- The perceived value of a Dallas College education is positive across all credential completion levels (associate, certificate, transfer, and no credential/degree). Associate degree completers were most likely to believe their Dallas College education was worth the cost and helped them achieve their goals.
- Overall, Dallas College alumni perceptions on college experiences, satisfaction, career preparation, and value of education exceed those of alumni at other community colleges across the nation.
- Associate degree completers responded to questions related to value of education and impact more positively than certificate completers and those who did not earn a credential at Dallas College. However, on outcomes such as employment status, earnings, and further attainment of higher education credentials, associate degree completers performed less positively than respondents in other credential level categories, including those without a Dallas College credential.
Alumni surveys in higher education are retrospective assessments of the college experience; feedback from former students is used to assess outcomes on such as motivations for enrolling, completion goals and outcomes, value of education, further education, employment, and earnings. Historically, alumni surveys have served as an essential feedback and connection strategy at four-year institutions to maintain an engagement pipeline with graduates and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an institution’s programs, services, and operations. More recently, two-year colleges, including Dallas College, are creating alumni networks to leverage the resources (monetary and non-monetary) an alumni base brings to an institution.
In collaboration with Strada Education Network, the Research Institute at Dallas College launched the Institution’s first college-wide alumni outcomes survey in fall 2022 to improve understanding of the perceived value of the Dallas College experience among former students and to build the foundation for a data collection process from this population—all with the purpose of improving the educational experiences of both current and future Dallas College students. Dallas College was among several community colleges across the nation participating in Strada’s first pilot survey tailored to two-year colleges to explore education experiences and post-college outcomes of former students. The survey’s scope is comprehensive, as it provides data on the various education, work, and life pathways of attendees; it seeks to understand alumni’s motivations for attending Dallas College, the experiences they had, the skills they gained, and their life and career pathways.
The findings highlighted in this report capture the responses of 1,553 former students who completed 12 semester credit hours or more at Dallas College between 2012 and 2022. The questionnaire was fielded from November 14 to December 4, 2022, to an alumni sample going back to approximately 2002. In the sections below, Dallas College alumni perceptions on the value of their education and experiences at the institution and the impact their education and experiences have had on their careers and lives are synthesized from the Dallas College survey data and are compared with a national sample from the NORC AmeriSpeak public opinion survey. Specifically, Strada questionnaire items are linked to and benchmarked against AmeriSpeak survey items that measure similar perceptions and outcomes, and comparisons are estimated through net benefit scores. Results are presented as both an overall grouping of all survey respondents and by credential level: associate degree completers, certificate completers, and those who did not complete any credential at Dallas College (including transfers to four-year and other two-year institutions, as well as stop-outs).
While the overall perception of the value of a Dallas College education is positive, and particularly so among associate degree completers, outcome measures for employment status, earnings, and educational advancement are comparatively low for associate completers. Implications of these trends and suggestions for improving outcomes are highlighted in the concluding sections.