Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) Alumni Survey

Methodolgy and Sample

The HEDS alumni survey is designed to assess long-term impacts of undergraduate education.

Thirty-five predominantly private liberal arts colleges e-mailed this survey during spring 2012 to alumni from various class years. Three surveyed all their alumni, eight (including Clark) surveyed recent alumni who've graduated within the past decade, and twenty-four intentionally surveyed their "5-year-out" and/or "10-year-out" alumni. These varied survey administration methods generated quantitative responses and qualitative feedback from nearly 12,000 alumni.

A shared objective of all participating school is to compare one's own alumni response in context of the multi-school "peer" alumni response. HEDS facilitates peer comparisons by providing reports tailored for each participating school. Clark's peer comparison report divided survey respondents into five core comparison groups, shown below (with Clark's alumni response rates detailed per each group):

  1. All 11,336 alumni from 34 peer institutions versus Clark's 532 alumni (18% of all 2,931 graduates from '02 thru '11 with deliverable e-mail);
  2. 2,115 ten-year-out alumni ('01 & '02 grads) from 29 peer institutions versus Clark's 25 Alumni (10% of all 234 graduates from '02 with deliverable e-mail);
  3. 4,310 five-year-out alumni ( '06 &'07 grads) from 34 peer institutions versus Clark's 143 Alumni (24% of all 607 graduates from '06 & '07 with deliverable e-mail);
  4. 2,065 less-than-five-year-out alumni ('08 through '11 grads) from 11 peer institutions versus Clark's 242 Alumni (17% of all 1,417 graduates from '08 thru '11 with deliverable e-mail);
  5. 2,846 other alumni (who've graduated in all other years) from 10 peer institutions versus 122 Clark alumni (18% of all 673 graduates from '03 thru '05 with deliverable e-mail).

The HEDS comparison report compiled alumni response frequencies and means (with T-tests of significance) for Clark and corresponding peer schools per each of the five core comparison groups. Core findings from the report's overwhelming amount of statistical data (and rich student commentary) are becoming clearer through internal discussion and statistical scrutiny. A decision to focus exclusively on the report's five-year-out alumni comparisons has removed distractive selection biases in the four comparison groups1 and facilitated our effort to distill the survey's most essential findings.

Note: All below frequencies and mean T-test findings have been selected to highlight the core distinctiveness of Clark's 143 five-year-out alumni versus the 4,310 five-year-out alumni who graduated from 34 predominately private liberal arts colleges.


Clark's 143 five year out alumni survey respondents were socio-demographically similar to the peer comparison group with respect to gender (66% versus 65% female), race (87% versus 84% white), age (97% versus 95% in late 20s), and reporting income (57% versus 55% earned more than $40,000 per year). However, a higher percentage of Clark alumni took out loans to finance their education (73% versus 58%) and a higher percentage of Clark alumni are non-U.S. citizens (8% versus 2%).

Participating Schools

Beloit College
California State - Monterey Bay
Clark University
College of Saint Benedict
Davidson College
Drew University
Earlham College
George Washington University
Haverford College
Hobart & William Smith
Kenyon College
Lake Forest College
Linfield College
Luther College
Mills College
Oglethorpe University
Pepperdine University
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
Rollins College
Saint Anselm College
Scripps College
Sewanee: U. of the South
St. Lawrence
St. Olaf College
Trinity University
Tufts University
Union College
University of Miami
University of Notre Dame
Willamette University
Wittenberg University