year, under the guidance of our poll director and his assistant, students at our Elon, North Carolina-based university conduct surveys of hundreds of the state's residents. We concentrate on gathering views of various topics that are under debate in our state capital and in Washington. We then disseminate that information to the public through news releases, the Elon University Poll Web site (, and the university's social media channels.

In addition to giving students grounding in research techniques and public opinion, our polling efforts in recent years have increased our reputational stature. The poll focuses on policy issues, which we consider to be a key area of strength, and it leaves the "horse race" polling to other firms. This has led to more requests for poll director Hunter Bacot to make media appearances and to speak with civic and business groups across the state. This activity reflects positively in news coverage, the value of which is impossible to quantify with a dollar figure.

Informing Public Discourse

Launched in 2000, the Elon University Poll is intended as a public service to provide neutral, nonbiased information that citizens, civic leaders, and business people can use in public and policy discourse. We do no contract polling work for outside groups. That isn't to say we won't collaborate with nonprofit agencies or municipal governments that meet certain criteria. For example, we conducted a poll in March for the United Way of Alamance County and with Healthy Alamance to assess the wellness of citizens who live in our community.

Changing Times

An ever-changing environment creates some challenges for our survey research. For example, we must plan for changing demographics in North Carolina, as Hispanic population growth forces evaluation and, if needed, adjustments to our sampling and questionnaire design. We also need to adjust for the increased number of "cell-phone only" residents, since we regularly survey North Carolinians and use cell phones in our samples.

Politics is also becoming a factor. Until now, we've not limited our survey participants based on voting status (registered or likely voters). That may change, however, since North Carolina has become a "swing state," having supported President Obama in 2008 after voting for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1980. Outside polling firms' increased interest in North Carolina's changing political landscape require us to make choices about limiting respondents to their likelihood of voting—or possibly including likely voters in separate results from our data on all adults. Either option would increase our polling costs, since they require more phone calls to reach a sample size that makes our conclusions statistically valid.

Ongoing Commitment

Ultimately, the Elon University Poll extends our students' engagement and experiential learning into the community and, in turn, translates survey information into actionable data. At the same time, this research component helps in a big way to accomplish our institution's public relations objectives both locally and nationally, with coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and the National Journal.

Regardless of what the future may bring, this service will continue to exemplify how seriously the university observes and reflects its commitment to service and civic engagement and the mutual benefits that result.

SUBMITTED BY Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology, Elon University, Elon, North Carolina

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