The US Department of Education (USDE) considers graduation rates and post-graduate outcomes to be important indicators of quality; thus, as a recognized accreditor, CEPH is required to track post-graduate outcomes from its accredited schools and programs. USDE requires accreditors to provide evidence that they collect these data every year and take action when reported data do not meet the published minimum threshold.
Note that CEPH does not require that data collection occur through traditional/formal survey methods or that data be collected at a single point in time. Many schools and programs prefer to collect information throughout students' final semester and during the first year post-graduation, updating data as each individual secures employment or proceeds to another education/training program. Such an approach allows schools and programs to present more accurate data as some secure employment or admission to further education before graduating and some take some time after graduation to do so.
It is easiest to collect post-graduate information at the time of graduation, before students leave campus. Embedding completion within a required class can help ensure a full set of responses. Many students will know their employment or further educational plans by the time they graduate.
However, the criteria state that graduates have up to one year to secure employment or pursue further education; collecting post-graduate information in a shorter timeframe may not provide an accurate picture of graduates' abilities to secure employment. You can continue to follow up with those students who did not yet have employment or educational plans until they have reached one year post-graduation. Follow up can include polling faculty who may be in touch with students, gathering information from social media, etc.
CEPH recognizes how difficult it can be to stay in touch with graduates and to collect this kind of information. Consider the following point when communicating with alumni: